What does your local P&F do?

Now that many schools have introduced a P & F Levy to take the pressure off fundraising, some parents are now asking what does P & F do?
The old mentality of P & F is only about fundraising needs to be changed.
One of the ways to do this is to sit down and look at the many areas in your school that parents contribute to. This may be anything from parents who come to the classroom to assist with activities like reading, art, Physical Education and many other things. Parents also often assist with sport activities from coaching to washing football gear. They also help in Tuckshops, Uniform shops and book shops.
These are some of the things but there are also the organised P & F activities. These can often be put into groups of activities. These might be Social – including welcome BBQs, wine and cheese nights, state of origin nights, class dinners etc. – anything that brings parents together for a fun time and to get to know other parents and form community. Another might be Pastoral activities – a very important part of community – these might include a casserole bank to assist families with disruptions eg Births, deaths, illness etc., lifts to school in some cases, sending sympathy cards where appropriate etc.
Three areas which overlap are resourcing, financing and fundraising. Whilst they go together there are some separate activities which could be spelt out eg resourcing – providing ‘things’ for classrooms or the whole school generally (books, art supplies, desks, shade sails, music equipment etc), Financing – Pay for buses to take students to activities or camps etc., fund extra music or choir lessons etc., Fundraising – fetes, art shows, Mothers’ or Fathers’ day stalls etc. The Environment of your school is also an area where parents often contribute eg Working bees, Painting, Sandpits etc.
The most important activities are those that involve parents in the curriculum and learning and teaching at the school. This might involve participation in discussions about these areas but also providing parent information or education evening where parents can spend time learning about what their children are doing at school and having some input into the decisions that are made. These might also include some evening with a speaker on parenting issues – everyone wants tips on how to be a better parent and learn more skills in handling situations as they occur.
This is now quite a list that you can share with the whole school community and you can then build on this by asking those parents who have little or no involvement to get involved in one of these areas and thereby building a school community that is active and involved.