school classlist

Secretary: Holy Trinity Primary School

Ingrid Coughtrey, Holy Trinity Primary School, Ossett, West Yorkshire (351 pupils)

Your PTA

  • How many people are there on your committee? 17 members
  • How long have you been Chair? 4 years
  • When is your busiest time of year? September until Christmas, as we have our AGM, back-to-school events, and the Christmas fayre!
  • When is your quietest time of year? January until April, as we don't hold many events.
  • How does your role complement the Chair's? As our Chair is the Headteacher, the agenda for meetings is done by our Vice-Chair (the Office manager). Our Chair runs the meetings, and I tend to follow up on action points and organise rotas for event preparations. I am in school a lot in the weeks leading up to the two big fayres, so both the Chair and Vice-Chair are fully aware of the schedule.
  • What are your responsibilities during bigger events, like the summer fair? I co-ordinate all the preparations, prepare event letters to families, promote the events in school/community, and organise prizes for the raffle.

Tips and advice

  • What advice will you pass on to your successor? Be prepared to take on a lot of the work yourself, and keep up the relationship with school office staff.
  • What do you wish you'd known before becoming Secretary? I wish every day that I could understand parents who complain about cost for extra activities and lack of resources in school, but never help when asked to try and raise funds! This would provide these extras and reduce the cost of school trips for their children during their time at our school.
  • What have you personally gained from being Secretary? We have an incredible group of parents and staff who work very hard to raise money for the benefit of our children and school. I have also made some really great friends and have a good relationship with the staff. I think it's also given me an extra advantage when I applied for a job to work in a primary school, as this is a voluntary role and I already had a good insight into school life. Last year, I was elected as Parent Governor at school, and being known to many parents for my involvement with our PTA may also have been an advantage.
  • What is the best thing about being Secretary? I just love being able to discuss the money raised after the events, and how we can spend it best to benefit our children and the school.
  • What do you think makes a good PTA Secretary? I am pro-active, organised and a good communicator. I have always had a great relationship with the school office staff and Headteacher, as well as speaking to many parents around school.

Challenges in the role

  • What challenges do you face? Getting more people to help when preparing for events! It is one thing coming to meetings, but the actual work often only gets done by the same small group of people. It's also been difficult at times to try out new events, as people get stuck in the ways and want to stick to the same events each year.
  • What is the most daunting task you have to undertake in your role? Getting other people involved with our PTA, and getting help with preparation of fayres.

Communication

  • How regularly do you have meetings with your committee? We meet every half term, and often have an extra meeting prior to our two fayres.
  • How do you go about monitoring whether action points are being completed between meetings? I tend to email people who have been given an action point, as this shows a communication trail.
  • What have you found is the most effective way of communicating with parents? We use newsletters emailed via school office. If an event letter has a reply slip to return, we print the letters and send them home with pupils. All letters are also available from the school website, where the PTA has their own section. The school has recently started a Facebook page, so we will start advertising upcoming events on there.

Stepping down

  • How long do you intend on being Secretary? If someone is willing to take it on, I will happily support them and pass over the role. My youngest child is in Year 2, so theoretically I will have a link to school for another five years.
  • How long did you plan on being Secretary when you started, and has this changed since taking on the role? I didn't really have an idea on the length of time I would be Secretary, and I also didn't really know how much work was involved! But as long as people appreciate the time and effort I put in, I will continue.
  • Did you shadow the previous Secretary before taking on the role? I didn't shadow the previous Secretary. By account of staff and parents who worked with the previous Secretary, the role was completely different as it was pretty much limited to taking minutes of meetings. The role has certainly evolved in the last four years!
  • Do you intend on having your successor shadow you in the role, before you step down? I did ask this at our recent AGM for someone to work alongside me, as I am happy to stay on as a mentor. Unfortunately nobody came forward, so it looks like I might be doing it for at least another year on my own!

Share this page