Working with Children and Young People - Volunteers and Visitors (Interim) Policy

  1. What is this policy about?
    1. This policy affirms volunteering as a highly desirable part of the ACT public school system. Together with associated procedures and guidelines, the policy provides a framework to protect the rights of students to work and learn in a safe and well organised environment and reflects compliance with the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (the Act).
  2. Policy Statement
    1. ACT public schools value the benefits and enrichment that volunteers and visitors bring and will establish a school environment that welcomes and encourages their involvement in educational programs.
    2. Legislation, Directorate and school policies provide a framework for students to learn in a safe and positive educational environment.
    3. To support the diversity of activities involving students, visitors who receive some financial gain for their work may provide some services. Visitors may be either self-employed or work as an employee.
    4. Volunteers and visitors who work or have contact with children while taking part in certain regulated activities or services must be registered with the Office of Regulatory Services unless exempt under the Act.
    5. The Directorate recognises that volunteers can support schools in a number of ways without the need to be registered under the Act.
    6. Principals may decline the services of a volunteer.
    7. The supervision and management of educational programs involving volunteers is an important aspect of the daily function of school staff and is integral to the duty of care responsibilities of staff.
    8. Schools will support volunteers and visitors by providing clear advice on their roles and responsibilities in relation to policy and procedures, especially in relation to compliance with the Act.
    9. Schools will provide induction and training for volunteers and visitors as appropriate. This will include:
      • compliance with the Code of Conduct for Volunteers and Visitors
      • insurance arrangements for volunteers.
  3. Who does this policy apply to?
    1. This policy applies to all ACT public schools, principals, Directorate staff, students, parents, volunteers, visitors, local and wider community members.
  4. Context
    1. Schools are responsible for minimising risk to students and ensuring their safety and wellbeing.
    2. There is a traditional and positive relationship between volunteers, visitors and schools reflected across the preschool to secondary college sectors in a range of classroom enrichment and support activities.
    3. The benefits of volunteering include:
      • expanding social, cultural and educational outcomes for students
      • facilitating input of indigenous communities in ACT public education
      • enabling greater exposure to the socio-cultural and linguistic diversity that community resources bring to schools
      • increasing communication between ACT public schools and the community
      • providing schools with a broader resource base from which to draw in providing opportunities for excellence and innovation
      • enhancing community spirit and cohesion.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. The principal is responsible for implementing this policy in schools.
    2. The Directorate, in conjunction with schools will:
      • provide volunteers with information regarding their rights and responsibilities
      • provide training and support opportunities for staff with key supervisory roles for volunteers.
    3. Policy Owner: The Director, Governance and Assurance is responsible for this policy.
  6. Monitoring and Review
    1. The Policy Owner monitors the policy. This includes an annual scan of operation and review. A full review of the policy will be conducted within a three year period.
  7. Contact
    1. For support contact the Governance and Assurance Branch on (02) 6205 4379 or email det.legal.liaison@act.gov.au.
  8. Complaints
    1. Any concerns about the application of this procedure or the procedure itself, should be raised with:
  9. References
    1. Definitions
      • Duty of care: is the responsibility to exercise reasonable care to protect the safety of any students against injury that should reasonably have been foreseen. This duty exists whenever a student/teacher relationship exists, while students are on school premises during hours when the school is open and while on school based activities taking place elsewhere.
      • A parent: is a person having parental responsibility for the child under the Children and Young People Act 2008 including a carer appointed under that Act.
      • A supervisor: is a teacher or Directorate officer delegated by the principal to be responsible for educational programs or related activities.
      • A visitor: is a person from the wider community who provides services directly to students or in support of students for financial gain through a sponsoring or employing organisation, or are self-employed.
      • A volunteer: is a person who supports educational programs of schools either through direct contact with students or through school activities without financial gain or reward. They may volunteer either directly to a school as individuals or through the auspices of a community or other organisation.
    2. Legislation
      • Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 requires a person over the age of 16 years, both paid and unpaid, who has contact with children whilst engaging in a regulated activity to be registered with the Office of Regulatory Services, unless exempt under the provisions of the Act, and to carry a valid registration card. Regulated activities include child education services, childcare services, child accommodation, counselling and support services for children and commercial services for children.
      • The Information Privacy Act 2014 promotes the protection of individual privacy by regulating the handling the handling and management of personal information by ACT public sector agencies.
    3. Implementation Documents
    4. Related Policies and Information
      • Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect in ACT Public Schools Policy

Working with Children and Young People - Volunteers and Visitors (Interim) Policy: WWCUPVV201310 is the unique identifier of this document. It is the responsibility of the user to verify that this is the current and complete version of the document, available on the Directorate’s website at http://www.education.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/school_and_corporate_policies/A-Z.

Policy Identifier: WWCUPVV201310

Published: January 2016

Related Policies and Information:

  • Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect in ACT Public Schools Policy