Good morning Mhairi! So tell us, when did you first join the St Margaret’s PTA?
My daughter Abby joined St Margaret’s in 5 Junior so as we were moving to a new school, I was keen to meet other parents. I felt the PTA was a great way to meet other parents and teachers.
Why did you join the PTA?
I am actually a former pupil of St Margaret’s and I saw joining the PTA as a good way for me to connect with the school as a parent. I thought it would be a great way to become involved and a way to meet other parents; like-minded people to share ideas and concerns with. There are times when you need that support network. I wanted to give something back to the school, and this was a way I could see of doing so. The school is so appreciative of the work of the PTA that it makes it very rewarding.
How long have you been on the PTA committee for?
Well, Abby is now is V Senior so this is my 8th year on the committee – gosh – I hadn’t realised it was that long! Time flies when you are having fun!
That is a long time! And what position do you hold on the PTA committee?
I am currently the Joint Chair of the PTA with an VI Senior Mum – Lindsey Cornwell.
What made you want to become the Chair of the PTA?
Honestly? The previous Chair was standing down and there were not a lot of raised hands for taking on the role! I didn’t like to see the PTA fold as I believe it is an important part of a school, so I tentatively raised my hand and said I would take it on if it could possibly be a shared position. I work four days a week so it can sometimes be difficult to fit everything in but the idea of sharing the role with another parent was a way I could see it could work. And it has!
What has been your favourite event to help organise?
That is a difficult question. I love all the events but probably those involving the whole family are the most fun and the most busy! It’s so great to see people of all ages having fun together; that is very much what I feel St Margaret’s is all about!
Why is the PTA so important to St Margaret’s?
I believe the PTA has two main roles – fundraising and social. I also see it as providing the link between teachers and parents. The fundraising we do gives the girls the “extras” - the ice cream at sports day, additional computers or books, and I feel the social side of the PTA is equally important. St Margaret’s has parents from all over the world who may not know a lot of people in Aberdeen and I like to think that the PTA social events can help those parents meet other parents.
How much money does the PTA raise each year?
We aim to raise around £10,000 each year and usually achieve this target which we are immensely proud of!
Absolutely, that’s a fantastic amount! What projects has this money been spent on?
During the school year we discuss various spending proposals with Miss Tomlinson as well as the junior and senior pupil councils. This is a great aspect of being on the PTA as we see all our hard work being used for the benefit of our girls. We are particularly proud of the outdoor classroom, the playground improvements, the benches at the front of school, the provision of a bank of laptops to name but a few! We aim to spend the funds on things that will benefit the whole school and will often split the money between a number of projects.
It sounds very rewarding Mhairi! And how often do the PTA committee meet, and what do they discuss?
We try to meet every term so maybe four times a year to discuss events we would like to organise, ways to raise money and social events. We also discuss ways to spend the money!
And how would you describe the role of the PTA committee?
As a member of the committee you could be the Chair or Secretary or Treasurer, but you do not need to take on a specific job. Many of the committee members like to assist at events and we try to form smaller sub-groups for each event to allow people to volunteer in areas they are interested in. For example, at the moment we have a sub-group looking to organise the BBQ at Sports Day, i.e. someone will volunteer to do the shopping, others may do some baking, and another team will be there on the day to cook a few hundred burgers!
Why would you encourage other parents to join the PTA committee?
I would encourage everyone to get involved with the PTA. As I have said already, it’s a great way to meet parents and teachers, it benefits your daughters today, and it is great fun! It is very rewarding to feel part of the school and I think it makes Abby proud (I hope)!
I am sure she is very proud of you. Next year will be your last year on the PTA committee – what will you miss most about it?
I know that when it comes to this time next year and Abby is leaving St Margaret’s I will be sad. I have loved the camaraderie, I have met some great people and I have had so much fun! We will miss St Margaret’s!
Thank you very much to Mhairi for taking the time to answer our questions. We will feature a different PTA committee member each week!