Top Tips for Parent Councils

  1. Build up sound methods of communication using different tools.  For example, set up a Facebook page to let parents know about events and meetings; form a Yahoo group or; set up your own website.
  1. Remember that not all families have access to the Internet so think about using different types of communication methods.
  1. Set up a dedicated Parent Council email address.  This makes it easier to keep up communication channels when someone steps down from the committee.
  1. Get in touch with Home Link Workers and Community Learning and Development Workers who are often in contact with parents/carers who don’t always get involved with the school – they may have useful tips for reaching out to them.
  1. Make contact with community and/or faith groups to ensure parents from a variety of backgrounds are kept informed.
  1. Be visible at school events and parents evenings.   Ask the Headteacher if you could have a display stand and ask SPTC and local groups for leaflets and resources.   This is also a great opportunity to publicise events and show parents what you have been doing.
  1. Display any items you have bought for the school at your AGM or parents evenings.  Parents can see where fundraising money has been spent.
  1. Carry out an audit of skills amongst the parents by asking them if they are good at such things as D.I.Y., cookery, I.C.T., art, etc.   Ask them personally if they would be willing to help out as/when necessary – the personal approach often works best.
  1. There should always be a Treasurer’s Report at every Parent Council meeting.   Everyone should listen to this and make sure they understand it.
  2. Set a time limit for reports at meetings.  For example, the Head Teacher’s  report should not take longer than ten minutes.   If there is a lot to report, ask them to send details via email before the meeting.  If there is anything of great importance to discuss then this should be a separate agenda item.
  1. Any Other Competent Business (AOCB) may be an agenda item but it is not the place for members/visitors to bring up a major item of business at no notice.  The chair should be informed in advance of late items to be raised here, or, if an issue raised at the meeting, then it may be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
  1. It is a good idea to elect office bearers at the first Parent Council meeting and not at an AGM.  This allows someone to take over a post if an office bearer steps down during the year.
  1. Remember that you don’t have to call your group a Parent Council – the word “council” may be off-putting to some parents.   You can call your group anything you want to suit your school community.    Some examples include:  Friends of the school and Parent Partnership.
  1. Find out what financial and other support is available from your local authority and how you can access this.
  1. Don’t make your constitution too detailed, for example, by specifying numbers on your committee.  Always allow room for flexibility.
  1. Acknowledge the different types of parental involvement- it’s not just about being on the Parent Council.   Promote other ways for families to be involved.
  1. Have a log book at all your events.  Record any incidents and get two people to sign this.    Even if nothing happens still record this.
  1. Ask your headteacher if you could be part of a school assembly to let their children know how their parents could be involved with the Parent Council/PTA.
  1. Check the school calendar to make sure your meetings/events don’t clash with anything else.