I first became aware of PACCS, Parents Association of Communityand Comprehensive Schools over five years ago. My youngest daughter enrolled in Coolmine Community School and I joined their Parents Association. During this time I was involved in many facets of the Parents Association. I was a PACCS representative and also a member of the PACCS Executive. I was elected as a Parent Nominee to the Board of Management.

I am a director on the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) and was elected as President of PACCS earlier this year. The experience I gained through my involvement has given me a broad view of Community and Comprehensive Schools and the impact that
parents can make. Successful Parents Associations are the result of interest and teamwork. A prime example of this is demonstrated in Coolmine Community School, where the Parents Association operates a very successful and worthwhile Book Rental Scheme on behalf of school management. With their support this scheme is of great benefit to parents, students and teachers. Through awareness, success can be achieved.

At school level, the Parents Association must raise its profile and maintain a visible preference. A noticeable stand at parent/teacher meetings, school open days, 1st year review nights and other events in the school calender reinforces this. A parent newsletter and parent page on the school website can be very informative. The Parents Association AGM should be strongly promoted and advertised. Parents should witness the commitments of other parents. Quite simply parents supporting parents. While all parents are members of a school’s Parents Association, the Executive members change annually. Experienced parents leave and new parents should be encouraged to join. Making contact and talking to Parents Associations in local feeder schools is an ideal way to recruit new members.

The role of the PACCS is to support Parents Associations. Currently there are 95 Community and Comprehensive Schools. We have begun the process of contacting the Parents Association in each school so that parents can be made aware of the help and support available to them. Therefore establishing up to date contact details is essential. PACCS also has its part to play on NPCPP, where four parents are Directors. This reinforces the participation of parents as partners in education.

Ms Eileen Salmon, General Secretary of ACCS, addressed the PACCS AGM on 7th March last, the theme of which was ‘School Life Balance’. She outlined what ACCS wanted for parents. She encouraged parents to play an active role in their children’s education. As we move towards the new school year, we ask for the continued assistance of school Principals and Management. We, as parents, place great value on your work and efforts. An enthusiastic and committed Parents Association can be a valuable resource within schools. PACCS recognises the support of ACCS over the years, and welcomes the opportunity of working together in the future.

Article taken from ACCS Newsletter No. 1 2015/2016