Parents Voice in Government School Education

Building participation and support

Why do parents join a Parent Club?

Most parents join a parent club because they are interested in their child’s education and wish to be informed about what is happening at the school and be involved in supporting the school. Other people will join the group for more personal reasons. Some may be wanting to meet other parents, to make new friends or are attracted to the feeling of belonging to a group. Others may have a specific area of interest or agenda or be interested in working to achieve something through a group that adds a sense of purpose to their lives. It’s important for the sake of the group that these needs and objectives are recognised.

Putting effort into the development of the group will assist the Parent Club to achieve its objectives.


In the early stages it’s very important to develop a friendly, welcoming atmosphere where people feel comfortable and able to participate fully. All members will bring different ideas and skills and it is important that each individual’s contributions are valued and utilised if possible. This will happen if meetings are well facilitated. Your group will need all the ideas, skills and support it can get. Encourage all members to have a say or speak up otherwise your group will be depriving itself of valuable contributions and support.

There are a number of things that will help a group develop:

Increasing numbers

Encourage the members you already have to ‘spread the word’ and to bring a friend along to the next meeting or event. People are more likely to ‘give something a go’ if their friend asks them, rather than just seeing a notice in a newsletter. If you have four people in your group and they each bring a friend, at the next meeting you’ll have eight! Coming along with a friend also makes it easier for people to approach a new group and feel welcome.

Keeping in touch

Once you start getting people involved you’ll want to keep them interested. Few parents have the freedom to attend meetings whenever they want, so it is important to keep people informed of what is happening even if they weren’t at the last meeting. Effective communication within the club should enable activities to be well co-ordinated and should ensure that all are able to participate effectively. Effective communication outside the club is equally important if the club is to continue growing and to build support for its actions and activities.

Read more about communication methods on our “Keeping in touch” page.