Love them or loathe them, PTAs (Parent-Teacher Association) are a vital source of income for many schools in the UK. Each year, the groups raise hundreds of pounds for schools to purchase equipment or fund trips through bake sales, fun days, and themed discos. Some parents are put off joining their school’s PTA due to the perception that they can be a bit cliquey, whilst others have made life long friendships through the group. Parents choose to join for a myriad of reasons, which is why you will find a plethora of characters at any PTA meeting.
1. The Corporate Climber
She has climbed the ranks of office management and has now decided to bring her numerous skills in planning, organisation and communication to the group. She quickly ascends to the role of PTA chair, bombarding her fellow parents with corporate jargon, using phrases such as “real-time growth strategies”, “value-added leadership” and “holistic catalysts for change”. No one really understands what she’s talking about, but everyone else is happy that they don’t have to be in charge.
2. The Overly-Enthusiastic Parent
She never misses a meeting, and even gets polo shirts made with the school logo and the word “PTA” in large lettering across the back. She posts on the Facebook group at 2am about some possible fundraising ideas and is first to volunteer for the events. Her children left school five years ago.
3. The Token Dad
He works all day so rarely gets to do the pick ups and drop offs. The PTA is his way of giving something back to the school. He’s pretty laid back and sits quietly in the meetings, only speaking up when he has something to offer, but he’s useful for moving the furniture around at the Christmas Fair. Half the mums on the PTA have a crush on him.
4. The Comms Exec
She comes from a background in communications and marketing and is big on big brand ideas. She insists that all communication from the PTA must be created using a stylish and corporate looking template she’s designed, even if it’s just a note about a Halloween Disco. She has created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but due to GDPR and child safeguarding all of the images are close up shots of cupcakes and the occasional hamper.
5. The Bake-Off Wannabee
She insists on baking cakes and biscuits for every event and takes great delight in the positive responses she receives. Fortunately for her, no one has cottoned onto the fact that she only ever uses cake ready mixes and pre-made decorations bought from her local bakery supplier.
6. The Gin Aficionado
The PTA meetings happen to take place in the local pub and she turns up to every single one, but is mysteriously absent during almost every event in school. She can usually be found at the edge of the group quietly sipping a gin. She rarely says anything, except for that one time when it was suggested that the regular committee meetings could take place in the school instead of the local.
7. The Competitor
She has three children in the school and has been a member of the PTA for several years and makes sure everyone knows it. She keeps track of how many events she has volunteered for and will tell anyone who will listen. Just make sure you don’t get onto the topic of reading levels with her, because it’s guaranteed that the tales of her children will put yours to shame.
8. The Exhausted Secretary
She naively took onto the role of PTA secretary when her child was in reception and now he’s in Year 5. She is quite frankly fed up but can’t get anyone else to take on the role. She turns up late to the meetings and when she does eventually get around to emailing out the minutes to everyone, it becomes apparent she wasn’t paying attention at all.
9. The Reluctant Member
She hates volunteering for anything with a passion, but has been dragged along to the meetings by her friend, the Exhausted Secretary, and feels obliged to go along to support her. She sits at the back of the meeting, hoping to get away without doing anything. However, she’s quickly identified as a people pleaser by the other members who often pressure her into helping out at an event, knowing that she won’t be able to say no.
10. The New-Ager
She means well, but her insistence that every event organised by the school must have an “ethical grounding” can be a little bit tiresome, especially when she tried to insist that the committee only accept vegan products for the Christmas hampers. Plus, there was that really awkward moment when she tried to get the committee to join hands at the start of a meeting in order to align some chakras.