When checking my 6 yr old’s bag last night, I found that there was a request from the PTA to send children in with ‘pocket money’ to buy sweeties today.
The last day of term.
This is on top of weekly requests for money for cakes, the cakes themselves, empty jars to be filled with sweets for the children to then buy each other’s at the summer fayre (which incidentally cost nearly £30 for not very much!) plus bottles in exchange for non uniform day (to be used in tombola at aforementioned summer fayre) and many other things…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for raising money for school trips and equipment, and yes I was happier paying £15 for a recent trip instead of the actual cost of £30, but it’s this constant ask for a drip drip drip of money that grates.
This is also the same PTA that photocopied Christmas carols onto A4 paper and then charged parents £2 to buy one at the Christmas service. The same PTA who raised £1000 in the first term of the year.
There are surely only so many cake sales and bring a bottles that can be done? Aren’t there?
Today was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Children of first school age are under immense peer group pressure, and while there was no obligation to send my son with money, he’d have felt terribly left out if all his friends were off buying sweets.
In fact on Tuesday at the cake sale, one of his friends didn’t have any money to buy a cake so my son did.
Whatever the reason was for him not having money, I don’t know. Perhaps his mum didn’t have any money to spare or maybe she didn’t want him to have cake, but whatever it was, my son felt bad enough for him that he bought a cake.
So aside from the whole Healthy Eating thing, knowing that kids do bow to peer group pressure is not a good way to raise money, and on the last day of term, this smacks of ‘quick let’s hussle the parents for the very last penny’
Deciding to speak up, knowing many parents feel the same, I approached one of the PTA to express my feelings
Unfortunately she wasn’t prepared to listen to me, before I even got beyond ‘can I talk to you about the sweet sale’ she’d cut across me, telling me I could have sent son with fruit, that there’s no obligation, we’re not forced to give money etc.
After trying to interrupt her to explain my actual feelings, and that I felt there WAS an obligation by the rote of peer group pressure, she then told me son shouldn’t hang out with kids who would pressure him and was he a bully?
I was so shocked I couldn’t speak, and in the pause she then slammed past me saying I was the reason there would be no fundraising next year!
I was absolutely gobsmacked, so I followed her to the reception desk where she was handing the sweets to the headteacher.
I in no uncertain terms told her that she was incredibly rude to not even listen to what I was saying, that there were dozens of ways to raise money and that I’d attended everything.
Unfortunately she didn’t let me finish before cutting across me again, saying she’d expressed her feelings and that was that.
Common courtesy apparently lacking.
Now knowing that it was only suggested yesterday, my feeling is that they already knew in their heart of hearts that it wasn’t a good idea, hence her instant defensive and aggressive attitude.
I doubt they expected to be challenged.
Speaking to other parents today and in recent weeks, I’m far from being alone.
Much as I’d like to be involved in the PTA, having a 15 month old meant that I couldn’t commit.
And I made the fatal error of volunteering to help with decorating the school for Christmas. Who knew it could be so political, but that’s a post for another day…