The school's volunteer policy is part of the school's safeguarding systems.
Volunteers / work experience placements at our schools bring with them a range of skills and experience that can enhance the learning opportunities of pupils. The Board of Governors therefore, welcomes and encourages all of these from the local community and students from our partner universities.
Our volunteers include:
- Members of the Governing Body
- Parents of pupils
- Students on work experience
- University students
- Ex-members of staff
- Local residents
- Friends of the school
The types of activities that volunteers and work experience placements engage in, on behalf of the school, include:
- Hearing pupils read
- Working with small groups of pupils to assist them in their learning
- Working alongside individual pupils, as an additional tutor
- Accompanying school visits
We also welcome visitors and students to our school.
Kent County Council and our schools are committed to safeguarding pupils, young people and vulnerable adults and expects its volunteers, visitors, students and those on work experience to share that commitment.
Anyone wishing to become a volunteer, either for a one off event such as a school visit or on a more regular basis, e.g. hearing pupils read, must approach the Class Teacher, Headteacher, Senior member of Staff directly.
Process for Volunteers who will be working frequently (once a week or more often on an ongoing basis) or intensively (three or more occasions in a 30 day period):
- The volunteer should attend the school for an informal discussion to ensure that they are suitable to volunteer within our schools
- An enhanced DBS check undertaken.
- The volunteer will be made aware of the role and responsibilities they will be undertaking.
- 2 references should be sought where the volunteer arrangement will continue on a regular basis.
- Induction- school policies and documentation will be explained. These to include Health and Safety, Behaviour Management Policies, Code of Conduct, Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Policy.
- Volunteers must complete and sign all appendices 1,2 and 3 before they start at either school
- Volunteer records to be kept in the school office
The school will seek DBS clearance for a volunteer before they come into school, to make an informed decision when accepting volunteers to work with children.
‘If a volunteer is engaged in a 'one-off' activity they are not required to have a DBS. However, any adult in this situation MUST be under the constant supervision of a member of staff and not be alone with a child / children at any time. Staff must be made aware of the volunteer’s status.
All adults /young people who work in our school, whether a paid member of staff, or a volunteer are expected to work and behave in such a way as to actively promote our school Vision, Beliefs, Objectives and Values.
Planned visitors to the school
All visitors to the school will be asked to provide formal identification at the time of their visit
- Where possible the school office/ reception staff should be informed of all pre-arranged visitors to the school;
- All visitors must report to the school office/ reception and should not attempt to enter the school via any other entrance;
- At reception, all visitors must state the purpose of their visit and who has invited them. They should be ready to produce formal identification.
- All visitors will be asked to sign the Visitors’ Record Book or automated sign-in (which is kept by the school office/ reception at all times), making note of their name, organisation, who they are visiting, car registration number and visitor badge number (where applicable);
- All visitors will be required to wear an identification badge; the badge must remain visible throughout their visit to our school;
- All visitors should read the “Safeguarding Information for Visitors” sheet to ensure that they are aware of whom the designated lead is for child protection and that any safeguarding concerns must be reported to them. Regular Visitors such as peripatetic music teachers or volunteer helpers will be issued with the “Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Induction Leaflet for Supply Teachers/Visitors” and asked to read it. This is kept in school office.
- Visitors will then be escorted to their point of contact OR their point of contact will be asked to come to the school office/ reception to receive the visitor. The contact will then be responsible for them while they are on site
- On departing the school, visitors should leave via the school office and:
- Enter their departure time in the Visitors’ Record Book alongside their arrival entry / automated sign out
- Return the identification badge to the school office/ reception
Please note: If a planned visitor fails to arrive with appropriate identification, they will not be permitted to have unsupervised contact with a child and may even be refused access.
Unknown/ unplanned visitors to the school
- Any visitor to the school site who is not wearing an identity badge should be challenged politely to enquire who they are and their business at the school;
- They should then be escorted to the school office/ reception to sign the Visitors’ Record Book and be issued with an identity badge.
- In the event that the visitor refuses to comply, they should be asked to leave the site immediately and the Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher (or the Teacher-in-Charge) should be informed promptly;
- The Headteacher / Assistant Headteacher (or the Teacher-in-Charge) will consider the situation and decide if it is necessary to inform the police;
- If an unknown / uninvited visitor becomes abusive or aggressive, they will be asked to leave the site immediately and warned that if they fail to leave the school grounds, police assistance will be called for.
