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parents assoc question

Question:

hi girls,
I know there are a few of you involved in parents assocations. I was wondering do you have a teacher representive on your committee and do they attend meetings?
Also what kind of things do you do, is it mainly fundraising and helping out at events.
I am involved in ours but we are considering changing the way it is run, to try and get more interest!
So just doing a bit of research here!
thanks, L
Answers:
Each class has at least one rep on the parents' commitee, and at the start of each year their contact numbers and names are made available to the other parents in the class they represent. over the course of the year, if a parent has something they want brought up at a meeting they'll speak to the calss rep about it, and it can be brought up 'officially' at a meeting then, with the rep as a speaker for the parent/parents in cases where they'd be comfier with anonimity, iykwim?
Fundraising- always with the fundraising. Bake-sales and bric-a-brac stalls and Christmas fetes, concerts, cinema nights are always very popular, esp coming up to Christmas, we'd buy out the whole screen and set up mincepies/mulled wine stalls - do a raffle at intermission- really good fundraiser. That sort of thing.
No teachers on the commitee, per se. It's parents of children in the classes as I said above, the head-teacher and another Board of management member more oft than not.
Answers:
Ours is a parents only association which I think is a nonsense and that to be effective they should have teacher representation. It also means that they would be guaranteed teacher co-operation from the outset as the teachers would have been part of the decision making process. As far as I can see the only function of ours is to fund raise.
Answers:
How in Holy Hell do you get anything done/discussed/decided if you don't have any school staff on the commitee??!
Answers:
Our meetings are held with both principals attending. Matters which have been brought to our attention can be mentioned at the meetings but it can be a tricky one to call. We mainly fundraise. You are right to have a look at what is being done at the moment and maybe change it. things can get a bit stale and exclusive to some parents iykwim, leaving others out of the loop and excluded. No harm to shake things.
Answers:
thanks girls. Its great to see how others do it.
At the moment we have no member of staff present (do have board of mgt reps) and are thinking of including them.....either the head teacher or a staff rep (or both if they want!).
We kind've feel a bit like skivvys...we bake, make the tea, clean up at all events...we do organise lots of fundraising/afterschool activties etc but feel we have very little input in how things are done, or in getting answers to queries/issues people may have.
This school is growing at a huge rate, it has doubled in recent years so the parents assoc is even more important now imo.
How do people go about being nominated for it? In our school so far it has been people kind've forced on, there is an agm and whoever turns up will get a job It isn't that popular so the same people end up on it all the time, whether they like it or not. Thus it needs to change, especially as most of these are standing down now and don't want to be re-elected.
Answers:
Our agm was a bit of a washout. It was hard to get 4 new members to come on and there is no one from the growing new Irish community out there. My ambition for my final year is to try and involve more parents and get them interested. We always have a speaker but to be honest they have been brilliant but not crowd pullers.
Incidentally, we have tried to bring problems to the table for discussion at the parents' association meetings but have been shot down by the Principals..... Their line is, if you have a problem, you approach the teacher and if that does not address the issue, you make an appointment to meet the Principal. All very fine and dandy but there are bigger issues out there and the parent may not be confident enough to go head to head with these formidable people.
Answers:
Lumpy, Are there parent representatives on the Board of Management? I know my father was the teachers rep on the Board of Management for years and it was through the parents reps on the Board of Management that the parents had a say in how the school was run. AFAIK boards of management have alegal role in the running of the school but parents associations don't.
Claire
Answers:
Claire yes there are parents rep on the board of mgt. I know parents assoc have no legal role, but it would be nice if it could be used to air problems/share ideas etc without having to go through the board of mgt everytime, as they have so much already to go through the stuff from the parents assoc gets run through very quickly. Also it is like a game of tennis, sth is brought up at the parents assoc, then it goes to the board of mgt through the reps, then brought back to parents assoc, then back to board of mgt and absolutely nth actually happens! There are a lot of issues that don't need to go through the board of mgt and could be sorted out in 10 mins if the teacher/principal went to meetings iykwim.
Didireallydothat your school sounds like ours, funnily enough the new members all have kids in Junior infants ...we were the eager ones
Answers:
OK coming from BOM point of view and not PTA/PA so don't know if my view is helpful.
We view the managment of school a collaborative process between the different committees - we have a BOM, PTA, fundraising committee and a student union. There are distinct roles for each.
Each group meet with principal regularly. Issues that require funds to be spent have to go to BOM for approval. General issues around, problems with car parking, lunchtimes, school trips etc are all discussed at PTA. Fundraising committee sepcifically decide which activities will take place each year/when - they look to BOM for an idea of how much needs to raised. Specific problems with a particular teacher etc is NOT dealt with at PTA (and we have been very lucky that the chairs of this group have been great) . All parents are told of the agreed policy on complaints - (INTO recommends this) the process is directly approach teacher, if no sucess go to principal, if still no success talk to chairperson BOM, still no result write to BOM.
We also have meetings every year of the 3 adult committees (usually just officers of each) where the aims of each are discussed and any issues that have cropped up are aired. BOM meet SU a couple of times a year too.
All classes in school are invited to have two members on the PTA and there are also the parents' reps and a teacher and sna member.
Takes a lot of work, but parental involvement vital.
Re getting involvemnt from members of newer committees - some of the things we are trying - notes in several languages, targetting particular parents that look like they might want to be involved (usually teachers can point out potential victims - sorry helpers ). Many of the parents in new communties feel they cannot be involved because they wouldn't have someone to mind their kids if they go to meetings - can you arrange meetings during school time. Get someone to babysit etc.
Best of luck!
Answers:
Wow, you have it in a nutshell. We are going to start multi lingual newsletters and one of big things next coming year is going to be a food market (cake sale before now) with flags and all kinds of inclusive, positive vibes to bring traditional items along, national dress if possible and just do a party. Fingers crossed, we have been accused of only being interested in money in the past but inclusiveness is our big goal this year. (Anyway isn't our new government going to give huge amounts of money to schools).
By the way, I will never get involved in a Board of Management, it involves way too much legal responsibility.

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