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Volunteering at your Children's School

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 12 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Volunteering At Your Children's School

Volunteering at your children’s school is a great way to get involved in the activities which they take part in and therefore be a part of that area of their lives. However, you must tread carefully, as, depending on the child, it could be a potential embarrassment for them. The best place to start volunteering is at primary school. Your younger children are less likely to be embarrassed by a parent’s presence in their school and may even really enjoy it. Parent volunteers can also be useful at secondary school but it may be worth talking it over with your child first to establish exactly what they are comfortable with you doing.

What Can You Do?

What you can do as a volunteer at your children’s school is dependent on what your particular skills are. Most people can help with things such as listening to children read and being a helper on school trips. But if you want to get involved with school sport and fitness it may be that the school deems it necessary for you to have some kind of coaching experience. If you are involved with any sport yourself, you may be able to find out where you can take a level one coaching certificate. The scope for volunteering then becomes far greater. If it is an unusual sport, the school may be grateful for the expertise of someone familiar with the sport. If it is a more popular sport, the school may want the extra pair of hands because the club is over-subscribed.

Clearance To Work In Schools

To work in a school with youngsters, you will almost certainly be required to have a criminal records bureau (CRB) check. This is to ensure that you do not have any previous convictions which could mean that you pose a threat to the children. This does cost money but the school may be willing to pay for you to be cleared in order to have you as a helper in the school. Other safety stipulations will also apply, and it is likely that if you are taking a session of boys and girls, you will also need a supervisor of the opposite sex to be present with you. In addition, you are only allowed to lead groups of certain numbers, depending on the children’s ages. If the children are younger, more adults will be needed, as they get older, the adult to pupil ratio can drop. This is for your benefit as well as the children’s, so that looking after them all does not become too difficult.

Volunteering at your child’s school is an excellent thing to do and, as long as you talk it through with your children before you offer your services, they will most likely appreciate it. They may not decide to take up the sport or class you are coaching but some of their friends are bound to, and therefore your child will still appreciate what you are doing and that you are getting involved in their school life.

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