Secretary: Holy Trinity Primary School
Ingrid Coughtrey, Holy Trinity
Primary School, Ossett, West Yorkshire (351 pupils)
- How many people are there on your committee?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
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