10 ways to start the year off right!
It's back to school with a bump, so here's a
whistle-stop guide to get you off to a flying start...
1 Welcome new families
How can your PTA help calm new-school nerves and make parents
feel part of the school community? A coffee morning in the first
few weeks enables parents to get together and provides a great
opportunity to showcase what your PTA does and how parents can get
involved. Create a concise and snappy leaflet that summarises the
aims of your PTA. Include details of past events (with photos), ask
your Head to write an endorsement, and outline the resources your
PTA has funded to date and the impact this has had. Let parents
know how they can contact the PTA and how they can support you,
from baking cakes to joining the committee!
2 Get organised
Review last year's events - which ones will you do again, and
what needs a shake up? Are there new events you'd like to try?
Assess who might step down from the committee and think about how
you might fill their shoes. Make sure all your paperwork -
knowledge capsules, licences, supplier contacts, etc - is up to
date. Check your finances - are there any commitments in place.
e.g. playground maintenance or an amount per term for library
resources? Do volunteers know what expenses they can claim back and
the process for doing this?
3 Meet with the Head
Having a good working relationship with your Head is vital, so
give them a strong message of support and be clear about how they
can support you. Arrange regular meetings, and ask whether a
specific teacher can be appointed to liaise with the PTA. Discuss
the school's plans for the year and see how you can help them
achieve their goals.
4 Gather the team together
The first meeting should be about orientating the team rather
than long discussions about specific initiatives. Prepare an agenda
to make sure key issues are dealt with swiftly, and agree a
schedule for future meetings and key events. Provide a document
that all attendees can take away to digest - this might include a
list of committee members (with roles, responsibilities and contact
details), key dates and information such as useful websites (e.g.
pta.co.uk!) and goals/targets for the year.
5 Check your constitution
It may have been a while since you looked at your governing
document, so set aside some time to read through this. Who is or
isn't defined as one of your members, how are committee members
elected and how are decisions made? If you can't find a copy and
your association is a registered charity, the Charity Commission
for England and Wales may have a copy. Go to charitycommission.gov.uk.
6 AGM and changes to the committee
If you're holding your AGM this term, it is best practice to
give at least 21 days written notice to members of your association
(generally this means ALL parents at the school). It is usual for
members of the committee to stand down at the AGM, although they
can seek re-election. Include a reply slip on letters, seeking
nominations for election to the committee. Remember to action any
changes required to the signatories on the PTA bank account, or
named contacts held by other organisations such as the Charity
7 Set goals
Agree your overall goal for the year - what resources are you
hoping to fund and how much do you need to raise? If you have
sub-committees looking after different events, what are they aiming
to achieve and how does this fit into your overall PTA strategy? If
you're fundraising towards specific projects, such as iPads or new
playground equipment, make this clear when promoting your
8 Publish dates for PTA events
Announce your events programme as early as possible then take
every opportunity to remind parents again and again! Send details
out via letters in book bags, emails, posters, more letters, more
emails… you get the picture!
9 Check any PTA equipment
Were you one pole short of a beer tent at your last summer fair?
It's worth taking some time (and a group of helpers) to go through
your PTA stores. Does anything need repairing or replacing? Does
any electrical equipment need to have its annual PAT test? If so,
can this be done in conjunction with the school?
10 Make a start on big events
Bonfire nights and fireworks, Christmas and summer fairs, music
festivals, grand balls… these all take some organising, and the
earlier you get cracking, the better for everyone's blood pressure!
If you're supplying alcohol, you'll need a TEN. (Read
our FAQs feature on TENs). If selling raffle tickets prior to
the event, you'll need a lottery licence (Read about
running a raffle and the licences you need). Other licences may
also be required, and these can take a few weeks to come through,
so better to get these arranged sooner rather than later.
Get regular updates!
- Sign up to receive our fortnightly PTA+ e-newsletters for the
latest news, offers, and topical fundraising ideas.
- Our PTA+ Facebook page is proving to be an
invaluable resource! Post questions and photos, discuss contentious
issues, and pick up useful planning and fundraising tips. One PTA
told us: 'This page has so much information to help plan, get
advice, share what works, plus there's discounts and prizes. I love
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