“We had a 40-minute discussion about bunting!”
However much one person may love bunting, not everyone at your PTA meeting will share their enthusiasm. It’s time to get your precious meetings back on track.
To help you out, we’ve spoken to Classlist Ambassadors and reviewed our own experiences of PTA meetings. The result is this collection of top tips for running the type of PTA get-togethers parents won’t want to miss.
1. Perfect your PTA meeting plan
Planning is the first step to a successful meeting.
- Put together an agenda of five to seven items for discussion.
- Allocate how much time you’ll spend discussing each one.
- Assign someone to take brief minutes.
Once you’ve got your draft agenda, use Classlist announcements to distribute it in advance and ask if anyone has anything important to add. Re-distribute your final agenda a week beforehand then once again on the day, so the points are fresh in attendees’ minds.
2. Be a top host
Never underestimate the power of a friendly reception. Make sure you greet new people at the door, introducing yourself and making everyone feel welcome from the start.
3. Get the timing right
It’s important to have a set time and date for your meeting, for example, the first Monday after every half term. Aim for one meeting per term, and try to keep it to an hour to avoid people switching off and thinking about their dinner.
“We have our meetings half termly at a set time and date – on the Monday when school starts back – so people know it’s coming. We also alternate the location between the college and the junior school. As the Chair, I don’t do a lot of talking – I keep things moving along.”
– Kelly, PTA Chair, St George’s, Weybridge.
You know what’s even more popular than PTA meetings? Pub meetings (with pizza!). Once a term, plan a pub night so you can include parents who can’t make the PTA gatherings. It’s a social occasion, but also a great opportunity to keep parent conversations going.
7 Steps to starting up a PTA guide
4. Keep your content relevant
Got a great running club? Roller derby team? Bunting appreciation society? That’s wonderful, but only interested parties need to know the finer details.
It’s easy to clear space in your PTA agenda – create groups on Classlist to form relevant subcommittees. The enthusiasts will be happy to take it from there and you’ll get your meeting time back for other matters.
Another canny trick is to use Classlist to share your key documents before the meeting.
“We post information on Classlist before the meeting. This starts the conversation and so people come to the meeting with an opinion already formed, which speeds things up. Parents who can’t attend can see the discussions and comment prior to the meeting too.”
– Maria Blick, Chair of the PA, Christ Church Cathedral College
Planning to have a head teacher present at the meeting? Make the best use of their time by arranging for them to attend solely for the section that applies to them. You can bet school staff will really appreciate this efficient and considerate approach.
5. Make it fun
One of our Ambassadors makes sure there is wine on hand at her meetings. Others choose to meet in the morning after the school drop-off, laying on a breakfast spread for everyone in the hall.
Food. Drink. Simple things like this are bound to make meetings much more appealing.
Time to tackle your next meeting
Now you’re armed with some great advice for future meetings. Let us know how you get on.
We recommend aiming for two reps per class on your PTA. And it’s always worth keeping an eye out for people who seem naturally suited to the PTA team. If a parent always replies to your messages straightaway, chances are they’d like to be more involved when it comes to recruiting a new rep.
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