Most people know that the PTA have, in the past, held fundraising nights and other events to raise money for the school, but I don’t get the impression that it is known how much they do. Over March I interviewed 3 teachers who recently got funding from the PTA. From HFT, Miss Walls, who got funding for aprons and Ms Ross, who got funding for sewing machines and materials. From DT I interviewed Ms Forrest, who got money for an inkjet printer.
The first question I asked was what they bought with their funding and why.
Miss Walls :
“We asked for PTA funding so that we could buy some new aprons for the home economics department, so that every kid had access to an apron when cooking, because it’s a requirement that when they’re cooking they wear an apron, and our aprons had got a bit old and tatty, and we were getting to the point where the kids were going to have to bring their own aprons in, but not all kids have the money to do that. So, we asked for the PTA to fund us to buy new aprons for every classroom so that no kid was excluded from cooking.”
Ms Ross :
“I needed PTA funding for different materials and haberdashery for BGE, senior and sewing club, so that the pupils could get practicing on a variety of different fabrics using a variety of different techniques. So, we got money for that, and we asked for a couple of basic sewing machines, and the PTA came back with more than what we’d asked for, and better quality machines, which were digital.”
“Did that cost a lot of money?”
“Yes. It was definitely more than £1,200.”
Ms Forrest :
“We got a vinyl cutter with money from Mrs Campbell and the girls with the Faraday Challenge. We got money for a vinyl cutter and a heat press, so that we can do things like vinyl t-shirts, stickers, that kind of thing. But to do that, we needed a printer so that we could print out the stickers, so the PTA gave us the money to purchase a stand-alone inkjet printer and vinyl ink card. What we’re hoping to do with this space here is have a digital fabrication space, so we’ve got the laser-cutter that we can use for larger projects and we’re going to have the vinyl cutter, the printer and the easy-press so that we can have things like T-shirts and stickers. So it was through the PTA that we got money for that, but that is our thought for this space, it can be used by clubs, it can be used for fundraising, that kind of thing. That is basically where the money came from and why we wanted the money in the first place.”
I also asked about the benefits the teachers have seen from the funding.
Miss Walls :
“Every classroom has now got 25 brand-new aprons and they get used every day by a range of kids from S1 right up to S6. They are wipe-clean so it means that we can use them back to back and we don’t have to worry about them getting laundered or anything like that. Yeah, they get really well used.”
Ms Ross :
“It’s been good because we’ve been able to let the pupils learn on both manual and digital machines. It’s helped our senior phase pupils a lot because there’s been times where they’ve been able to have just those machines dedicated to them, but we’ve also allowed BGE (the S3 pupils) and the sewing club to use the machines. So they’ve benefited a lot from that, and it’s a quicker machine that can handle a bigger variety of fabrics in comparison to our manual machines.”
Ms Forrest :
“We can use it for clubs, we can use it for department work, and hopefully it’ll just start to generate a bit of cash. Basically, the plan is to start a wee club, so that we can get some of the junior school involved and we can maybe look at things like enterprise, and work on it from there. That’s what we hope; that this space is going to turn into some kind of digital fabrication room.”
I asked Ms Ross and Miss Walls about how they got their funding.
“I filled out a bid form and then I went along to the meeting and explained why I needed the aprons, and they approved it there and then.”
Ms Ross :
“Mr Farquar put out an email saying that if anyone wanted to bid for any money, there was a pot of money there, but you had to basically express why you needed the money, and what would be the benefits of that money. So, I applied to the PTA through email, they had a meeting and approved it a few weeks later.”
In my opinion, the thing that makes a school improve more than anything else is when school staff go well above the minimum of what they need to do and have a passion for getting students excited about school, whether it’s within or outside of the curriculum. The PTA is crucial in giving teachers an ability to improve the school. Thank you to all the teachers who took part, and to the PTA for giving the funding for things that can’t be justified on a tight department funding, but make all the difference in improving our school.