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Dear prospective volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at St Nicolas School; we appreciate all extra help offered by our school community. As you will appreciate, the safety of pupils remains our top priority, and due to changes in requirements all regular volunteers will need to undergo a number of checks before they start with us. These include a brief registration form, a disqualification declaration form, and a DBS check; these will be explained further below.

To help you decide if you wish to proceed as a volunteer we have put together some ‘frequently asked questions’; I hope these are useful in helping you make your decision.

Who can volunteer?

We are happy to consider anyone, whether they are already part of the school community (parents/carers, grandparents, other relatives, governors) or anyone who would like to share a particular skill. If you child is new to the school, we ask that you wait at least half a term before volunteering so that she/he has time to settle in.

What do I do if I want to help in school?

Please complete and return the attached document below to the school office and provide original photo ID (passport or photo driving licence). Tell us what you can offer the school, whether it is a particular skill (e.g. music, art, science, languages) or general classroom support.

What will I do in school?

There are lots of ways you can help in school – listening to children read, preparing resources, supporting children directly with their learning, etc. What you will actually do depends on what is needed at the time, and on your own interests and skills. When you work with children at school you will always be under the supervision of a member of staff, who will let you know what we want you and the children to do.

How will I know what I can and can’t do in school?

We will provide you with a ‘Volunteer’s Handbook’ that will help to guide you. Staff are always willing to give advice.

How often will I be able to help?

This is negotiable between you and the school. We prefer volunteers to make a longer-term commitment, e.g. once a week for a morning/afternoon for a term or longer. This means that teachers can take you into account when planning, and pupils know that you will be there.

Can I help on school trips?

If we are unable to meet suitable adult:pupil ratios with staff, we welcome voluntary support on school trips. Our regular volunteers are particular welcome, as they have checks in place on their suitability to work with children.

Why do I have to be checked, and what checks are carried out?

As mentioned above, the safety and welfare of our children is our top priority; it is also a Department for Education requirement that certain checks are carried out to assess staff, governors and volunteers’ suitability to work with children. We hope, therefore, that you will understand the requirement for these checks. The process will be carried out in the strictest confidence. There are some useful policies below for your information.

The checks we carry out are:

  • Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) – this checks the applicant’s criminal record. If certain offences are registered it means that you would be unable to volunteer in school; some offences need not prevent your voluntary work, but would be discussed with the Headteacher.
  • List 99 – this is a list of people barred from working with children
  • Disqualification declaration - The Childcare Act 2006 and the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 place requirements on schools to ensure that individuals working with children – and those living in the individual’s household – have not been cautioned or convicted of certain offences, and to check the status regarding other child-related matters.

If you decide to proceed with voluntary work in school, please complete the attached form to start the process, if you have any questions at all contact the school office.