MANAGING YOUR PTA – Relationships

headteacher. Arrange to have a meeting with the head at regular intervals. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible, would a phone call work? If you’re making requests, anticipate any questions they may have and try to have answers ready. Demonstrate what you have done in the past or show them what works for other PTAs. If staff never attend your meetings, explain how that might be detrimental to your group’s morale. If you’re holding meetings on Zoom, could a staff member attend from home? Feedback from both sides is

important. Make your newsletter available to all members of staff and encourage them to read it. Thank any member of staff who helps out and thank the head for their time. ‘School are very good at feeding

back to us,’ says Coates. ‘They always thank us, and the head sent the PTA a really nice letter at the end of the school year thanking us for everything we had done. It was a personal message recognising that we have gone over and above in difficult times, and saying how much it meant to the school.’

Define key contacts Find a balance between giving the school enough information and not bombarding them. Could one person be your principal contact, with other staff members getting involved when necessary? Perhaps a member of staff could be included in your WhatsApp group or act as an admin on your Facebook page. ‘We have a main contact who

specialises in events for the school,’ says Rimell. ‘We liaise with the

26 SPRING 2021

marketing manager, who manages the school and charity brands – and we have access to the senior leadership team, including the head when needed. We tend to work with the school’s support staff, but where we need additional support, the teaching staff are always happy to help too.’

Act professionally Arrive at meetings punctually and keep things short and to the point. Only discuss PTA business and leave any school-related questions to more appropriate channels. When dealing with staff, remember their names and what job they do. Don’t make complaints behind people’s backs – word will get out and the trust you’ve worked so hard to achieve will be lost.

Find a compromise Difficulties can arise when the expectations of both sides aren’t met. Establish how important the PTA is to the headteacher and find out what they know already about your fundraising efforts. If communication is difficult, try

to understand where the problem lies. Are school staff overwhelmed or is this just simply not the right time? Could you do some basic fundraising that the school would support instead of trying to do more and becoming frustrated? If your suggestions are turned

down, accept their decision and ask what a compromise might look like. If there’s a problem, offer solutions. Could you simplify your idea this year to show that it can work, and plan for something bigger next year?

‘Our PTA is a brand that exists to

support the school, and we should

therefore align with the school’s brand and ethos’

Five top tips 1

The head is an expert on the school, so respect

their opinion and accept their decisions.

2 3

Feedback is important for both parties.

Keep communication with school to a small

group of contacts in order to avoid duplication and maintain efficiency.

4 5

Recognise the importance of

fundraising for schools, but also how little time staff have to dedicate to it.

A ‘thank you’ goes a long way!


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