Volunteers Policy (2022)


Purpose

 

To outline the processes that Laburnum Primary School will follow to recruit, screen, supervise and manage volunteers to provide a child safe environment, and to explain the legal rights of volunteers.

 

Scope

 

This policy applies to the recruitment, screening, supervision and management of all people who volunteer at our school.

 

Definitions

 

Child-connected work: work authorised by the school governing authority/provider of a school boarding services and performed by an adult in a school or school boarding premises environment while children are present or reasonably expected to be present.

Child-related work: work that usually involves direct contact (including in person, over the phone, written and online communication) with a child that is a central part of that person’s duties. It does not include work that involves occasional contact with children that is incidental to the work.

Closely related family member: parent, carer, parent/carer’s spouse or domestic partner, stepparent, parent/carer’s mother or father in-law, grandparent, uncle or aunt, brother or sister, including step or half siblings.

Volunteer worker: A volunteer school worker is a person who voluntarily engages in school work or approved community work without payment or reward.

School work: School work means:

  • Carrying out the functions of a school council
  • Any activity carried out for the welfare of a school, by the school council, any parents’ club or association or any other body organised to promote the welfare of the school
  • Any activity carried out for the welfare of the school at the request of the principal or school council
  • Providing assistance in the work of any school or kindergarten
  • Attending meetings in relation to government schools convened by any organisation which receives government financial support

This is a broad definition and means that volunteers who participate in school community activities, such as fundraising and assisting with excursions, are legally protected (ie indemnified) from action by others in the event of an injury or accident whilst they are performing volunteer school work in good faith.

 

Policy

 

Laburnum Primary School is committed to implementing and following practices which protect the safety and wellbeing of children and our staff and volunteers. Laburnum Primary School also recognises the valuable contribution that volunteers provide to our school community and the work that we do.

 

The procedures set out below are designed to ensure that Laburnum Primary School’s volunteers are suitable to work with children and are well-placed to make a positive contribution to our school community.

 

Becoming a volunteer

 

Anyone wishing to become a volunteer, either for a one-off event or on a more regular basis, should approach their child’s class teacher, the Principal or the Assistant Principal.  Before starting in school and to ensure the safety of our pupils at all times, all volunteers will be required to complete a Working with Children Clearance (WWCC) permit except where exemptions may apply. WWCC Forms can be obtained online here.

 

All volunteers should be aware of this Volunteer Policy and appropriate training that is available, where relevant.

 

COVID-19 vaccination information

 

Our school follows Department of Education and Training policy with respect to the requirements relating to attendance on school sites and COVID-19 vaccinations.

 

For further information, refer to:

Suitability checks including Working with Children Clearances 

 

Working with students

 

Laburnum Primary School values the many volunteers that assist in our classrooms, with sporting events, camps, excursions, school concerts and other events and programs.  To ensure that we are meeting our legal obligations under the Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic) and the Child Safe Standards, Laburnum Primary School is required to undertake suitability checks which may include a Working with Children Clearance. Additional suitability checks may also be required depending on the volunteer role, such as reference proof of identity, qualification and work history involving children checks.

 

Considering our legal obligations, and our commitment to ensuring that Laburnum Primary School is a child safe environment, we will require volunteers to obtain a WWC Clearance and produce their valid card to the office for verification in the following circumstances:

  • Volunteers who are not parent/family members of any student at the school are required to have a WWC Clearance if they are engaged in child-related work regardless of whether they are being supervised.
  • Parent/family volunteers who are assisting with any classroom or school activities involving direct contact with children in circumstances where the volunteer’s child is not participating, or does not ordinarily participate in, the activity.
  • Parent/family volunteers who assist with excursions (including swimming), camps and similar events, regardless of whether their own child is participating or not.
  • Parent/family volunteers who regularly assist in school activities, regardless of whether their own child is participating or not
  • Parent/community School Council members sitting on School Council with student School Council members, regardless of whether their own child is a student member or not

In addition, depending on the nature of the volunteer work, our school may ask the volunteer to provide other suitability checks at its discretion (for example, references, work history involving children and/or qualifications). Proof of identity may also be required in some circumstances.

