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save money,’ he says. ‘We are aware there is Covid-19 emergency funding available, but it will be extremely ring-fenced and it’s not completely clear what will be eligible. ‘Our school used to raise an extra

£1,500 each academic year from lettings to external clubs, with the summer term being the most lucrative. We don’t know when that might start up again.’ The PTA at Ann Edwards is also

short of its target. ‘We were hoping to raise around £10,000 this year,’ says PTA chair Sarah Delbridge, ‘but we felt it was appropriate to pause our activities at the start of lockdown. We think we actually made just half that amount.’ So how should PTAs approach

the coming year? ‘We will review which events can be run within the current guidelines,’ says Michelle Bebbington. ‘Maybe once we get an update on gatherings, we will be able to hold adult events such as “Fashion and Fizz” and Christmas wreath- making. We’re kicking off the new school year with a sponsored bike ride, and we’ll do our utmost to at least match last year’s total.’ ‘The PTA will also be an excellent

point of contact for new families,’ says Simon Kidwell. ‘Although it won’t be possible to meet in school, they can still visit by prior arrangement to access resources. The PTA can build the community cohesion which is every bit as important as fundraising.’ There’s a spirit of working

together at Ann Edwards too. ‘We have arranged our virtual AGM and will start planning from there,’ says Sarah Delbridge. ‘We’ll look at what we want to achieve and work out if the school or the PTA can do it best. I think all PTAs will have to work closer with their schools in the next few years. At fi rst, parents will be exhausted and the challenge will be to engage them in what we’re doing.’ ‘We need to get parents invested

in what the PTA and the school are doing,’ says Kevin Parker. ‘The PTA can get the children fi red up about fundraising again, and I’ll be talking to Sarah and the rest of the committee to establish how we can work together for the best results.’

TIME FOR A CHECK-UP Now is the perfect moment to conduct

a PTA health check, says Paul Kaerger In the same way you’d check the roadworthiness of your car by taking it for an MOT, your charity will also benefi t from a regular health check to ascertain what’s working and which areas might benefi t from some attention. As we start to adapt to differents ways of working and while we are still facing an uncertain future, a health check is something that can help reinvigorate the team and kick-off preparations for the new school year.

Taking time out to assess the health of your PTA has clear benefi ts:

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It helps you spot problems before they turn into major headaches.

It helps you work more effectively.


It gives you a chance to step back and brings the committee

together as a team.

A charity health check need not be a huge and complex undertaking, but it does require a little forethought and effort. Use it as a way of opening up discussions on topics you may not usually encounter. Working through a list of questions in a group helps everyone on the committee understand that there is more to consider than just the next fundraising event. Either arrange one-to-one video chats with key people, or get a group into your back garden and ask for their ideas. Remember, the aim is to check what is happening and identify any gaps. Here are some areas to consider:

Strategy Having a clear purpose and some

well-defi ned goals helps everyone

pull in the same direction and will prevent your committee from becoming overwhelmed with well-meaning suggestions. It binds the team together. Ask yourself whether it

is clear what the PTA is there

to do. Does it have a clear purpose and clear goals? (Take a look at your constitution and at the key objectives.) Is the committee aware of these objectives? Do parents understand the role of the PTA?

Governance The committee is core to the work

of the PTA so it is important that it functions effectively. Are the roles for chair, treasurer and secretary fi lled? What other roles do you have? Do committee members know what their roles are? Does the committee refl ect the school in terms of year groups, ethnicity, background, etc? Diversity is a vital driver for creativity. How can you reach out to include others?

Finances Having a clear idea of income and

expenditure, and any risks to your budget, helps you put in place actions to mitigate in good time. Think about how you generated

money in the past. Are there new ways to generate income while we are still being socially distant? Would you like to work with local businesses to gain sponsorship or donations? Does everyone have a clear idea of the budget? Are there longer- term fi nancial goals? What is the process for checking the accounts or signing off expenditure? Are there clear audit trails for money? Are you planning to set up contactless payments and online payment systems? If so, have you AUTUMN 2020 13

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