That's enough fairies, I'm hanging up my wand : OPINION

This autumn I will be stepping down after three years as chair of my son's school parent teacher association when he moves on to pastures new.

I'll do it with a mixture of regret and relief. Regret at saying goodbye to some great people and a lot of laughs but relief at having one less thing to cram into a packed life.

We've raised thousands over these past three years. We've held bonfire parties, quiz nights, dances, jumble sales, fetes and what are laughingly called crazy nights - obstacle courses for the insane.

We've bought a fiction library, construction kits, play equipment, an alarm system, musical instruments and subsidised days of school trips.

I've haggled over prices, chased someone we thought had nicked a dinner service from our jumble sale, translated for Mr Crayola when no one could hear him through his breathing mesh when he opened the school fete, and dressed up as a fairy to open it myself when we couldn't get anyone else.

I've spent whole days with others collecting stuff from houses for the school bonfire and my back has creaked throughout November. I've blanched at the sight of unwashed underwear donated to one of our jumbles.

Our committee has grown to 17 in number, 16 of them women. As support has increased, we've reformulated our constitution and registered with the Charities Commission.

But should I have been doing it? My little boy goes to a school where a lot of the parents have the money, time, energy and, thankfully, the desire, to help at or buy tickets for the PTA events.

In the big town 10 miles away there are schools that don't even have PTAs. Most of the pupils are Asian and many of their mothers are not culturally programmed to run hot dog discos.

In other schools, much bigger than ours, PTAs struggle to make anything like we do because parents and the wider local population are unemployed or on low incomes.

Which means the haves receive more and the have nots less. Not fair is it? Poorer schools like that get a bit more from government standard spending assessments than we probably do, but then they need it. They have problems we don't.

Our school can squeak through this year's budget cuts because all those little "extras" - such as blinds to make the new mobile classroom tolerable on a bright summer's day, or new books for the library, or cash to hire the coaches to take children on trips directly connected to the national curriculum - will be supplied by the PTA.

In other schools, where financial support from parents is thin on the ground, at least some of the money will have to come out of the school budget or the things won't get bought or happen.

It is, of course, illegal for us to raise money for any item that by law should be funded by the school via the budget delegated by the local authority, and we don't. But plenty of the things we pay for lead to an enrichment of the national curriculum that is delivered to our children.

All of which leads us to the inescapable fact that as long as we fund education at a level which means that too many classes are overcrowded, too many buildings neglected and too many children with special needs made to wait too long for too little, there will be people who will dress up as fairies and smile as they serve hot dogs in the rain so that their kids' schools can get that little bit more.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border