2 What benefits do volunteers bring to the school? They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from past work and raising their own childrenThey help access different culturesThere is an increased opportunity for socialisationSome people have experience working with people with a disabilityThey provide access to other community partnershipsThey raise the school profile in the communityIt provides us with a way of training future employees
3 What do they do? They could: Assist students with literacy, numeracy, academic and technology activities, push students on bikes, support our students in the pool, help our students to shop, cook and garden, massage students, support them in music and art classes, teach dance, visit the local library, help cover books, enable students to participate in work crews and work experience, assist with meal times, play with the students in the playground and park.
4 Who are they? High school students on work experience Young parents Retired peopleCasual or part time workersFull time workers in their lunch breakWork placement students for Cert 111 and 1V from TAFEUnemployed people looking for experience in the workplace
5 How long do they work? Some come for 1 hour each week Some come for 2 days each week. (We don’t allow volunteers to come for more than 2 days per week)Some have worked with us for 10 years, most for more than 3 years and some people only last a month or so.
6 Are there benefits for the volunteers? Our volunteers must enjoy the experience because they remain committed to usThey tell me they:Enjoy the company of the stafflove to see improvement over timeCan see the difference they make in each students lifeFeel that their day has an important purposeEnjoy having something different to talk about at homeKnow the teachers could not offer the same activities if they were not there and that the students would not be as healthy or happyKnow that it is too expensive for the government to fund 1:1 staffLearn a lot and feel that they are growing as a personEnjoy the exerciseWant to do something for others because they have enjoyed such privileged livesGain new skills that might help them get a job in this field.It is like a family
7 How do we manage the volunteers? InitialOngoingEvaluation/feedbackSpecial, (e.g. sickness, family trauma)
8 Initial We have an over riding philosophy: We believe that our community is extremely supportive of us. If someone comes to us to offer their services as a volunteer and they comply with the Working with Children Check, we almost always say “yes”. This means that some of our volunteers have a disability, or they may be elderly, or they may be recovering from a personal event. We will do our best to make them feel valued.
9 Letting people know we need volunteers We put an add in the local newspaper (Appendix 2)We mention our volunteers in our news page that goes in the news paper every 6 weeksWe ask our volunteers and staff to recruitThe Principal does formal presentations to local clubs and groups about our schoolPeople see our teams working in the community and ask how they can become involved.
10 Signing them upOnce the volunteer decides that they do want to work with us it is time to exchange some details so that clear communication can be established. See (Appendix 3, 4 and 5)It is vitally important that the Principal’s Checklist and Working With Children Declaration are completed.
11 Working with Children Checks or Prohibitive persons checks. This is given as a package when a person has approached us to volunteer, has done the walk through with the principal and has decided that they do in fact want to volunteer with us. (Appendix 3 – includes working with Children Procedures for Principals, Declaration and Working with Children Principal’s Checklist) Appendix 6 is the Induction Booklet
12 How to fit the volunteer into your weekly schedule Our volunteers are often busy people. They may be unable to fit in with our needs, for example we may need someone on a Monday but they work on a Monday. We find a place for them - we don’t turn them away.Most volunteers are here to do whatever we need them to do.Some have injuries that mean that they can’t do certain activitiesSome come with certain skills, such as massage, teaching experience or musical abilities.In addition I ask them:What days are you free to work with us?How many hours can you spare to work with us?“Ok - on those days during that time, these are the activities that we can offer you” – or – “At that time I need someone to help with cooking, lunch time preparation and bike riding. How do you feel about that?”If they have a certain skill that they want to use, we will work together to try to utilise this asset.
13 Do the teachers have a say? Having a community member in a classroom is a big ask. A teacher is on public display. Any little mistake is witnessed, every failure of the lesson preparation is evident. Some teachers just don’t want to put themselves in this situation, and ultimately this has to be discussed and the teachers opinions valued, otherwise the volunteer will not feel welcome and the benefits are not realised. Plus you will have a stressed out, resentful staff member.HOWEVERIf a teacher can take the risk, if they have the confidence to make mistakes in public and if they really want to implement individual learning plans the benefits are clear, not only for the students and volunteers, but for the teacher and SLSO as well.
14 Working with the teacher and School Learning Support Officer Discuss the various levels of responsibility that a teacher has:To their classTo their schoolTo their communityTo the Department of Education and CommunityThis is important because any volunteer program has to be flexible and this requires a great degree of flexibility on the teachers part. They need to see the big picture.
15 The Department of Education and Community Mandates Individual Education plans for students in support classesThese may be easier to implement with the help of volunteers
16 The communityOur parents and carers expect their children to be engaged in their learning.They expect that the activities that they participate in are meaningful to themSome community members want to be involved in schools. They have skills and experience that is useful in a school setting, but they need to be free to live their lives and create a balance of their choosing
17 The SchoolWe have a team of volunteers who want to work with our children, but they might miss some daysWe often have students away, and so we need to shuffle some classes to give students the best learning opportunity.Some activities need more volunteers than others.Every day there are unforseen events that impact on classes, volunteers and activities.