Students will have their DBS checked by the office and a copy stored. They should wear their badge at all times and also sign appendices 2 and 3 as volunteers plus appendix 4 (ICT)
Work experience placements
If the student is under 16 then a DBS is not possible. If the student is going to be with either school for more than a one-off then they should sign appendices 1,2, and 3 and have a DBS check if old enough.
Data Protection and Information Security
All Visitors to the School must have due regard to confidentiality and data protection. The Data Protection Act 2018 applies to everyone connected to our School.
Volunteers / visitors will see children they know outside school in a different light. They may see different behaviour. They will see the range of ability in the class and what individuals can and cannot do. They will realise that some children learn quicker than others do. They will realise that some children have special needs and need more help. Some of this will come as a surprise. All of this must be kept confidential.
It is essential to never talk about your work in school in any detail, as other parents can probe you as to how their child is getting on compared to others, behaviour in the class etc. It is important that these things are not discussed at home with a partner especially when children are present. These have all caused problems at schools in the past.
Volunteers/ visitors / work experience and students in school are bound by a code of confidentiality. Any concerns that volunteers have about the pupils they work with/come into contact with should be voiced with the designated supervisor and NOT with the parents of the child/persons.
Volunteers who are concerned about anything in the school, which may affect their work should raise the matter with the Headteacher or appropriate senior member of staff. Any information gained at the school about a child or adult should remain confidential.
All volunteers/ students/ work experience placements work under the supervision of a teacher or full time member of staff. Teachers retain ultimate responsibility for pupils at all times, including the pupils' behaviour and the activity they are undertaking.
Volunteers / work experience should have clear guidance from the designated supervisor as to how an activity is carried out/what the expected outcome of an activity is. In the event of any query/problem regarding the pupil's understanding of a task, behaviour or their welfare, volunteers must seek further advice/guidance from their designated supervisor.
For Student teachers the supervision should be in line with their university protocol.
Health and Safety
The school has a Health & Safety Policy and this is made available to all working in the school. An appropriate member of staff will ensure that those in school are clear about emergency procedures (e.g. Fire Alarm Evacuation) and about any safety aspects associated with particular tasks (e.g. using D T equipment/accompanying pupils on visits). Care and attention is needed by all and it is everybody’s duty to report any obvious hazards or concerns to the designated Supervisor/Headteacher. Volunteers are covered by the schools indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.
The welfare of our pupils is paramount. To ensure the safety of our pupils, we adopt the following procedures: -
- All volunteers/ students / work experience placements are given a copy of the Volunteer Policy and asked to sign a Volunteer Agreement (Appendix 2) and safeguarding (Appendix 3)
- All of our regular volunteers/ work experience (if old enough) and students must have been cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). There may be a charge for this check.
- Where a volunteer is engaged in a 'one-off' activity e.g. helping supervise a group of pupils as part of a class visit, no formal checks are required, but they must never be left alone with a child / group of children and staff will be alerted that they are not DBS checked.
- Any concerns a volunteer has, about child protection issues, should be referred to the designated supervisor or Headteacher.
Everyone working in school with children are asked to adopt the same dress code as the teacher, which is smart/casual for everyday wear; no jeans, trainers (except when helping with a P.E. lesson) or inappropriately skimpy clothes. If you are going on a school trip, please discuss the clothing with your class teacher as we often wear more casual clothes ourselves on such occasions.
Mobile phones must not be used or seen in school unless during a lunchtime away from children. On no account can mobile phones be used for taking photos.
Any complaints made about a volunteer will be referred to the Headteacher or appropriate senior member of staff, for investigation. Any complaints made by a volunteer will be dealt with in the same way.
The Headteacher or designated member of staff reserves the right to take the following action-
- To speak with a volunteer about a breach of the Volunteer Agreement and seek reassurance that this will not happen again.
- Offer an alternative placement for a volunteer, e.g. helping with another activity or in another class.
- Based upon the facts identified in the investigation it may be necessary for the School to inform the volunteer that the school no longer wishes to use them.
- Provide the volunteer with a copy of the school's full Complaints Procedure.
Responsible Person: Headteacher
Responsible Governor Team: Full Governing Body
Approved by Governors: January 2022
Date due for review: January 2023