Students' interests at heart: P&C committees nothing to do with NSW 'rabble'

PARENTS and Citizens (P and C) committees in Orange are distancing themselves from allegations of bullying and in-fighting within the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW.

P and C committees are vitally important to schools, provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, and operate relatively autonomously from the troubled state body, according to Orange High School P and C president Keith Lummis. 

In fact, the Orange High School P and C recently raised about $325,000 for a music centre and classroom technology for the school.

Mr Lummis said P and C committees paid affiliation fees to the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW to cover insurance, but the groups had little else to do with the organisation.

Last year the government froze the federation’s annual funding, saying it urgently needed to deal with infighting in the organisation.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli described the federation as “a rabble” and planned to introduce legislation to force the peak body to change. 

However, Mr Lummis does not agree  with radical reform of the system. 

“I think the organisation is a great body and any organisation can have problems ... I’m certainly happy to be part of it,” he said. 

Mr Lummis believes the P and C should not have a greater say on teaching curriculums, staffing or funding allocations, despite groups raising substantial funds for school improvements. 

“We’re happy to be consulted,” he said. 

Bletchington Public School principal Craig Booth agreed P and C associations  would not be affected by the controversy surrounding the federation.

He said P and C committees meant far more to schools than providing a means to fundraise. 

“In our case the school’s mission statement is “Working Together”, through collaborative decision making and contribution, to help the leadership team set school priorities each year, as an example,” he said. 

“We have a Parents Club, which is a sub-group of P&C, who manage the clothing pool and run things like school banking.”

Mr Lummis said the group was always looking for new members and would recommend participation to anyone who had anything constructive to add, whether they had a child at the school or not.

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