By the start of the summer term, most Reception places have been allocated, and parents are planning those first days at school. If there's limited access to school buildings, there are still ways you can provide reassurance and information and help new parents integrate into the school community.
An easy-to-read PTA welcome pack is a great start. Make it clear and concise, sharing details of events and fundraising schemes you run, and the different ways parents can get involved before their children start.
To create a welcome pack:
- If you're lucky enough to have any writers or designers on your PTA, make use of them.
- For an easy solution, download the PTA+ welcome pack template.
- Be succinct and engaging, and use humour.
- Tell parents what's in it for them: PTA funds will help broaden their child's education; it's a way to get to know other parents socially; the PTA gives parents a voice in the school.
Create a digital version of your welcome pack to make it easier to share. If you're sending out a hard copy, seek out sponsorship deals with a local company to cover printing costs.
If you don't have the resources for a whole pack, how about a simple welcome letter instead? Or send them a copy of our leaflet explaining the 10 reasons we need your help.
Meet and greet
Talk to your head to find out how the PTA can complement their plans. Could you get involved with taster days or hold a virtual coffee morning where parents ask for practical advice from those in the know?
If the school is running an online joiners evening, ask if the PTA can be present. A live presentation is ideal, but it could be pre-recorded and shown on the evening if that's not possible. If the school is making a video for new parents, ask if they will include a segment about the PTA. People react well to seeing actual people, and like to be able to put a face to a name.
Get them involved
New starter events and communications are an excellent way to get more sign-ups for your cashback schemes. Make sure to include details in your presentations and correspondence.
- Shopping affiliates: With no hidden charges for parents or PTAs, affiliate schemes are the perfect way to get new parents helping early on. Companies such as Give as you Live and TheGivingMachine offer commission of around 1-5% on purchases from hundreds of household-name websites.
- Name labels: Most suppliers offer various ways to label school clothing, including traditional woven labels, plastic tags, permanent ink stamps and adhesive labels. Many of them run initiatives where the PTA earns a commission (usually a percentage of the sale amount) on name labels sold through an affiliate scheme.
- Cashback on uniform: Register your school with the My Clothing or M&S 'Your School Uniform' schemes (for bespoke, embroidered uniforms).
- Local businesses: Ask local firms if they can offer a deal to parents or a percentage of profits to the PTA in exchange for advertising in your new starter correspondence. Use careful judgement when choosing who to approach, but remember that there's a lot of goodwill towards local companies right now.