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Placement and Support of Volunteers in Schools

Placing volunteers 

  • The Fieldworker’s first contact with the new recruits is at one of the training sessions and there will be an opportunity to discuss with the Co-ordinator the suitability of the candidate.
  • Training sessions are a great opportunity to get to know the volunteers, particularly the ones each Fieldworker is going to be supporting. It will be a lot easier to deal with any problems if the Fieldworkers have developed a good relationship with them and they feel able to contact their own Fieldworker with any problems.
  • If the placement can proceed, the Fieldworkers will phone the new recruits after the completion of training to ask if they would like to continue.
  • Using the volunteer introduction plan (P1) the Fieldworker will arrange the date and time of the introductory visit with the volunteer and the Head teacher.

Paperwork for placements

  • P2 Letter to Head Teacher confirming appointment – CRB received.
  • P3 Letter to Head Teacher confirming appointment – CRB not received
  • P4 Children’s details
  • P5 CRB declaration
  • P6 Information sheet for teacher
  • P7 Volunteer’s details for office
  • P8 Staffroom information
  • VP14 Agreement (see VP&P)

At this meeting the Fieldworker will:

  • Arrange the days and times of the weekly visits ensuring they do not clash with other activities such as swimming or that there are enough places to work if other volunteers are in school at the same time.
  • Ensure that the place to work is reasonable and that the volunteer has no physical difficulties that will dictate where they are able to work. Care should be taken to investigate availability of suitable places to work, taking into consideration timetabled use of various spaces by staff.
  • Introduce the volunteer to the school secretary and make sure that arrangements are in place for the first day.
  • See Volunteer Policy for further induction details.

Supporting new volunteers

  • The Field worker will give the volunteer the ABC to read handbook containing useful information including their telephone number as the volunteers’ first point of contact. A telephone call after the first session is always welcome – anxieties can be discussed and even if, as usually happens, everything has gone well, it is good to be able to share the experience.
  • When the volunteers have had several sessions in school their Fieldworker will contact them to arrange a visit to each of them in school. This visit should be carried out before the follow up training session at the end of the term so that any difficulties can be addressed beforehand. A brief record should be made of every school visit.
  • On completion of a successful trial placement and attendance at the follow up session, ABC to read volunteer status will be confirmed. (VP15)
  • Volunteers unable to attend the follow up session for any reason will be recalled during the next term. The placement will not be confirmed until this session has been completed.
  • When the Fieldworker contacts the volunteers to arrange visits they should always be asked if there are any problems or if they need any extra books and games.
  • The Fieldworker should allow time at the beginning, middle or end of the visit for discussion. Ideally the end is better because of anything which may have arisen during the visit. However, if this is not possible and something does arise, the Fieldworker should phone the volunteer to arrange to visit again at a mutually convenient time to discuss the issue.
  • Fieldworkers should make a brief factual report on school visits which should avoid any personal comments about the volunteers. Any concerns should be discussed with the Coordinator.
  • Every volunteer will be visited during the term following placement but Fieldworkers should always visit if requested by the volunteer or if closer supervision seems necessary.
  • After these first two visits to a new volunteer, the Fieldworker will then re-visit annually.
  • Every volunteer should be visited at least once a year regardless of their length of service.

Liaison with schools

  • Fieldworkers should look for opportunities to meet Head Teachers and staff during their visits to volunteers even if only briefly. For this reason they should always telephone the school before visiting. As well being a courtesy it gives staff an opportunity to make time to meet them. The Fieldworker is the ‘face’ of the organisation and should get to know as many staff as possible.
  • Each school file contains visit reports (P8); agreements (VP14) and school details forms (P9) as well as any other relevant information. The Fieldworker should inform the Coordinator of any changes so that the files are kept up to date.
  • An annual evaluation of the impact of ABC to read volunteers is undertaken during the summer term. Teachers are requested to complete a monitoring form for each child receiving help. (P10)