What Is The Function Of A Parents Association In A School?
When your children start their formal education you’ll soon become familiar with terms like “parents association” and “board of management”. They will be referenced at meetings, on newsletters and even in some of the official school documentation.
You might be wondering what the function of some of these things are and how they will impact your child’s experience of the school. The parents association can play a really important role in how the school progresses and some of the decisions that are made during your child’s schooling so it is a good idea to understand what they do and how they can help you and your children.
The role of a parents association in a school is to work alongside the school’s principal, staff and board of management to bridge the gap between home and school. In this sense, they are a link between the school and the parents of the children that attend it.
These parents may only see snippets of the school at drop off, pick up and during the rarer meetings and school events. The parents association are a positive liaison between all parents and the school.
The goal of a parents association is to enhance your child’s education and experience of learning through the school. In terms of research there is a clear link between a parents association and a better quality of school experience. This is because great things can happen when parents and teachers come together.
In many schools the parents association will play an integral role in school processes and procedures. They may bring certain issues to the attention of the school’s principal or board of management and this can lead to changes in school rules and policies. These issues may concern bullying or child protection and safety for example.
A parents association can also make a huge difference in the way learning is enriched for the pupils attending. They may come together to suggest and organize events and activities at the school.
These activities may be directly for the students in the form of an extracurricular activity or they may invite speakers to the school to help parents gain an understanding of a particular topic or area that affects the physical or emotional development of their children.
Having a parents association is actually considered a legal right. It is included in the Education Act 1998 and states that the parents of the children of any given school may form an association and that membership should be open to all parents of the children attending that school.
In many cases, interest in being part of the association is gauged, a committee is formed and clear roles are designated to ensure that the parents association functions effectively.
The parents association, in a wider sense, involves all parents of the school but the committee act on their behalf and become the “voice”. The size of
the committee is largely dictated by school numbers.
In some cases, committees may be larger or smaller in nature depending on the amount of work that is required. For a newer school, there may be a great level of Fund Raising needed for example and this may require more people to make that happen.
If you wish to set up a Parents Association at your children’s school or if you need any advice on the matter you can contact the National Parents Council on 01-8302740.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.