Information for Volunteers
Volunteers are an integral part of our school. Your participation in the work of the school is greatly appreciated and valued. While the welfare of our students is our highest priority, we want to do everything possible to ensure your involvement is a rewarding experience. The following introductory information is provided to ensure that we exercise our responsibility for the safety of our students, and to strengthen our partnership with you.
Some volunteers in public schools, preschools and early childhood services require screening. The type of screening you need depends on your role and your interactions with children.
Volunteers who have close contact with students, eg: sports coaches, LAP volunteers, canteen volunteers, and those who assist at camps or similar activities will require a DCSI Clearance.
If you are unsure as to whether you require a DCSI Clearance, please click on this link to complete a short survey https://www.decd.sa.gov.au/working-decd/relevant-history-screening/screening-tool.
If the survey requests a DCSI Clearance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a link will be sent to you to complete. The school will cover the cost of this clearance for any school based volunteer role.
Information about training offered by the department can be found on www.tandd.sa.edu.au/tand
Training in mandatory notification and other matters is provided by the South Australian Association of School Parents’ Clubs:www.nexus.edu.au/Associations/SAASPC/SAASPC.htm Other useful sites include www.parenting.sa.gov.au and www.napcan.org.au.
WHS – Being on our School Grounds
Due to Work Health Safety guidelines the school’s administrative staff are required to know who is in the school at any one time, especially in case of emergency. You will be required to ‘sign in’ at the front office, and ‘sign out’ on your departure. Our automated system will print a name badge to verify your ability to be on the school grounds.
We expect students to treat you with respect and courtesy at all times. If students behave inappropriately, you should tell them that the behaviour is offensive or inappropriate. If the behaviour persists, please seek help from the supervising staff member or senior staff.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Schools must comply with Information Privacy Principles regarding the use and release of information. Any personal information (including names, addresses, telephone numbers, circumstances or situations of any nature) about students, staff and volunteers that you become aware of during your volunteer work must not be shared, unless it is required by law eg it is relevant for reporting alleged child abuse. Refer all requests for access to files and records to the supervising teacher. Please refrain from making any comments about the use of individual teaching methodologies or student behaviour management methods.
Conversations with Students
Remember that you are acting as a role model to the students who observe you. Your language and topics of conversation should be above reproach.
Being alone with Students
You should be within sight of a member of staff when working with an individual student. Do not shut or lock a door so that you are in a room alone with a student. You will not be required to mind a class in the absence of a teacher.
Please use the staff toilets, and do not enter toilets allocated for student use.
If a student is injured or ill, please advise the supervising teacher or front office as soon as possible. Our first aid officer or other staff member will provide first aid/comfort to an injured or distressed student, and contact parents if necessary.
Please refrain from unnecessarily touching students unless there is a genuine emergency.
Mandatory Notification of Child Abuse
Under the Children’s Protection Act, 1993, as a volunteer you are obliged by law to notify Family and Youth Services (FAYS) if you suspect that a child (under the age of 18) has been abused or neglected. This is done by telephoning the Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478. Failure to notify suspected child abuse or neglect is an offence and carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine.
If you observe someone who works with children eg teacher, SSO, sports coach, or volunteer, acting in an inappropriate manner, telephone FAYS. Do not question those involved as this could compromise an investigation. The law does not require that you prove your suspicions, but it does require that you report your suspicions. Consult the principal or member of senior staff for advice if you feel the need.
Definitions of abuse:
Physical Abuse – ‘Physical abuse is any physical injury inflicted upon a child.’
Sexual Abuse – ‘Sexual abuse is any sexual behaviour imposed on a child.’
Emotional Abuse – ‘Emotional abuse is a chronic attitude or behaviour towards a child which is detrimental to or impairs the child’s emotional and/or physical development.’
Neglect – ‘Neglect refers to any serious omission or commission by a person which jeopardises or impairs the child’s physical, intellectual or emotional development.’
Sexual, Racist Harassment, and Bullying
Under the Equal Opportunity Act, 1984, it is unlawful to subject a student, a fellow employee or volunteer worker to sexual or racist harassment.
The principal or senior staff will investigate any reports of sexual or racist harassment or bullying. We also have staff who will maintain confidentiality, listen sympathetically and explain the complaint procedures to you. The staff representatives to contact are the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare staff representative or a member of our Personnel Advisory Committee.
Harassment and bullying consist of acts or behaviours which are directed against individuals or groups and which are experienced as insulting, offensive, demeaning, humiliating or intimidating. It can include belittling comments, ridicule, graffiti, name-calling, put-down jokes, attacks on property, exclusion, and physical violence.
Occupational Health Safety and Welfare
The school is responsible for providing a safe working environment. You are asked to take reasonable responsibility for your own health and safety, and avoid the possibility of an accident or injury while you are at the school. Special care is needed when lifting heavy objects. Do not be involved in any activity which is likely to put you, a student or anyone else at risk. Please familiarise yourself with emergency procedures for evacuation, and report all injuries and accidents occurring whilst at the school, to office staff as soon as possible. Further information is available in the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Manual, located in the front office.
Smoking is not permitted in buildings at all, and not on school grounds during school hours.
The Volunteers Protection Act, 2001, protects volunteers from being sued for an act or omission done or made in good faith and without recklessness while carrying out volunteer duties. The department manages claims for out-of-pocket expenses arising from personal injury sustained by volunteers in schools. Further information is available from the principal or department’s Administrative Instructions and Guidelines.
Policies and guidelines
A range of policies and documents concerning the school’s operations can be found in the front office, and on the department’s web site http://www.schools.sa.gov.au There are some situations where volunteers may be required to have a Police Check completed. Staff will notify you if this is applicable.