Your Council membership: Connecting you!

At Council, we put our members — ACT parent associations — at the centre of everything we do.

We connect you with the tools and skills you need to lead your P&C; connect you, through our representative work, with decision-makers in government; and connect you with each other!

Council

As the peak body for P&Cs, we’re here to help you run your association well. We hope to provide the resources needed to stop each of our 92 member associations reinvent the wheel! We also voice your views to the Education Directorate and ACT Government.

At the beginning of July, we sent out invoices for our membership fees to P&C treasurers, for payment by the end of August. Our fee structure will be up for discussion at our next General Meeting (August 24). If you have comments or concerns, we’d love to see you there.

As you are looking at the invoice, you might be wondering – how does your P&C benefit from your Council membership? Well, read on!

Help running your P&C

We have extensive information, advice and tips for P&Cs available on our website, covering everything from running good meetings to licensing your raffle, from collaborating with the school and principal, to promoting your P&C. 

Plus there are checklists to keep you on track.

“Your To Do check-list was wonderful for me this year.”

We also have a range of templates for you to pick up and customise so that you don’t have to invent your own. There are pictures and brochures to promote your P&C, sample hand-over notes, templates for meeting minutes, canteen contracts and COVID-safe plans.

 “I just wanted to thank you for the handover note templates in your recent newsletter. I will be handing over my Secretary role next year and this will save me time and effort trying to think about how to do it.”

AdviceQuote2019

Your membership also entitles your P&C volunteers to our free training courses. Each year, these focus on areas of greatest concerns to you—our members. For example, this year we’ve run training on growing your P&C, getting grants, employing staff and more!

“The grants workshop you held last year was both informative and inspirational. Since then I’ve been pleased to be able secure about $35,000 worth of grants for my son’s high school. So thanks for your role in that!”

We also offer advice, assistance and answers to your enquiries over the phone or by email. If you are finding the P&C hard going, or just have a quick question, do contact us. We also offer site visits and can attend your P&C meeting if needed.

“It has been a comfort knowing that I had the Council there if I needed advice. I really appreciate all Council have done for me personally and for the support that you give to P&Cs.”

Sharing expertise

We don’t have all the answers, and there’s an incredible wealth of expertise, skills and experience among our members, so we help  share that collective wisdom around. You can join our P&C Leaders Group on Facebook (a closed group) and put your questions to P&Cs across the ACT or come to our meetings and talk to others in a similar position to yourself.

“Many thanks to the Council for organising the monthly general meetings — great opportunity to meet people from other schools and discuss issues relevant to many.”

You can also join one of our groups on special topics (such as canteens, uniform shops or early learning) to ask the nitty gritty, or read articles sharing great work by P&Cs across Canberra.

“The Early Learning meetings are  informative and it is good to know there's support for EL activities.”

Insurance

Our group insurance scheme provides insurance for your parent association at reduced cost, and assistance in making sure you have the cover you need. During 2020 we also assisted P&Cs who would otherwise have been unable to pay their insurance due to financial hardship.

Keeping you informed

To help keep you in the know, ParentACTion magazine arrives each term. In addition, our fortnightly ebulletin, Council Communicator, distils must-know, timely, information for your committee — from rapidly changing COVID regulations to current grant opportunities or your reporting requirements to keep your association operating legally.

We also have guest speakers at our meetings who present information of interest to P&Cs, parents and carers. Recently, we’ve heard about school funding, improvements in the Education Directorate’s complaints handling processes, and school capacity and infrastructure planning. 

The parent voice

Problem at your school? Can you see ways in which schooling could be improved? We voice your concerns and represent the views of parents and carers to the Education Directorate and Minister through formal submissions to enquiries, via representative positions on many committees, and through regular meetings with the Minister and senior Directorate staff.

“Thank you… for putting together this submission to government. [It] clearly presents the issues that have been raised at Council meetings and discussions.”   

Here are just some of the issues which Council raised with the Minister for Education and senior Education Directorate staff on behalf of parents and our members in the past 12 months alone:

  • ACT school capacity and enrolments
  • complaints management processes
  • hazardous materials in ACT schools and informing parents
  • a range of school infrastructure concerns
  • continuing remote learning for vulnerable families and students with disabilities
  • safe-guarding school libraries and providing more school librarians
  • school psychologist shortages and problems with accessing them; wellbeing concerns particularly during COVID
  • relationships and sex education in schools
  • Early Childhood Strategy and transitions
  • Future of Education implementation
  • changes to school board elections
  • implementation of individual learning plans
  • inclusive education and suspensions
  • a framework for better parent engagement
  • fostering positive school-P&C relations
  • making P&Cs more visible in Directorate and school communications
  • composite and split student classes; teacher shortages
  • making voluntary contributions and bookpacks family friendly
  • how the trial of school breakfasts will impact P&Cs
  • canteen maintenance and waste needs
  • financial literacy in schools. 

This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 3, 2021.