Can our Parent Forum be the Parent Council?

Q:

We are quite a small school with only 34 families. It has been suggested that we have all the parents automatically on the Parent Council as well as the Parent Forum. Would this be a sensible move?

A:

You may be interested to know that many small schools include everyone on the Parent Council.  The Parental Involvement Act requires the recognition of a Parent Forum - all the parents/carers with children at the school - and it is up to the Forum whether they would like to set up a Parent Council to run business on their behalf. Obviously, in a large school with several hundred parents, it would be impossible to run anything if everyone had to come to meetings.  However, in a small school it could well ease communications if the Forum essentially is the Parent Council.  This would still mean it would be possible to set up smaller groups for specific activities. For example, you could have a group to run social/fundraising events, a group to run activities and clubs and a group to manage communication, look at consultations or policies. These groups could then report back to the main Parent Council. Big issues, like the school policy on bullying, would still be discussed by the main Parent Council. One final point - whether you have all the parents involved or simply have a small Parent Council, someone (or more than one person on a shared basis) still has to take on the role of chairperson, in order to some shape and leadership to the organisation. Useful leaflet: What is a Parent Council?