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MANAGING YOUR PTA – Co-chairs


for someone new to take on the role if they can share it with an experienced person.


Avoid potential pitfalls l Decide how you will split the workload and stick to it. Roles often fall automatically, but don’t assume this will happen. Be careful to avoid


duplicating work or missing things. l Agree who will have the deciding vote if voting were to be tied at a


PTA committee meeting. l Keep decision-making clear and avoid taking up too much time


making decisions. l Plan for the situation where one of you needs to work more or has family commitments that take


up your time. What will you do? l Discuss how you will resolve any issues that arise. For more serious disagreements, check your governing document for a disputes clause and agree to be bound by it.


Jessica Guidobono Good: ‘Anna Williams and I have been co-chairs since the autumn term last year and it’s been great. We share out the tasks and decision- making, so it doesn’t feel like everything rests on one person’s shoulders. It really depends on the two co-chairs getting along well and being able to work together effectively. I don’t think I could co-chair with just anyone...’


Anna Williams: ‘Agreed! The key is finding someone who can complement your skills. We are both good at different things, which makes us a strong team.’


Tamsin Gillard-Moss: I’ve co-chaired for two years with a different co-chair each year. It works really well and takes the pressure off the one person in the chairman position. Having two people meet with the head makes it easier to present a united front, and to report back accurately. Sometimes it can be lonely at the top...’


For further guidance, check your constitution or


governing document for information concerning the specific roles and responsibilities of your chair.


Jemma Barker: ‘I’m a co-chair and it works brilliantly. We each take an event and lead on it with the other supporting. We complement each other: one prefers lists, detail and school communications, the other does more of the promotional/marketing and buying stuff, and parent communications. We agree on any decisions that need to be taken and it works very well.’


Laura Smith: ‘I am a co-chair and I wouldn’t have it any other way! We use an app called Wunderlist, where we add items that need to be done. It’s a shared list, so we can both crack on and tick things off. We agree who is going to run the next meeting and that person organises the agenda. We split the events accordingly.’


‘Having three of us gives us the momentum to move forward’


‘When our previous chair stepped down two years ago, I was tempted to take on the role, but didn’t feel able to manage it all on my own. After asking around among the mums in my child’s year group, I found two others who were willing to join me. Although we weren’t friends at the start, we have become good friends since we started co-chairing. Having three of us sharing the role


has worked really well, as between us we always seem to have the momentum to move forward. We share the responsibilities and tasks, and are able to step in and out of the role as our home and work lives


allow. We all know it’s ok to say “I’m not able to do this”. If one of us were to leave, it would be easier to recruit another co-chair rather than having to find one person to take on all the duties at once. We take it in turns to chair committee meetings, and choose which of the PTA’s projects we each want to oversee. We communicate regularly – on WhatsApp or in person – and are open and honest with each other. We recognise it’s OK to disagree, as long as we have a majority of two of us agreeing. Having said that, we have always found ourselves to be like- minded, so far!


For us to be an effective team, we


have agreed our goals and mission statement, and try and work out a plan for each year in advance. This helps overcome any uncertainty and prevents things being overlooked. Obviously, things don’t always


go exactly to plan – as living through lockdown has proved! We have been able to adapt, however, via virtual meetings and social media, and have recently supported our school community with online fundraising and a village gnome hunt!’ Liv Myson, co-chair, Friends of Pendragon, Pendragon Community Primary School, Cambridge (379 pupils)


pta.co.uk AUTUMN 2020 23


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