Schools do not have enough money in their budgets to spend on additional enrichment for students. How do Parents’ Associations help with the survival of a school?


Around the country, many schools are experiencing tight budgets due to recent cuts. Every year, it becomes more and more difficult for schools to put money towards additional resources as they struggle to fund the essentials. Stop School Cuts, a website maintained by the National Education Union, say that 83% of schools will not get the funding that they need due to years of cutbacks by the Government. Schools now look to other methods of raising funding. This is where the PA steps in at Parmiter’s School.


The school and its pupils get given access to much needed additional resources, allowing students to further their learning. This is down to the PA, raising money by hosting events for the school. The committee works tirelessly to organise a wide range of different occasions each month with the Parmiter’s Christmas Gift Fair as the biggest fundraiser of the year. In 2018, the fair raised £16,000 alone and over the last year, the PA has given a total of £25,000 in grants to the school. This money can be put towards extra equipment, benefiting both the school and the students.


Recent spending has been put towards items such as a new laser cutter for the Design and Technology department; “The Jam Jar” – an additional music room and art storage area and kits for the Computer Science department for teaching circuits and logic gates. Without the PA, none of this would have been possible. The school is currently fundraising towards the new Science block, whilst also maintaining funds for other requests which may appear in the future.


I spoke to Nita Moss, a member of the Parmiter’s PA, about the effort that goes into an event like the fair: “It takes a lot of people and time to organise the fair and all the people are volunteer parents with full time jobs themselves so is a very big demand on peoples time. We start planning for the fair in February and then the main bulk starts in the summer holidays and all of September October and November.


“The Christmas Fair has been very successful year on year, and we are learning from them and working out new ways to fundraise at each of them. If we are going to do a big event that takes up so much time and effort, it makes sense to maximise the amount of money we can generate from it.”


Walking into the fair, the familiar smells of Christmas surrounds you; mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate. With over 70 professional stalls, I felt spoilt for choice! The wide range of handmade gifts and presents meant that there was something here for everyone. Games could be found around the fair for that extra bit of festive fun – the Chocolate Tombola is always popular. It was certainly a day full of fun which I enjoyed with my family.


As well as being for funding, the events are a way for parents and members of the school to get involved with the school community and participate. The Cheese and Wine evening, run by the PA, is a way for new parents of the school to meet: “It is more difficult in a secondary school for parents to get to know one another and this a great opportunity that we provide for them to do just that”.


A similar day is organised for the new students coming from primary school by themselves. The Year Six Tea Party helps the children quickly settle in and get to know people, allowing them to recognise at least one face when they make the transition to secondary school.


The PA works hard to help keep the school full of brand new and important resources to improve the environment for students like myself. Not only do they provide equipment, but they create a friendly social community within school; helping students, parents and staff. With so many schools needing that extra bit of funding, the PA is vital to everyone.


By Esme Magnier