 

Non child-related work

 

On some occasions, parents and other members of the school community may volunteer to do work that is not child-related. For example, working bees or maintenance on weekends during which children will not be, or would not reasonably be expected to be, present.

 

At Laburnum Primary School, volunteers for this type of work will still be required to provide a valid WWC Clearance.

School council members and volunteers on any sub-committee of school council may be asked to provide a valid WWC Check. Whilst we acknowledge that these volunteers will not be engaging in child-related work as part of their role, even when there is a student sitting on the school council, we believe that it is important that our volunteers who are involved in making important decisions about our school, which have an impact on students, do have a valid WWC Check.

 

Training and induction

 

Under the Child Safe Standards volunteers must have an appropriate induction and training in child safety and wellbeing.

To support us to maintain a child safe environment, before engaging in any work where children are present or reasonable likely to be present, volunteers must familiarise themselves with the policies, procedures and code of conduct referred to on our website and ensure the actions and requirements in these documents are followed when volunteering for our school.

 

Depending on the nature and responsibilities of their role, Laburnum Primary School may also require volunteers to complete additional child safety training.

 

Management and Supervision

 

Volunteer workers will be expected to comply with any reasonable direction of the principal (or their nominee). This will include the requirement to follow our school’s policies, including, but not limited to our Child Safety Policy our Child Safety Code of Conduct and our Statement of Values and School Philosophy.

 

Volunteer workers will also be expected to act consistently with Department of Education and Training policies, to the extent that they apply to volunteer workers, including the Department’s policies relating to Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Workplace Bullying.

 

The principal (or their nominee) will determine the level of school staff supervision required for volunteers, depending on the type of work being performed, and with a focus on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students.

 

The principal has the discretion to make a decision about the ongoing suitability of a volunteer worker and may determine at any time whether or not a person is suitable to volunteer at Laburnum Primary School.

 

Privacy and information-sharing

 

Volunteers must ensure that any student information they become aware of because of their volunteer work is managed sensitively and in accordance with the Schools’ Privacy Policy and the Department’s policy on Privacy and Information Sharing.

 

Under these policies, student information can and should be shared with relevant school staff to:

  • support the student’s education, wellbeing and health;
  • reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to the student, other students, staff or visitors;
  • make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the student’s disability; or
  • provide a safe and secure workplace.

Volunteers must immediately report any child safety concerns that they become aware of to a member of staff to ensure appropriate action. There are some circumstances where volunteers may also be obliged to disclose information to authorities outside of the school such as to Victoria Police. For further information on child safety responding and reporting obligations refer to: Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy and Procedures.

 

Records management

 

While it is unlikely volunteers will be responsible for any school records during their volunteer work, any school records that volunteers are responsible for must be provided to the Principal to ensure they are managed in accordance with the Department’s policy: Records Management – Schools.

 

Compensation

 

Personal injury

Volunteer workers are covered by the Department of Education and Training’s Workers Compensation Policy if they suffer personal injury in the course of engaging in school work.

Property damage

If a volunteer worker suffers damage to their property in the course of carrying out school work, the Minister (or delegate) may authorise such compensation as they consider reasonable in the circumstances. Claims of this nature should be directed to the principal, who will direct them to the Department’s Legal Division.

Public liability insurance

The Department of Education and Training’s public liability insurance policy applies when a volunteer worker engaged in school work is legally liable for:

  • a claim for bodily injury to a third party
  • damage to or the destruction of a third party’s property.

Communication:

 

This policy will be communicated to our school community in the following ways:

  • Included in staff induction processes
  • Available publicly on our school’s website
  • Discussed at parent information nights/sessions as required
  • Made available in hard copy from school administration upon request

All of these are available on our Planning and Policies page:

  • Statement of Values
  • Visitors Policy
  • Child Safety Policy
  • Child Safety Code of Conduct
  • Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures
  • Inclusion and Diversity Policy

Department policies:

 

Policy Review & Approval

 

 

  Policy last reviewed

 

  June 2022

 

  Consultation

 

  School Council consultation - June 2022

 

  Approved by

 

  Principal

 

  Next scheduled review date

 

  June 2024

 

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