Newly appointed PTA Chair, Claire Lane, describes her experiences a few days after launching PTAsocial at her school.
Tell us about your school
It’s a 420-pupil community primary school in St Albans, Hertfordshire with an active PTA. We don’t use Class Reps but have a committed group of around 86 Friends of the PTA.
How did you launch PTAsocial?
Our committee first tried the free version to see how it worked. We then decided to upgrade*, and started setting up our events on PTAsocial. This week, we sent out an announcement email and then started inviting the ‘Friends’. We also put a register button on our school website, and published the link on Twitter and Facebook too. Just to cover all bases, we are also going to invite the rest of the school via bulk email uploads.
* PTAsocial used to be free for up to 10 members, but is now totally free, supported by ads.
What was the reaction this week?
I will admit I was quite nervous about trying something so new in the run up to a large event which raises so much money – our Christmas Fair – but so far I am thrilled by the response.
People started signing up straight away and I have had no questions at all about how the system works as it is so intuitive. In fact one person said to me they weren’t sure their offer to volunteer went through as it was so quick – but it did, it’s just that simple! 3 days later, 169 of our 265 volunteer slots are filled (64%)!
Was it well-received by the school parents?
Yes, I had some great feedback, such as:
“PTAsocial is fab. I love it! Really good idea. There’s no pressure, you just do what you can. Very organised ”
“I think PTAsocial is fantastic – you’ve done a brilliant job.”
How much effort is involved in setting up PTAsocial?
It has been a bit of work to set up the initial events, it took a day or two. But now that work is done we can copy events across and tweak them as needed. We have started to add events in for the rest of the year and parents have already started to volunteer for these without even being asked!
Why use PTAsocial over traditional methods?
Normally parents would have received a letter by email, would have to print it and bring it back to school. We’d then have to pick up all the slips, put them into a spreadsheet, juggle time slots, etc. Instead, with PTAsocial, we had most of our volunteer slots filled in a few days, and everyone could see exactly who was doing what. This is so efficient!
We have had the odd little hiccup as you might expect when something is new, but nothing that can’t be easily solved, and Tes has been really patient with our questions and quick to help out, and has supported us throughout the whole process.
Would you recommend PTAsocial to other parent associations?
I would totally recommend PTAsocial to other associations. You don’t have to be techie in the slightest to use it, it’s completely intuitive, so don’t let that put you off!