Freshwaters Primary Academy, in School Lane, Harlow, has done away with the traditional PTA where parents are given set roles and instead invited any parents with ideas to benefit the school to get involved.
Parent Champions are encouraged to inspire their children to do their very best by becoming involved in their school.
Each volunteer must complete an application form, submit a reference and have an interview with the head before being accepted.
Marios Solomonides, head of the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust school, said: “When children see their parents involved in school, they realise it’s an important place.
“We are asking any parents with a skill to come and share that with the children, whether that be for a one-off or on a regular basis. We have had parents cooking with children, reading and doing crafts. We are trying to step away from the very rigid idea of what parents do at school and giving them the freedom to share their ideas and expertise for the benefit of the children and whole school.”
Mum Sam Batt, whose son Peter is in Year 5, is a Parent Champion who is not only helping to raise funds for the school, but is improving her own life to inspire her son to do well.
She said: “Three years ago, we hit rock bottom. I was ill and we lost two close relatives. Peter could not concentrate at school and did not want to do anything. If the school had not noticed there was something troubling him, he would have got into trouble and been kicked out of school. He was offered bereavement counselling and really opened up.
“We have both turned our lives around, thanks to the school’s support. It has been life-changing and there is no going back. I have built my confidence back up through working with the school. To have their backing is just amazing.”
At a recent coffee morning, Miss Batt held a raffle with high quality prizes she had collected from businesses around Harlow. The event raised £378.56 for the school, Harlow Foodbank and Macmillan.
Mr Solomonides said: “I have always said we can do everything we are capable of, but unless the parents are also doing something positive, situations are never going to change.
“Miss Batt is a prime example where we have hardly had to do anything extra with her son as he is seeing his mum really trying for herself and for him and so that is inspiring him to do well. When Peter grows up and has a family of his own, their lives will be completely different because of the effort Miss Batt is putting in now to break the cycle.
“She is amazing.”
Parent Champions will get perks such as being invited to events which parents are not usually included in due to space restrictions.
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