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How to become a Parent - Teacher Association member 

Parents are children's primary educators and their encouragement and support are vital. They stimulate their children's development through play and other home-based activities, and help foster their children's language and communication skills through listening and talking to them. Children learn more effectively and quickly if their parents are supportive and, if parents and schools are in touch with each other about children's progress, potential difficulties can be spotted and dealt with more quickly. Parent - Teacher Associations are a partnership between parents and teachers to support all in the school community.

On this page:

What does the role involve?
What will I get out of this?
What will I be expected to give back?
What skills do I need?
How much time should I expect to give?
How do I get involved?

What does the role involve?

Parent - Teacher Associations or PTAs are groups that bring together parents and teachers with a shared interest in supporting their school. They raise money for non-curricular activities (such as school trips, or clubs), organise educational evenings to meet staff and learn about teaching methods and inform parents of new initiatives in education and about common concerns (e.g. anti-bullying policies).

Joining the PTA can be an interesting experience, and can involve many different roles. You could:

  • Help with fundraising events
  • Support or help organise social events
  • Tell the PTA committee about your ideas, interests and concerns
  • Come to information evenings to find out about changes in education

    They may also run school shops, help in the classroom or give support on regular school events as sports days, open days or school trips. Most importantly, they act as an informal channel communication between parents and staff.

    If you would like to become more involved, you can join the PTA committee. PTA committees consist of both parents and staff members. They plan and run fund-raising events, and decide the best way to spend the money raised.

    What will I get out of this?

    PTAs can help improve your child’s education. Research shows that support by parents is one of the most important factors in successful schools and that co-operation between parents and teachers helps pupils to perform better.

    Knowing how the school works and how decisions are made gives parents more chance of ensuring their child’s education is as good as possible.

    It is essential that the membership of PTAs reflects the pupils, teachers and parents of the school. Parents from excluded or marginalised groups, such LGBT, disabled or Black and minority ethnic people can bring an invaluable personal perspective and experiences to the work.


    What will I be expected to give back?

    Your time! Professionally run and successful PTAs require a lot of time and effort. As a PTA member you can get as involved as you like, however, if you choose to become a committee member you should expect to spend a lot of time in meetings. You will also be required to help with organising events and raising funds.


    What skills do I need?

    You don’t need any specific skills or experience, just a commitment taking an active role in your child’s school. If you do have specific skills and experience, like fundraising or organising events, then getting involved with the PTA gives you an excellent opportunity to share those skills.


    How much time should I expect to give?

    That really depends on the amount of time you want to give. You can help out occasionally or take a lead role in organising events or campaigning on a specific issue.


    How do I get involved?

    Contact your child’s school to ask when and where the PTA meets.

    What if my child’s school doesn’t have a PTA?

    If there is no PTA at your child’s school then any parent can take the initiative and set one up.

    What steps to take:

  • meet with the head teacher to discuss your plans and gain their support
  • all parents should be sent a letter inviting them to attend the first meeting
  • identify like-minded parents who will help to run the PTA and share the responsibility for arranging future meetings
  • to keep everyone enthusiastic, start by planning fundraising events to benefit the school and keep discussions on more contentious issues until the PTA is better established

    Useful Contact

    For advice on starting a PTA contact the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, the umbrella body for PTA’s across Scotland. They provide useful and practical information that will help you to start up the PTA.

    Scottish Parent Teacher Council
    53 George Street
    EH2 2HT

    tel: 0131 226 4378

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