What a P&C really does
Parents who cringe at the very mention of the term ‘P&C’ probably have never been to a meeting. Here we take a look at what the P&C really does.
Most schools have a parent representative body, commonly called Parents and Citizens (P&C) Association in state schools or a Parents and Friends (P&F) Association in non-government schools.
The parent committee is the voice of the parents. It’s at these meetings that decisions affecting your child at school are made.
Committee meetings are usually held once a month. Any parent or guardian can attend.
Parent associations are a great way to:
- get the inside story on what’s really happening in the school (not the gossip). The principal usually is available to answer questions and teachers sometimes attend too
- influence school policy (want to change the uniform? Lobby through the P&C)
- have a say in the development of school activities such as excursions and camps and curriculum
- guide school management in its financial planning by helping prioritise the resource wish-list
- contribute to the school’s resources through various fundraising projects
- meet other parents
Schools have their own budgets —but invariably they need more than the budget allows. That’s where the parent committee becomes a really valuable partner.
P&Cs often run or manage services like tuckshops (or canteens), uniform shops or after school care/vacation care.
Some school parent committees have special interest sub-committees that focus on, for example, a sport or the music program or the school grounds.
Fundraising is a powerful way in which to help your school get much-wanted additional resources—from extra library books to a shade cloth over a play area, new tuckshop kitchen; even a new swimming pool.
School fundraising can take many forms from product drives to special event stalls (for Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day, for example) and social events—for students (like school discos), parents (such as casino nights or wine tastings) and families (like trivia nights and BBQs). Parent committees are also the driving force behind big community events like fetes or carnivals.
All money raised by a parent committee must be used for the benefit of the school. But as a member, you get to vote on how funds are used—and ultimately, that can only benefit your child too.
Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).
Follow the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page to take part in great information sharing with Australia’s school and club volunteers.
You might also be interested in: