The Role of Parents Associations

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Anna Meehan, Chairperson, Abbey Vocational School Parents Association.

Parents Associations (PAs) play an important role in the life of our school communities but what does this involve? In this blog Anna Meehan, the Chairperson of our Abbey Vocational School Parents Association, tells us more about it. 

The PA of the Abbey Vocational School is a body of motivated and inspiring parents/guardians who enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with the Principal, teaching and overall staff in support of our school.

Involvement on the PA is affirming for the students, who recognise that their families support and appreciate the work of the school.

The PA seeks to be representative, but there is always room for initiatives that would make it even more representative of the wider school population.

The work of the PA is to support the activities of the school, particularly in raising funds to allow the school to deliver extracurricular opportunities such as sporting, music or drama activities.

The PA also plays a role in relaying general concerns of parents/guardians and raising them with the Principal and staff representatives; conversely the PA is regularly invited to advise on or participate in the development of policies for the school in various areas such as mobile phone usage or uniform choices for example.

The PA is regularly asked to suggest guest speakers or specialists based on what the needs of their children are. It also participates in information nights for other parents/guardians, particularly for incoming First Years.

The importance of the PA lies in its ability to liaise and engage the wider parent/guardian body within the school – this is both informally through the organisation of refreshments and also through opportunities for parents/guardians to feel very welcome to school events such as homecoming for various student successes, and formally through the meetings/minutes processes.

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Abbey Vocational School logo.

One of the most important events for the PA in the Abbey Vocational School is running the Mock Interviews for all Leaving Certificate students each year. Working with over two hundred local businesses and professionals in a wide variety of areas, students are given the experience of a formal specialist interview process in their chosen field. The organisation of this event is arduous and time consuming but the value of it is massive. The school Guidance Counsellors and Management are instrumental in making this event the success it is. The value of this experience is regularly noted by students and employers.

The work of this PA has traditionally been very effective, while being part of a fun and dynamic group. I myself was attracted to becoming a member of the PA as I knew the committee had such a positive and supportive drive, and that the school equally engaged with great positivity with the committee. As this year’s Chairperson I want to acknowledge how the other members of the committee make my task so much easier than it could be, particularly Anne McGowan who is the current Secretary.

Over the last two years when all activities of any kind became so challenging due to the pandemic, the committee pivoted to online and still managed to represent the views and concerns of parents and guardians while also supporting the school in their many challenges to maintain high standards of delivery and care for all students.

As life returns to normal we look forward to the many events and opportunities to work with the school, supporting the wide tapestry of activities that make the Abbey Vocational School one we are all so proud of.