A Parents and Citizens’ Association (P&C Association) is a school-based organisation consisting of parents, teachers and interested citizens. P&C Associations exist in almost every Public School in NSW. They are created to bring the school and the community into close cooperation.
Parent-school organisations have existed for 150 years in one form or another. They are a great tradition and have long been recognised by Act of Parliament as the representative voice of parents with children in Public Schools. They are supported at a state level by the Federation of P&C Associations of NSW and nationally by the Australian Council of State School Organisations.
Parent-school groups play a vital role in:
- Facilitating cooperation between the students, teachers and community;
- Providing facilities and equipment for the school;
- Encouraging parent participation in curriculum and other education issues;
- Sharing information to benefit the school community;
- Advocating for local educational improvements; and
- Promoting Public Education.
The reason P&C Associations have continued to thrive in Public Schools is because parents have seen how joining the P&C Association at their children’s school makes a significant difference to educational outcomes.
Research has shown that the vital ingredient for students’ engagement and learning is parental participation. In Public Schools there are legislated guarantees for parent participation. Parents are entitled to receive complete information about their children’s progress as well as the courses and educational programs on offer at the school. They also have a right to know and participate in the development of plans and policies for the running of the school. These include the school’s approach to student welfare and discipline, finance, excursions and many others. These rights exist because the government has recognised the importance of parental involvement and understanding in the educational process. However, on their own, many parents do not know their rights or understand how to use them effectively.
Our school’s P&C promotes active involvement and information sharing for all parents who join our school’s P&C. Joining our school’s P&C provides parents with opportunities to understand the machinations of how our school operates, as well as providing a support network for parents and carers during their child’s school life.
As decisions can only be made by the agreement of a majority of members, meetings are an important part of P&C procedures. Members do not need to attend every meeting, although regular attendance is the best way to find out what is happening in our school. It will also ensure that decisions are carried out and funds are spent according to the wishes of the majority. Decisions get made by those who turn up!
Our association has established electronic communications networks for parents who can’t attend regular meetings. These, together with the school’s fortnightly newsletter and website, ensure that parents are fully informed.
Even though P&C Associations are not required to raise money, fundraising is an important part of our activities. Each year in NSW parent volunteers raise around $30 million in cash for Government Schools and contribute an immeasurable amount in direct labour as well.
Our school’s P&C Association raises funds for projects within the school that benefit all students. Our fundraising efforts allow parents to make positive changes within our school on a quicker timetable than waiting for the government to provide these items to schools.
Our P&C is open to everyone: parents, caregivers, grandparents, teachers, students and members of the whole community. By working together, people who care can make a difference.