Chair: Elmtree Infant School
Ashley Myers, Elmtree Infant and Nursery School,
Chesham, Bucks (260 pupils)
Running your PTA
- How many people are there on your committee?
- How long have you been Chair? Since October
- When is your busiest time of year?
term - in September we organise a Harvest festival, by getting
famlies to donate food for Harvest goodie packs that we distribute
to the vulnerable members of our community. We make up the hampers
ourselves. We usually have a school disco and an open day for new
families. The PTA also starts planning the Christmas fayre,
Christmas parties and concerts.
- When is your quietest time of year? During
January, but we are always planning film nights, discos, quiz
nights, etc, to run before the half-term break.
- How hands-on are you as a Chair? I am
very hands-on but I do delegate some tasks. I think we all have
particular tasks that we like to do, so those get repeated
throughout the year.
- What is your relationship like with the school and the
Amazing - the staff have always been so helpful
and I have gained the respect of many teachers, so they are now
stepping forward to help at events more.
Tips and advice
- What advice will you pass on to your
Don't give up, don't be afraid to approach
people to ask if they will volunteer, and maintain good
communication with the school. Don't be afraid to change or adapt
things when you need to.
- What do you wish you'd known before becoming
What else the PTA was involved in, other than
- What have you personally gained from being Chair?
I have gained great relationships with the school staff
and some of the governors, plus a good insight into the running of
the school. I think I've also regained confidence in skills that I
had prior to having my daughter. Having given up a successful
project-management career, it has been great to use these skills
- What is the best thing about being Chair?
strong relationships I have with the school staff and teachers, and
knowing that the money we've raised has benefitted so many
- What do you think makes a good Chair?
able to communicate on all levels, being organised and planning
Challenges in the role
- What challenges do you
I've had some criticism in the
past for not doing things that have always historically been done.
This wasn't intentional, but simply due to the fact I couldn't get
enough volunteers. I find it frustrating to be told things have to
be done a certain way. I think the Chair should always be given the
freedom to make positive changes that they think will work.
- What is the most daunting task you've had to
undertake? Running the Christmas and summer
fayres, and also participation in the town's summer carnival.
- Have you ever had an instance where you have had to
challenge the school's decision(s)? The school has always
worked very well and closely with the PTA. We seem to negotiate
well and come to a compromise of some kind so that both the PTA and
school are happy.
- Have you ever had an instance where an Officer was not
fulfilling their role, and was refusing to step down? No,
not really. Everyone does what they can and we all understand that
we have work and family commitments. People are usually upfront if
they can't meet their role's expecations and we all just get on
with it to get the job done.
- How do you go about handling any
animosity/disagreements in your committee?
really been any animosity as far as I'm aware. We did have some
disagreements about expenses that were being claimed, but those
involved discussed the matters between themselves until they
reached an agreement. It was all handled very diplomatically, and
it was good to hear each person's perspective.
- How do you go about recruiting volunteers for
We put sign-up lists outside each classroom and
get the school to text all the parents regularly, to remind people
they are there. I also use Facebook, the PTA noticeboard, and often
put up posters. I did also once threaten to cancel an event due to
lack of volunteers and it was amazing how many people then stepped
- How do you go about boosting morale and motivating your
I remind people how much money we raised and
how much the children and school benefit from all our hard work. I
thank everyone all the time as I do appreciate all the help we get.
I also ensure that the school acknowledges the PTA's efforts in
their newsletter, letters to parents, and during some assemblies
- How do you welcome new families to the school?
The PTA speaks at the induction days in July for new families. At
the beginning of term, we have a coffee morning as a 'Welcome
to/back to school' event.
- How long do you intend on being Chair?
step down in October 2017, as my daughter will have moved on to a
new school for Year 3.
- How long did you plan on being Chair when you started,
and has this changed since taking on the role?
anticipated I would be there for the remaining time my daughter had
at the school (two years). However, after my first year I would
have liked to have stepped down to Vice-Chair, and helped someone
new take on the role as Chair so they could continue once I'd
- Did you shadow the previous Chair before taking on the
role? No, but as I was Treausrer and had worked closely
with the Secretary, I had an understanding of what was
- Do you intend on having your successor shadow you in
the role before you step down? I am writing a handbook
detailing everything that the PTA is involved in, which should help
the new Chair.
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