Statutory guidance on the recruitment of a volunteer
Best Choice Training will regard the DfE statutory guidance, ‘Safeguarding children and safer recruitment’, which states that if a school seeking volunteers has little or no recent knowledge of the individual, it should adopt the same recruitment measures as it would for paid staff.
- In circumstances where a staff approaches a parent volunteer who is well known to the school, a streamlined procedure can be adopted: background checks, references, conducting an informal interview to gauge the person’s ability and aptitude, and undertaking a List 99 and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
- If the volunteer’s role is a one-off, such as accompanying teachers /assessors and pupils on a day trip, for a school fete or concert, measures are not required, as long as the person is not left alone in charge of children.
- If the volunteer is recruited by another organisation to work in a school, for instance, sports coaches from a local club, the school should receive assurance from the organisation that the person has been properly vetted.
Safeguarding children and child protection
Depending on the extent of the volunteering role as stated above, volunteers may be asked to fill out a DBS and declaration form. This is standard practice for anyone in regular contact and / or in a position of trust with children. Any criminal convictions must be declared.
In September 2012, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Criminal Records
Bureau (CRB) merged functions to create a new Disclosure and Barring Service. The law requires any persons who will come into unsupervised regular contact with children in any of the following capacities to undertake a DBS check:
- Care for or supervise children.
- Provide advice / guidance on well-being.
- Drive a vehicle only for children.
- Personal care for a child.
- Child-minding / foster care.
The minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a DBS check is 16 years old.
Volunteers will no longer be subject to a DBS check as they are no longer in regulated activity. Regulated activity is where a person provides unsupervised activity of more than 4 times in a 30 day period.
Welfare and Safety of Volunteers and Pupils
BCT wants to make sure activities are planned properly and safely, and that you are informed of these plans. We strive to ensure that you have access to a member of school staff, should you wish to discuss difficulties or report on issues that may arise. All staff, visitors and volunteers are required to be identified and located at all times. For this reason, please make sure the following process is adhered to:
- Make sure you sign in and out of the building at the office / reception.
- Wear the visitor’s badge at all times.
- Please let the contact person be aware of where you are working.
Volunteers need to be aware of the following policies and procedures:
All aspects of Trent’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.
- BCT’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure.
- BCT’s Complaints Policy and Procedure.
- BCT’s Equal Opportunities Policy and Policy.
- BCT’s Behaviour Policy.
- BCT’s Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure.
Health & Safety
Volunteers are required to comply with the Centre’s Health and Safety Policy. They should be made aware of emergency procedures (e.g. evacuation) and safety aspects of being involved in a particular task (e.g. while in a cookery class).
Any potential hazard which you may feel might put people at risk of injury or harm must be reported straight away to the class teacher / Quality Lead.
Volunteers are required to inform the centre, before 8.00 a.m., if you are unable to attend when you are expected. If you are called away in the event of an emergency while volunteering, please let the class teacher / office know before you leave the premises.
Volunteers are reminded that all information on individual pupils and members of staff is confidential and that the sharing of data is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998. They are not permitted to discuss children’s or staff member’s issues with other professionals in the school. Volunteers who break this confidentiality rule will be asked to leave.
There may be instances where volunteers MUST pass information to the Operations Manager or mentor. These include incidents where the child is bullied or when a child discloses he or she is being harmed in any way. Volunteers are advised not to report this to the child’s parents / carers and inform the mentor as soon as possible.
Internet use and social networking
Volunteers are expected to behave in an ethical and lawful manner with regard to the use of the internet and emails. Care and attention should be taken while using social networking sites. Use of these sites should not involve communication regarding your employment at this school or any activities which may bring the centre into disrepute and / or may cause us to question your suitability to work with children.
Volunteers must not attempt to contact pupils via social media or email, or make arrangements to meet outside of centre.
At BCT, we do not tolerate discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, race, ethnic background, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or marital, social or financial status.
All volunteers are required to make a commitment to this policy and treat everyone with respect at all times.
Code of conduct for volunteers
Volunteers are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour and conduct while involved in activities at centre. The following is a guide to appropriate conduct while working in or on behalf of the centre (including school trips, residential visits and out of centre/ school activities).
- Observe the high standards of behaviour and ethical conduct mandated by the centre.
- Respect other volunteers, members of staff and pupils, and make them feel valued.
- Be approachable, pleasant and be a positive role model for pupils.
- Adhere to all centre policies. For example: Child Protection, Health and Safety, Anti-Bullying, Behaviour Policy etc.
- Maintain confidentiality of personal information at all times, unless there is a need to report something.
- Treat all children and members of staff equally.
- Report any incident of bad behaviour to the class teacher immediately.
- Dress and behave in a manner which promotes healthy and safe working practices.
- Accept and follow directions from your supervising staff member and seek guidance through clarification where you may be uncertain of tasks or requirements.
- Observe safe working practices which avoid unnecessary risks, apply reasonable instructions given by supervisors, and report to the supervising staff member any potential hazard in the workplace.
- Avoid waste or extravagance and make proper use of the resources of the centre.
- Conduct your work in a co-operative manner.
- Turn your mobile phone off while you are on BCT premises.
- Sign an E Safety Agreement form.
You should never
- Tell a child off. As a volunteer, you are not expected to discipline children. If there are any problems, tell the class teacher straight away and he or she will deal with the situation.
- Shout, hit, threaten or manhandle a child.
- Take photographs in school without the prior permission of the Operation Manager.
- Develop ‘personal’ or sexual relationships with pupils.
Work with children when you are not in the proper physical or emotional state to do so. For example:
- under medication which makes you drowsy, or under extreme stress which may impair your judgement.
- Behave in an illegal, improper or unsafe manner. For example: smoking or drinking alcohol.
- Share your personal contact details with pupils or make personal arrangements to meet children outside school. This includes all social media, eg Facebook and Instagram.
- Discriminate favourably or unfavourably towards a child.
- Make inappropriate jokes or remarks of a sexual, racial, intimidating, discriminatory or offensive nature.
- Behave in a manner which may bring the centre into disrepute when representing the centre.
- Give or receive (other than ‘token’) gifts, unless arranged through your Operation Manager, for example, outgrown sports kit, football boots or uniform. These would be given to the centre, for the centre to distribute accordingly.