18 The classroomThe teacher or SLSO lets the principal know if they need a volunteerThe Principal approaches the teacher if a volunteer is available at a specific time or if they have a specific skill they want to use. The teacher can decline the offer.If a volunteer is not needed because of absent students, they teacher may send them to another classroom or tell the principal to use them in another setting.If the class is not functioning well with this particular volunteer the teacher needs to tell the Principal.
19 Induction and Training Each volunteer is given an induction booklet (See Appendix 6) and the issues of confidentiality and WH&W are discussed.At that point specific training is offered to the volunteer at a time that suits. (See appendix 7). Most prefer to learn their skills in the classroom.Discuss with them what to do if they can not attend on the dayDiscuss with them the issues that may arise if they bring unexpected visitors to the school.
20 On going ManagementIf the class is not functioning better with a particular volunteer the Principal needs to be toldIf there is a personal conflict with the volunteer and a staff member or student the principal needs to be toldThe volunteer must be encouraged to let the principal know if the situation is not working well for them. They can do this by:Talking to someone on staff including the principalPutting a note in the feedback boxCompleting the on line feedback form on the school webpage. (see Appendix 8)
21 What to do if someone is just not suited to the task. Our teachers priority is the students. They can not be distracted by volunteers who, despite some weeks of training are not able to work productively in a given setting or who fail to attend and give no notice.The teachers pass this information on to the principal and they negotiate a position that will suit both.
22 What if the volunteer is on extended holiday or sick? We work around this. Staff are informed on the notice board and volunteers are assured that they are not letting us down.Students write cards, visit the person if they are on a community outing and the principal makes contact. Post cards are exchanged and the person is treated like the valued member of our school community that they are.
23 Ensuring the volunteers feel valued We provide badges with the volunteers namesWe offer a cheery “hello” when they arriveWe give them small gifts and certificates of appreciationThey share our staff room and common room where we provide free tea and coffee and chat with them to get to know them betterWe invite them to special events, like open days, presentation nights and formalsWe ask their opinion and give them time to learn.We thank them for their help both privately and publicly.
24 How do we know if our volunteers do feel valued? The principal speaks to them regularly and asks “do you know how important you are to us?”If a staff member is concerned about this they will ask the principal to find out if the volunteer is happy with what they are doingIf someone stops coming, the principal or other staff member should contact them.Volunteers are asked to complete a feed back sheet every term. (see Appendix 8)They are issued with name tags (Appendix 9)
25 Generating feedbackA general and informal atmosphere of informal discussion is encouraged. It’s best to seek the feedback “ I hope I didn’t offend you then, but the student seemed in distress” rather than ignore a possible slight.Staff, parent/carer, student and volunteer feedback sheets are always available to be completed when ever the need arises. (See Appendix 10,11 and 12)On line feedback is available through the schools web page.
26 TimetablingStaff need to know who to expect in their classrooms and activities. This is done in 3 ways:A volunteer list. This changes all the time, but when needed it is up-dated (See Appendix 13)The daily timetable This tells staff who is doing what, with whom. It includes the volunteers names.If a volunteer is away, their name goes up on the daily notices board.
27 EvaluationEach staff member, volunteer , parent and student needs to know that the program is in a constant state of improvement.They need to know that they can safely provide feedback via:Face to face discussionPen and paper evaluation (Appendix 37)On line evaluation via the schools web page
28 How does the Volunteer know what to do? This depends on the activity they are working on.The next slides provide details for each of the Key learning areas K- 12The volunteer generally works with the same student unless they are away
29 English/literacyConsider using a literacy bag that is packed by the classroom teacher at the beginning of each weekAll the resources needed are in the bagAppendix 12 provides a program of planned literacy activities for students from K-12 with a moderate or severe intellectual disability.These are aligned with the Literacy continuum
30 Maths/numeracyConsider using a numeracy bag that is packed by the classroom teacher at the beginning of each weekAll the resources needed are in the bagAppendix 13 provides a program of planned numeracy activities for students from K-12 with a moderate or severe intellectual disability.These are aligned with the numeracy continuum.
31 PDHPE Swimming – See Appendix 16 Bike riding – see Appendix 17 Community sport – See Appendix 18Sensory (Appendix 19)Community Events (Appendix 20)Playground Support (Appendix 21)
32 Human Society and Its Environment Shopping (Appendix 22)Town Library visits (Appendix 23)Work Crews (Appendix 24)Student Volunteers(Appendix 25)Visiting the park (Appendix 26)
33 Science Gardening (Appendix 27) Cooking (Appendix 28) Cleaning the fish tank 29)Meal times (Appendix 30)
34 Creative and Performing Arts Art (Appendix 31)Music (Appendix 32)Assembly (Appendix 33)Technology (Appendix 34)Woodwork (Appendix 35)Volunteers Toolkit (Appendix 36)Evaluation (Appendix 37)
36 How do volunteers know what NOT to do? These instructions are clearly noted in the induction booklet and again in the Volunteers Toolkit ( Appendix 34)They must not change students nappies, they must not shower, bathe or remove students underwear,They must not lift students or use electric wheelchairsThey must not take the students out of the school grounds without a staff member.They must not work alone with students.
37 Contact us if you would like more information. Contact our Principal Sheryl BruffeyPhone: