As a school we operate on a community model and as such we depend upon the involvement of all our families for the healthy functioning of the community. Moreover, this is what makes us different and what so many people love about our school – we offer the opportunity to be involved in your child’s education in a meaningful way.
Upon joining the school all families commit to participating in three “Care for our School” days per year. These take place on Saturdays once per term and help to give a bit of TLC to the school site. This enables us to keep our buildings decorated and maintained without adding to our fees. But more than this, these times of working and sharing time together is a special way of caring for our school and of getting to know each other.
In addition to this there are many opportunities to be involved in, and contribute to, the school community which cannot function in a healthy way without commitment from all its members. Everyone collectively and collaboratively contributing to this community is what makes our school so special but it is also a responsibility and, therefore, it is important all families make careful assessment of what they are able to contribute – this will change as life circumstances change: there will be times when parents have more time and less money and other times when they have less time and more money, to differing degrees. For example, if a family has a new baby this may mean their contribution reduces for a season but this can be made up for during another season. What a family gives when they first join the school might look very different to what they give five years later. We just ask that families are continually mindful of these changes and what it is possible/appropriate for them to give at any time.
Many of the areas of voluntary work within the school require correct safeguarding recruitment procedures to be followed as well as training to be completed. We are committed to following correct procedures in accordance our own policies which are based on official or statutory guidance and we will always give volunteers full support and/or training to complete their tasks to a high standard.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of examples of ways to volunteer and increase involvement:
Family assemblies are held every Friday morning and are open to all family and friends of the school. These assemblies are a key part of school life when commendations are given, we sing together and news is shared. We encourage anyone who is able, to attend whenever possible. We also hold concerts and plays, a Christmas carol service and Sports Day which we always find are well attended and very uplifting community events.
Maintenance days: an opportunity for those with some basic DIY skills to offer some time beyond the three ‘basic’ days and tackle some larger maintenance tasks. These usually take place on Saturdays and have even been known to include a barbeque.
Assisting on trips: as a small school we do not usually have enough children to need a coach to take us on trips so we rely on staff and parents driving or assisting on public transport. Many parents really enjoy the chance to share in trips.
Invigilating exams: we depend upon volunteers to invigilate for our exams and also for parents to ‘pay in forward’ since parents of those sitting exams cannot invigilate – we need parents of younger pupils to fulfil this role in the expectation that others will do it for their children when the time comes. Full guidance and training is given.
Listening to children read: reading is very important to us as a school and we love to give the children the opportunity of reading aloud more often than they would if only their class teacher could hear them read. We, therefore, appreciate volunteers coming in to sit with our juniors during their reading times.
Playground duty: parents can commit to helping in the playground to cover break times on certain days of the week to free up the admin team.
Assisting with swimming supervision: one member of staff accompanies the children to their weekly swimming sessions but we need an additional adult to volunteer to help with this. This can be one person every week or two who share the job and alternate.
Admin tasks: help can be given in supporting the admin team with particular jobs. This can include covering the front office at certain points during the week when reception staff have additional duties to perform.
Offering skills to enhance the curriculum: perhaps you are good at sewing or cooking or a particular craft. You could offer some time to come in and add this extra element to the curriculum. This could be on a short- or long-term basis. You could also run a lunch club offering an organised activity on a regular basis. We have had parents who have taken a group off-site to play football during the weekly ‘long break’.
Fundraising: parents can volunteer by coordinating fundraising or assisting with events. Parents can also volunteer in the area of applying for grants etc.
Marketing: we always need extra assistance in marketing the school as we do not have a dedicated staff member for this task. Parents can help in many ways in this area.
Financial giving: we always welcome financial gifts to support the school as this helps us to keep the fees as low as possible. Financial giving is especially vital where families are not able to attend ‘Care for our School’ days or offer much time in the other areas. These donations can be increased by Gift Aid to benefit the school even more. We rely upon financial gifts and fundraising to undergo most material improvements to the school site.
Pray for the school: we hope that everyone involved will be committed to praying for the school personally but we also have opportunities to pray together. We hold weekly prayer meetings to which all are welcome and we also hold an annual envisioning day for the whole school community in which prayer is an important part. Pupils, staff and parents join together in prayer at our Friday assemblies.