When Julie Hartell, co-chair of the Friends of Beacon Rise Primary in Bristol, gave a speech to encourage more parents to show their support, they had a great response. She has kindly shared this with us...Julie told us: 'I wrote the speech just before Christmas and delivered it to parents five times at each Christmas Production. I cleared the words with the head first and would definitely advise doing this. In fact, the head was concerned about me suggesting 'NO SANTA' as the kids were listening and he didn't want them upset, but I wanted the shock factor. I wanted the kids to say "NO!" and the parents hearts to "eeek!".It worked. As a result, five parents approached me in the days after and made reference to the speech. They offered their assistance with volunteering at events and also showed interest in attending meetings. In fact, even more parents stopped me in the playground just to say thank you for making them aware of who we were! They had no idea!
We also left an A4 leaflet on each chair which we urged the parents to take home, which gave parents more information about what we do, why we do it and how it helps their children. We also outlined our promises to enhance the PTA group. The next day, we received an email from a parent who was in attendance at one of the Christmas productions when the school's CD player failed. This parent bought a brand new one, with his own money, and gave the head the CD player of his choice. The parent's reasoning for doing this was because he was unable to offer his time, but felt he wanted to help in some way.'
Read the speech
I have a few minutes to tell you something very important…
- Your child is in this school – FACT
- The teachers and head are responsible for ensuring every child receives the same level of education and their current performance? Well, it’s outstanding – FACT
- As parents, you have a direct influence on the experience your child has whilst at this school – FACT
However, not all of us take that opportunity.
I understand some of us:
- Work full time
- Work part time
- Some of us are full time parents
- Or single parents
I work 3 days a week in [town] as a [profession].
I also started my own business to help make ends meet.
Lastly, I am a mum to one little angel who attends [school] and one little three-year-old nightmare who I look after.
We all have different pressures in life, but we all share the same objective.
The importance of the education of our children.
We all know it’s easy to leave the educational bit it to the teachers.
We know how easy it is to leave the PTA bit to those parents who you see in the playground with a pen, paper and purpose in their eyes! I know some of us think they just pester!
But right now, the bottom line is if we do not get more parental support, there will be NO [PTA name].
- NO [PTA name] means NO additional funds
- NO additional funds means no new playground or state of the art classroom equipment
- It also means no more events such as discos, secret rooms, summer fairs and Christmas fairs
- NO FATHER CHRISTMAS!!
We can continue to churn out the safe events like the tombola, discos, fairs, and raffles, but why not think outside the box?
As I am new to this school and new to the role of co-chair, we have identified NEW ways to improve our children’s experience. I hear parents say they don’t know what the [PTA name] actually does, who they are, when they meet and whether YOU can attend. They appear to be like this invisible force that just ‘makes things happen’! Unless you are involved, you are unaware of the amount of work that is involved. All that is about to change.
In an effort to re-launch the [PTA name], we will be asking all of YOU to help us to:
- Redesign the [PTA name] logo
- Create a strapline which identifies with what we believe
- Redesign the ‘parent’ section of the school’s website, bringing into the 21st century, including adding loads more content about the [PTA name]
- Implement a suggestion box located in reception where parents can leave their ideas, suggestions and contact details
- We also have our new mailbox address which is printed on the back of the leaflet along with our mobile contact numbers
We will provide you with dates, times and venue of our meetings 12 months in advance. These are informal meetings and anyone can attend. You don’t even have to say anything. You can just listen! You don’t have to be confident or outgoing. But maybe YOU can bring something to the table. You just need to have a desire to want MORE for your children.
I hope you enjoy watching the Christmas school production as the children are raring to go! But please could I ask you to take home the leaflet which has been left on your chairs. I asked my husband to read this and rolling his eyes, he took the leaflet and walked off in the direction of the little boys room, mumbling he would read the first few lines. After 20 minutes, he returned and said ‘Wow. We need to do more.’ We hope you feel the same.