Information

Parent Council Welcome Pack

A Welcome Pack for members of new Parent Councils.


Getting started the practicalities

This leaflet has suggestions for that all-important first meeting of the Parent Council.

Introductions

Some of you may know each other already and have worked together before on the School Board or PTA but there will probably be new parents involved for the first time. Introductions will be important. One way of doing this might be to ask people to simply say:

  • Their name
  • Which class or classes their child or children are in
  • One thing they really like about the school
  • One thing they would like to find out more about
  • One thing they hope the Parent Council might achieve.

Selecting Office bearers

The first task will be to agree which officers you need (your constitution may state this) and to agree these. Until a chair is agreed the headteacher of the school, or the chair of the working group that set up the Parent Council, may take the chair just to get things started. Once you have selected your office bearers the new chairperson for the Parent Council, who must be a parent of a child at the school, can run the rest of the meeting.

Agenda ideas for first meeting

Below are some suggested agenda items for your first meeting to get you up and running. There's a lot to get through so you might want to have a tea break at some point.

What do you want to achieve?

  • This is likely to take up most of the meeting. You may want to think about doing this in small groups first, drawing on information from the school or your own experiences to identify a range of topics and putting these up around the room. Have a tea break - a chance to get to know each other and for people to consider the issues identified in small group discussion. Everyone can then come together to select the five issues they consider most important. See the leaflet in this pack called 'What do you want to achieve?' for more information.

How do you want to work?

  • If you have a long list of priorities and a range of issues you want to tackle you may consider setting up sub groups as a way of getting things done. These groups can also allow different members of the Parent Council to work on the things that interest them most or that they feel they can contribute to most usefully. Other parents can also be invited to join sub groups to support the work of Parent Council members.

Co- opted members

  • Does your constitution allow for co-opted members? If so, think about what you want to achieve and who, within the number allowed, you could co-opt to help you? You may wish to invite school staff, both teachers and support staff. Denominational schools will have someone nominated by the church as a co-opted member. Inviting a 'prospective parent' on to the Council can provide continuity and ensure that there is a link to parents whose children may be coming to the school soon. Once you have decided who to invite the Secretary/clerk can be asked to write and invite them to the next meeting.

Practical support

  • Do any members need practical help such as childcare or transport to help them attend meetings? You may want to think about these when discussing your budget needs for the Parent Council with the local authority. What practical secretarial support can the local authority or school offer to the Parent Council? See the leaflet on 'Roles of office bearers' if you are thinking about appointing a clerk.

Setting up a bank account

  • If you have selected a treasurer this is something that you may want to ask them to do. If you are combining a PTA into your Parent Council there is guidance on how to do this from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council ( SPTC). You will need to agree who the signatories are going to be.

Future meetings

  • How frequently do you think you will need to meet? You might want to do some long term planning and think about what you might want to discuss at future meetings. It will also be important to set dates for future meetings that are suitable for everyone so that these are in diaries well in advance. If there is difficulty agreeing a time or day that suits everybody you may want to think about varying these at alternate meetings - you can be flexible about this. If there are specific people who you think can help you that you might want to invite to future meetings, give them plenty of notice.

Remember, everything does not have to be done at once.
Don't forget to have fun!!

Back to top