Chair: Seaford Primary School
Carol Edwards, Seaford Primary School, Seaford, East
Sussex (485 pupils)
Running your PTA
- How many people are there on your committee? 4
trustees and 32 members
- How long have you been Chair? 14 years on the
committee, 7 years as Chair
- When is your busiest time of year? All
year! We hold events every half term, plus extra bits in between,
so we're always busy
- When is your quietest time of year? Quiet?
- How hands-on are you as a Chair? I am very
hands-on! I do a lot of the work myself, but also delegate as well.
We work as a team, and I think that's really important.
- What is your relationship like with the school and the
staff? Excellent. We meet regularly to discuss things
and they are very supportive of the PTA.
Tips and advice
- What's the best piece of advice you received before
taking on the role? "Don't do it!" Thank
goodness I didn't listen!
- What advice will you pass on to your
successor? Do what you can, when you can, none of us
are 'super-mums'. Most of all - enjoy it!
- What do you wish you'd known before becoming
Chair? I wish I'd known exactly how much work is
- What have you personally gained from being
Chair? Being Chair involves so much more than just running
events. I have gained communication skills, event organisation,
Health & Safety knowledge, sales skills, listening skills,
computer skills, and so much more!
- What is the best thing about being
Chair? Working with other parents and putting
together great events is so rewarding, especially when you see how
happy the children are at these events. I also love seeing the
children's reactions when we reveal what we have bought for the
- What do you think makes a good Chair? I'd
like to think I am easy to work with! I make sure I listen to
everyone's ideas and wishes, and put them into place where
possible. I run a tight ship so to speak, but make sure everyone is
happy and listen when they are not.
- What challenges do you face? Working with
'difficult characters' can be tough. Dealing with complaints from
parents is also very hard sometimes, especially when you have put
everything into organising an event and then a few parents
complain. But you can't please everyone, so I shrug it off and move
onto next event! I have developed a tough shell.
Challenges in the role
- What is the most daunting task you've had to
undertake? This isn't really 'daunting' but
arranging risk assessments, public liability insurance for each
event is sometimes challenging!
- Have you ever had an instance where you have had to
challenge the school's decision(s)? A couple of times,
yes! But I met with them and discussed everything and a compromise
was made to suit us all.
- Have you ever had an instance where an Officer was not
fulfilling their role, and was refusing to step down? Yes.
I think just discussing their role and the expectations of it does
help. We recruited extra people and turned these into shared role
to help the situation.
- How do you go about handling any
animosity/disagreements in your
committee? Thankfully, I haven't had any serious
situations like this. But the odd slight disagreement is usually
sorted by discussion and compromise.
- How do you go about recruiting volunteers for
events? We have a good team and a lot of members, so
finding help for most events isn't a problem. For the bigger events
such as Christmas and summer fayres, we usually put a letter out to
parents asking for an hour of their time. We also use Facebook to
recruit and ask people face-to-face asking in the playground. When
parents are greeted by me and my clipboard a week before the fayre,
parents find it hard to say 'no'!
- How do you go about boosting morale and motivating your
committee? Our committee morale is usually pretty good,
but I always make sure I personally thank everyone for helping at
each event. It is important for them to know that their time is
appreciated. Our PTA is called 'MAD', which stands for 'Making A
Difference', but we do take pride in calling ourselves the MAD
- How do you welcome new families to the
school? We don't have a 'welcome' event as such, but
always attend the welcome meetings for parents held by the school,
as well as open days to introduce ourselves. We usually hold a
back-to-school disco in September for all the children, which new
parents are able to come along to with their children.
- How long do you intend on being Chair? My
youngest son is now in Year 5, so I only have another year after
this one as a parent. I intend to finish when he does, although I
don't think the school is too happy about this!
- How long did you plan on being Chair when you started,
and has this changed since taking on the role? Only
for a couple of years - it's a good job that I love what I do!
- Did you shadow the previous Chair before taking on the
role? No - I was the PTA Secretary on the committee before
taking on the role of Chair, so I had a pretty good idea of what I
was letting myself in for.
- Do you intend on having your successor shadow you in
the role before you step down? That is the plan! It would
be great if my successor could shadow me for my last year and then
take over; it's just finding a successor that is the tricky
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