Sociology students will be well aware that pupils in state schools in more affluent areas do better, on average, than their peers in schools in less privileged areas. There are, of course, a number of different reasons for this.
One factor that is perhaps not widely discussed is the role played by Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs). Parent volunteers in PTAs perform many tasks: helping out on school trips, running after-school clubs for sport, music or drama, or organising meetings of parents to discuss issues such as a change in the school curriculum, or ways to combat bullying. They have also become increasingly important in fundraising. Traditionally, parents in PTAs organise fêtes, jumble sales or other events, and the money raised helps to provide ‘extras’ for the school, such as art supplies, new books for the library, playground equipment, a class outing, or similar.
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