Label P LB J20
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Class reps

When it comes to parental engagement, class reps could be your secret weapon - an army of volunteers spreading PTA messages throughout the playground!

No matter how successful your PTA is, we all face the same challenges:

  • Securing and maintaining parental support for events - whether that's people buying tickets or volunteers to help run them
  • Communication - no matter how many ways you try to get messages out, someone will always claim they never know what the PTA is up to!
  • Succession planning - you need to consider who will take over when your current committee members step down

Reps provide a great communication channel between the PTA committee, the school and parents on the playground. Your committee can't possibly know or speak to all the parents at your school, so filter messages down through your reps. Rather than regarding the PTA as distant and cliquey, parents will feel closer to the committee with a face-to-face approach.

The scope of the job

We know that some PTAs invite reps to attend monthly meetings, while others simply keep them in the loop by sending them minutes of meetings or special requests. Some are elected at an AGM and form part of an extended committee with voting rights, while others take a less formal role.

Many PTAs encourage class reps to compile and circulate contact lists of parents in their class to ease communication between the PTA and supporters. This can, however, make reps feel uncomfortable and raise issues around data protection. Speak to your school and read our guide to data protection if this is something you're considering.

Job description

Before starting a recruitment drive, agree how much or how little you want your reps to do and draw up a brief job description. Let parents know that being a class rep is important and rewarding. Typically, class reps:

  • Pass on information from the PTA to other parents in their child's class, collate the results of any surveys, and encourage parents to support the PTA
  • Attend the AGM and PTA committee meetings (include the number per year and dates if known)
  • Coordinate volunteers to help with fundraising activities. Ask reps to run a class stall at fairs with responsibility for setting up, managing the rota, clearing up and feeding back
  • Organise informal social activities for parents/families in their child's class, ranging from coffee mornings to end-of-year parties. These are an effective way of generating team spirit and welcoming new families joining your class
  • Seek feedback from parents on PTA events or funding requests and pass it on to the committee
  • Recruit a new class rep towards the end of the summer term to take over in the new academic year

Recruitment tips

Encourage reps to sign up in pairs - tasks seem less daunting with a friend by your side! Make it clear how long they are tied in for (i.e. one academic year) and what they will be expected to do in that time.

If no parents step forward voluntarily, ask class teachers for recommendations. Who can resist the flattery of being approached and told, 'Ms Smith suggested that you'd make a great class rep!'?

Case study

'Having class or form reps is invaluable, as it's incredibly hard as Chair to get to know every parent in the school. The main role of the rep is to attend PFA meetings, help at PFA events, sell tickets and collect money for the PFA Christmas party, organise teacher collections at the end of the year and give reminders about PFA-related events when necessary. On average it takes two hours a week, but really depends on each individual. I recruit in September with an email via the school's ParentMail system, providing a list of vacancies and asking parents to respond. Positions are then confirmed at our AGM, and I email an updated contact list afterwards, giving details of committee members and class reps. On the whole this system works brilliantly, but there are times when we struggle. On the rare occasion that nobody volunteers or somebody resigns mid-year, we ask parents to refer queries to the committee. Once I get a parent on board as a rep I try to keep them until they leave the school! It's good to know that all parents have a friendly point of contact, someone they know and can see daily. For me, it's great to have more people involved at events and supporting the committee in general. Like all school we all struggle to get people to help out, but this has made a real difference.' Mandy Rice, PFA Chair, Gidea Park College, Romford, London (170 pupils)

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