Label P LB J20

Chair: The Hayes Primary School

Joanne Doble, The Hayes Primary School, Kenley, Surrey (412 pupils)

Running your PTA

  • How many people are there on your committee? 32 members
  • How long have you been Chair? 7 years
  • When is your busiest time of year? The whole year is busy, as we run at least two events a month.
  • When is your quietest time of year? The summer holidays!
  • What's the best piece of advice you received before taking on the role of Chair? Don't do it! (Not really!). I was told that being organised helps - start small and build up once you get more parents involved. Listen to ideas and suggestions from others.
  • How hands-on are you as a Chair? I drive the committee but we have certain members doing jobs - pre-loved uniform, talent show, and our film club.
  • What is your relationship like with the school and the staff? Excellent. They are very supportive.

Tips and advice

  • What advice will you pass on to your successor? Downscale and listen to what parents want in the way of events. A questionnaire is a good way to gauge people's interests.
  • What do you wish you'd known before becoming Chair? I think my predecessor worked alongside me and provided enough information for me to feel I could do it. She was always there to provide advice.
  • What have you personally gained from being Chair? Confidence and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I even got a job at the school at a TA!
  • What is the best thing about being Chair? Everyone knows you and you know all the children.
  • What do you think makes a good PTA Chair? You need to be organised and spend plenty of time to research new ideas. The best thing is having a great team of parents on the committee to help at the drop-of-a-hat. They are so committed to the school and the PTA.

Challenges in the role

  • What challenges have you faced? Managing the family and school balance. I spend so much time thinking about our next events.
  • What is the most daunting task you have to undertaken in your role? It's probably the first time we run a new event, as you're never sure how it's going to go.
  • Have you ever had an instance where you have had to challenge the school's decision(s)? Sometimes I have researched and gone back with clear instructions why I think we should do things a certain way.
  • How do you go about handling any animosity/disagreements in your committee? We never have any, although there have been times when we don't always agree.

Boosting support

  • How do you go about recruiting volunteers for events? We use our slogan: 'give a little, gain a lot'. Getting help from our class reps also definitely works.
  • How do you go about boosting morale and motivating your committee? Each year I organise scratch cards from the PTA committee. Wine at the meetings helps! Special mentions on newsletter and Facebook are always nice, too.
  • How do you welcome new families to the school? We create a welcome pack and give a talk at meetings for new parents. We also distribute a tea-and-tissue gift pack on the first day at school to new reception parents.

Stepping down

  • How long do you intend on being Chair? Three more years until my son leaves primary school.
  • How long did you plan on being Chair when you started, and has this changed since taking on the role? I never really thought about it - but I love it, and life wouldn't be the same without it!
  • Did you shadow the previous Chair before taking on the role? Yes, I did this for six months.
  • Do you intend on having your successor shadow you in the role, before you step down? Yes, and I would probably let them shadow me for a year to get to grips with the role.

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