Join Your P&C Association


What is a P&C Association?

Parents and Citizens' (P&C) Associations are organisations that exist in almost every public school in New South Wales. They bring the school and the community into close cooperation.
P&C Associations have existed for 150 years in one form or another. They are recognised by Act of Parliament as the representative voice of parents with children in public schools. They are supported at a state level by the Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of New South Wales and nationally by the Australian Council of State School Organisations.
What is new is that we now know that joining the P&C at your children's school can make a significant difference to their educational outcomes.

Why should I join the P&C?
Recent research has shown that the vital ingredient for student learning is parental participation. Understanding school is a pre-requisite for success. Children cannot be expected to understand the complicated school process without help and support from their parents. Parents must see the education process in action, help to formulate programs and identify and respond to student needs in order to fully understand the great changes that have taken place in schools in the last few decades.

In government schools there are legislated guarantees for parent participation. Parents are entitled to get complete information about their children's progress as well as about the courses and educational programs on offer at the school. They also have a right to know and participate in the development of plans and policies for running of the school. These plans and policies cover such areas as the school's approach to student welfare and discipline, finance, excursions and many others. De- spite their legal rights not all parents know how to obtain this information even when they get help from the school.

This level of knowledge, understanding and participation is available to every parent who join their local P&C Association.
Will I have to raise money?

P&C Associations are not required to raise money but for many Associations fundraising continues to be an important part of their activities.
Each year, parent volunteers raise around $50 million in cash for government schools and contribute an immeasurable amount in direct labour as well. These funds are often raised through activities such as barbecues, cake stalls and competitions. However, as people have much less time and are less willing to spend their precious free hours away from their families, new ways of doing things are emerging.

Do I have to attend all meetings?

Most P&C Associations meet once a month. Decisions can only be made by the agreement of a majority of members so meetings remain an important part of P&C procedure. It is not essential that members attend every meeting, but regular attendance is the best way to find out what is happening.
It will also ensure that decisions are carried out and funds are spent according to the wishes of the majority.
If not many people attend meetings, doesn't that indicate a lack of interest?

It is a mistake to judge the strength of a P&C by the number of people who attend meetings.

New patterns of family life, employment and leisure activities have led to competing demands for valuable time. This reflects social change, not lack of interest.
The P&C coordinates activities such as covering books for the library, help with reading programs, support with sporting functions and excursions. Besides this P&C members are part of the decision making process on many of the school committees such as school finance, welfare and literacy. Thus the P&C creates the opening for parent participation in the school.

P&C Associations that affiliate with the Federation have automatic public liability cover and personal accident insurance for voluntary workers who participate in P&C activities is an optional insurance available to P&C Associations through the Federation's insurance program.

Many associations are establishing electronic communications networks, email news groups and telephone links for those who can't attend meetings. These, together with newsletters, ensure parents are fully informed and their opinions are heard.
How do I find out more?

Ask your principal for the time and place of your school's regular P&C meeting, and how to contact the P&C Executive.
Public schools continue to provide excellent education in a setting which encourages community participation. Public schools are often the focus of  their communities. P&C Associations reflect this community focus and provide opportunities to enjoy, learn and communicate with parents and others interested in the education of children.

The P&C is open to everyone, parents, caregiver, grandparents, teachers, students and member of the whole community. By working together people who care can make a difference.
Crucially, P&C Associations allow parents and caregivers the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of a child's education. Parental participation in the education process is the most important gift a child can receive.
For any information about meeting practice, insurance, speakers and parent support contact the:

          Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of New South Wales
          Locked Bag 40, Granville, 2142
          Telephone: 1300 885 982
          Fax: 1800 655 866
          Email: mail@pandc.org.au 
          Internet: www.pandc.org.au