Spotlight On: Queenwood Parents' Association

13 August 2018

This article first appeared in Queenwood News Weekly 10 August 2018.

I have been fortunate in my time at Queenwood to have worked with three very supportive Presidents of the Queenwood Parents’ Association and their effective and enthusiastic colleagues on the committee.

We are assisted in many practical ways by the QPA, which organises social events, actively welcomes new families into our community, provides practical services like second-hand uniform sales, raises funds for equipment and programs, offers assistance for school events and provides us with a useful sounding board.

I suspect that I don’t need to elaborate on the nature of this support as its value is self-evident. At my regular meeting with the QPA committee earlier this week, however, we had an interesting discussion about things from a parent’s point of view. The first point was how they came to be involved.

In my experience, some parents come into the school determined to dive in (may their tribe increase!), but many others have not thought about getting involved or, if they have, assume that they lack either the knowledge or the time to do so. In some cases, willing parents have been burnt at a previous school because they volunteered to help with the fete for one year and five years later found themselves stuck in the role because they couldn’t find a successor!

The QPA has carefully adapted its structures to eliminate these barriers. Parents who are willing to consider getting involved are invited to work alongside the person currently in the role to learn the ropes. This provides a ‘taster’, minimises the workload and ensures that when the time comes they have a smooth handover, with no need to reinvent the wheel from year to year. After 12 months in the role itself, they in turn hand over to the next person so no-one gets stranded with a job they don’t want.

Around half of our QPA committee are working parents. Meetings are in the evenings once or twice a term and most of the work can be done at home and out of hours. This kind of flexibility means that we have a good spread of mothers and fathers, including those who work full-time. Our Year Reps are similarly varied, and the senior staff and myself meet with them each term to update them on school events and field any questions. We find this invaluable in keeping communication flowing, and appreciate the shared understanding and goals that emerge.

So if you’re interested you can get involved, but why would you? There is no doubt that our parents are motivated to make things better for our girls, but I asked the committee on Wednesday night what they themselves get out of their involvement:

I’m one of those people who wants to be part of the solution – I feel like it’s a way I can make a difference.

I like the candid conversations we can have with Ms Stone and the senior staff. Over time you get a deeper understanding of the School’s philosophy and how it approaches things.

I’ve only just started coming and it’s helped me to understand how the operations of the whole school work.

I feel more connected to the school. It helps makes sense of how things are done.

Everyone around the table was adamant that their role was not to drive policy changes, but to facilitate and strengthen the parents’ partnership with the school. We are fortunate indeed to have a steady flow of sensible, competent and generous parents to help us; and as Principal, I fully appreciate the support they provide to me personally.

If you have any interest or would like to know more, I hope you will drop a line to or contact your year’s parent representative. To read more about the QPA, please click here.

Ms Elizabeth Stone