New parent welcome packs
Starting school can be an intimidating time for new
starters, but it can be just as daunting for their parents. The
moral support of those who know all the ins and outs of the school
is invaluable, so be there to offer support and advice, while
raising the profile of your PTA.
The summer term might seem early to start thinking about welcome
packs, but this is a good time to send them. Ask whether a document
from the PTA can be included with the school's information. If you
haven't already got your welcome pack together, you're not too
late; packs can be given to new parents at the start of term, or
even at your first PTA event of the year.
This is a prime opportunity to highlight to new starters just
how crucial your PTA is to the school. But remember to keep it
snappy - parents have a lot of demands on their time, so stick to
the key nuggets of information. Those who are genuinely interested
in getting hands-on with the PTA can always be given more detail at
a later date. And remember that you want to dispel the myth that
the PTA are a bunch of boring do-gooders! So use quotes, humour and
photos of people having a wild and fabulous time! The important
things to include are:
- Why the school has a PTA - ideally with an endorsement from the
- Recent events and amounts raised
- Resources or educational experiences that the PTA has
- How parents can stay up-to-date with PTA activities, including
links to social media pages
- Contact details for key committee members and class reps
(consider including pictures of PTA members and the year groups
- Details on how parents can get involved, e.g. volunteering,
the committee, getting match-funding from employers, becoming a
- A list of the projects you're hoping to raise money for
- Details of upcoming fundraising events and PTA meetings.
Provide details of any ongoing fundraising schemes you have in
place, such as recycling schemes or a 100 club. If you operate any
shopping affiliate schemes (such as Give As You Live), share the
link, especially as this is the time when parents will be buying
new school clothes, lunchboxes, etc.
Create a digital version of your welcome pack and make it
accessible to everyone - even those who mislay the paper copy!
- via your Facebook group or the school website.
If you're writing your pack early, it's also a good time to
invite new families to any key events you may be planning for the
summer or autumn terms, whether it's the summer fair or a 'tea and
tissues' get-together on the first day of the school year. And can
a member of your PTA deliver a talk at any taster or induction days
that the school may be running?
However you go about it, a welcome pack is the perfect way to
introduce new starters to the PTA. These parents will be eager to
keep a close link with their children - and what better way to
do that than by taking an active role within the PTA?
How do I write a PTA Welcome Pack?
Who's going to write it?
Do you have any journalists, marketers or copywriters on the
PTA? Those people will have excellent writing skills you can draw
on. Maybe you know a graphic designer who can present the
information in a fun and engaging way. If so, allow them the
freedom to be creative, and you'll have a pack to be proud of. If
no-one has those professional skills, how about an english teacher
or budding author?
What should we say?
Beginning with the list at the top of this page, write bullet
points detailing everything you'd like to include under each
heading. Don't worry if something doesn't apply to you; use only
what's appropriate for your school and your group. Have a look at
other school's welcome packs and download the PTA+ welcome pack template. If
you're using photos, ensure you have them all to hand before you
How will the welcome pack be sent to parents?
It might seem like early days, but now is also the time to think
about whether you'll be printing your pack in colour or black and
white, sending it as an email attachment or hosting it on the
school website. Printing several pages, particularly in colour,
might be feasible for a one-form entry school but is it realistic
for three classes of 30 children? This might be the time to look
for sponsorship or an advertising deal with a local company if you
don't already have one.
Why should parents join the PTA?
Think from your reader's perspective. What are their needs and
what do they hope to gain from helping you out? It might be things
like: I want to make sure my child gets an education full of extra
things that make school fun and engaging; I'd like to get to know
other parents and spend time socially; I want to get to know the
Head and other teachers and get some inside information on what's
happening in the school. Consider what the parents hope to gain
from working with the PTA as well as raising funds for the school.
If you can satisfy that need then you've given them a reason to
What should we not say?
To make sure your new parents get a great first experience of
the PTA, double-check what you've written is friendly and
approachable and not too long-winded. Ask two or three people to
read what you've written to check the spelling, grammar and
clarity, and make sure you haven't included jargon and
abbreviations used in the school without explaining them.
- Get started by downloading the PTA+ welcome pack
If a welcome pack is beyond your resources right now, consider
writing a welcome letter with only the necessary information and a
couple of suggestions of how new parents might get involved. Or
start small with a page on the school's website or a few paragraphs
in the parent information booklet, you can always build on it next
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