Volunteering in school
There are lots of ways you can help in school. What you will actually do depends on what is needed at the time and also on your own interests and skills. Whatever you do, we will get as much information and guidance as possible. You might:
- help in lessons such as art, knitting and games
- work with groups of children on work set by their teacher
- hear children read
- display children’s work
- set out and clear away equipment
- welly walks
- cover and repair books – the list is almost endless!
When you will help
Your help is welcome at just about any time during the school day; although if you would like to help in the afternoons this would be of most benefit to us.
Let the school know when you are available, but be realistic about what you offer. It’s usually best to start with a short time each week and then add to it if you find you have more time free. It doesn’t have to be a whole morning or a whole afternoon – an hour a week can be very helpful. Try to make it the same day and time each week. That makes it easier for you to remember and easier for the school to plan. If, for some reason, you can’t come to school as arranged, please let everybody know – giving as much notice as possible.
Working with Children
When you work with children at school, you will always be under the supervision of one of the teachers, who will let you know what we want you – and the children – to do.
Like all other adults in the school, you will have high expectations of children’s behaviour. The children should be courteous, use polite language and listen when others are speaking. Encourage them by praise and by setting a good example. If any child misbehaves, please make sure that the teacher is made aware.
You will be told about the school’s behaviour policy, which sets out what we expect of children and how we deal with them.
While you are helping in school, you will find out a lot of things about children and about other adults. Like all the other people working in school, you will have to keep such things confidential.
All school staff are in a position of trust and it is important not to break that trust. Even things that seem quite unimportant might be significant to someone, so the best rule is not to talk about things away from school. One way of looking at it is to think how you would feel about other people talking about your child or about you.
On the other hand, you do need to advise teachers about things you have noticed and done. Sometimes, teachers might even ask you to make a note of your observations of particular children. This can be especially useful in helping teachers to understand children’s progress and to plan future activities.
Health and Safety
Before anyone can help on a regular basis, the school must first process a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all adults working with children. Once this has been successfully cleared, you can begin helping in school.
It is essential that children and adults in school are safe at all times. There are procedures to make sure this happens. A lot of it is common sense, but you will be told of any particular hazards or safe practices. Everyone needs to know and understand these.
You should tell the school straight away if you become aware of anything that might be dangerous.