Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
of the British School in Tokyo (BST)
All parents are members of the PTA automatically by way of their children’s enrolment at the school. The PTA supports BST’s activities by looking to enhance the BST students’ experience of studying and living in Japan. We also welcome new families to BST, nurture a sense of community within BST and raise funds to support each of these objectives. Our aim is to fulfill these commitments in a fun, rewarding and positive environment.
The PTA is guided by an Executive Committee comprised of parents, teachers and other staff. The PTA elects a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to serve two-year terms. Whilst the PTA has an Executive Committee, we encourage all parents to participate throughout the school year in the many activities and events that the PTA organises to enrich the BST community. It is important to us that parents feel they have a voice in how the school is supported. Come and have your say at the PTA meetings!
PTA activities and events include:
- Friday coffee mornings sponsored by the PTA and organised by our multi-talented School Librarian and master baker, Mr. Steven
- New joiner and other welcome events at which many PTA parents provide support and valuable information to new families
- Student-centric Winter Wonderland and Christmas discos and other events
- School-wide picnics in Yoyogi Park, generally in September and June of each school year
- Secondhand uniform sales and
- Book / ski sales
The PTA also supports parents who come together to organise the annual Spring Fair with the help of sponsors in the local community. Whilst Spring Fair is the key fundraising event for the PTA, its main purpose is to bring together BST students, their families and the BST staff for a fun and memorable day out.
All funds raised across the school year are funneled back into the school through a bid system that invites bids from BST staff, students and parents alike (a description of the bid rules can be found here), to pay for items that enrich the school community. Bid meetings take place twice a year, generally in May and in November. Parents are encouraged to attend, to help decide on which items add the most value to life at BST.
Some of the items that the PTA (and therefore every parent) has supported in the last few school years include the overhaul of Primary classroom reading books, purchase of 3-D printers, Virtual Reality equipment and materials, vinyl cutters and design materials, DJ equipment for after-school clubs, wall mirrors for the gym and a new Year 3 football kit, and funding of expanded Secondary parent coffee meetings and author visits to support the School’s reading curriculum.
Communication between the school and BST parents is further aided by an amazing class parent network.
Brief descriptions of the key PTA Executive Committee positions and committees for key events held across the school year are listed below.
PTA Executive Committee Handbook is downloadable here.
- Chair – Exercises general supervision over PTA activities, ensures there is a team responsible for each activity (i.e. is not personally responsible for all PTA activities), leads each PTA meeting (~2-3 per school term) and each bid meeting (~ 2 per school year, generally in November and May), drafts a short message when appropriate for the Lion newsletter circulated on Fridays.
- Vice Chair – Supports all Executive Committee members, particularly the Chair, in performing their roles. At any time the Chair is unable to fulfill their duties, the Vice Chair takes over the relevant responsibilities of the Chair.
- Treasurer – Maintains the financial records of the PTA and oversees the administration of PTA funds (including preparing the annual PTA budget, paying invoices and reimbursing expenses, where appropriate), controls the PTA bank account and pays the upkeep bills (such as utilities) on the PTA room located near BST, provides a brief update on the PTA’s finances at PTA meetings.
- Secretary – Organises PTA meetings and maintains PTA records by recording key decisions, including drafting the meeting agenda and taking minutes, drafts a work-in-progress PTA activity calendar at the beginning of each school year which is then discussed and approved / amended at PTA meetings. A draft of the 2016/7 calendar will be available for discussion at the final PTA meeting of the school year on June 13th.
- Welcome Activities (newcomers) – Matches newcomers and buddies with help of BST Communications, arranges three (one at the beginning of each term) Welcome Brunch/Lunch and Welcome to Tokyo presentations
- Parent Social Activities – Arranges two parent drinks per school term which entails liaising with venue on offering and pricing, coordinating design of poster and drink tickets with BST Communications, marketing and selling of tickets in run up to event
- Family Social Activities – Arranges Welcome Back and End of Year Picnics which entails arranging entertainment for students (e.g. SupaGaijin, face painting, football, etc.), coordinating design of poster with BST Communications, marketing the event, setting up banner at Yoyogi Park
- Christmas Activities – Coordinates decoration of Shibuya and Showa reception areas, coordinates Winter Wonderland for Shibuya primary and Disco for Years 4 – 6, liaises with Secondary on their plans and how the PTA can help (note: Secondary plan their own event which is then fully or partially funded by the PTA)
- PTA Tours – Plan and lead periodic tours around Tokyo for BST parents and friends
- Spring Fair Coordinator – Coordinates annual community and fundraising event with the help of much larger committee, a manual with example timelines and guidance has been created to help with this role
- Second Hand Uniform Sales – Sorts through donated clothing and separates items appropriate for resale, conducts sales (~2 per term to coincide with new joiners and change in seasonal uniform requirements)
- PTA Storage Room Manager – Ensures (with the help of others) the PTA room is tidied after Christmas and Spring Fair, pulls out/puts away Christmas decorations
- Book/Other Sales – Coordinates date with the Library and Communications, donation of items, sorting and display of items on day of sale, collection of money in sale, transportation of items from and back to PTA room with help of maintenance.
The PTA’s main aim is to support BST throughout the school year. If you are interested in joining the Executive Committee or one of the other named committees or general volunteering opportunities, please contact [firstname.lastname@example.org].
If you are a prospective parent and have questions regarding the PTA, please contact [welcome-PTA@bst.ac.jp].