What is a Parent Teacher Association (PTA)?
Most schools have a Parent Teacher Association (PTA), which is an organisation of parents and staff. Its role is to encourage closer links between home and school. PTAs are best known for their fundraising work, but they have a useful social function too. Fundraising events provide an opportunity for parents, staff and pupils to get together.
How is the PTA organised?
At most schools all parents/carers and teachers are automatically members of the PTA.
Most PTAs hold their annual general meeting in September, at the start of the school year. At this meeting a committee is elected to run the PTA – usually consisting of a chair, a vice-chair, a treasurer, a secretary and ordinary committee members. These ordinary members include at least one, and often two, parents from each class as 'class reps'. Their job is to pass on information from the PTA to other parents in their child’s class.
PTA committees usually meet once a term and set up smaller working groups to organise individual events.
How is money raised?
Most PTAs raise money through events. They often hold one main event each school term – for example, a Christmas fair in the winter, a quiz in the spring, and a summer fair. Other PTA events include school uniform sales, discos, firework displays, international evenings and many more. They’re always looking for new fundraising ideas.
How is money spent?
Funds raised by the PTA are intended to provide ‘extras’ not already provided by the school's main income – often 'fun things' that make learning more interesting and exciting.
The PTA committee and the headteacher decide how to spend PTA funds. Common items include computers, playground equipment, a school minibus and smaller purchases such as presents for Father Christmas to distribute, or lights for a Divali celebration.
How can I be involved in my PTA?
There are many different ways you can help with the PTA, whether you have lots of time to offer or not.
Some of the roles are time-consuming, although also rewarding. If you can’t commit to a big job, look out for things you can do less frequently (eg running a stall at the summer fair, baking for a cake sale). And you can always support PTA events by simply turning up.