Volunteering at St Luke’s

Volunteering in school gives adults a wonderful opportunity to get involved and support our work here at St Luke’s. Parents and carers can learn how a school works and become involved with a community of adults all working together to promote learning. Adults from within or outside our community can also gain vital experience, which can help in their career in schools. For example, we always have lots of volunteers who are training to become Teaching Assistants or looking to apply for teaching courses. All of these courses require relevant recent experience of working with children.

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer at St Luke’s. Most of our volunteers work in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, although if people want to gain experience of Key Stage 2 this can be arranged.

We prefer to offer volunteering opportunities over a minimum of half a term, rather than very short term placements. We feel this is better for volunteers and children, as teachers can begin to plan for the volunteer and their support becomes part of weekly routines. Children also build meaningful learning relationships over time. Volunteers, who have moved onto courses and jobs after volunteering with us, have told us how important it was to work with us in this way, as it gave  them the opportunity to reflect on their role, how children learn and  how teachers teach. Many of our past volunteers are now teachers and teaching assistants across the city. Some of the best even work here at St Luke’s. Parents and carers volunteering in school are not expected to work in their own child’s class, apart from on one-off projects (see below). This is because it can be very distracting for young children, if they see their parent or carer walking in and out of class or working somewhere else in the room.

Reading Partners

All reception and infant classes have at least two Reading Partners. These are often parents and carers who volunteer for one or two afternoons a week. Teaching children to read confidently by the end of Year 2 is one of our main priorities in the infants at St Luke’s. Our Reading Partners play a vital role in this.

Reading Partners read with groups and individuals, building up trusting relationships. Through a well-planned programme, readers can make significant progress with their Reading Partners. This can be a very satisfying volunteer role.

Teaching Assistant Volunteers

All Reception and Infant classes have at least one Teaching Assistant Volunteer. These volunteers work in classes for at least one morning a week. Some volunteers do this role for a whole day or even more. These opportunities are particularly good for people who are  registered on teaching assistant training, want to apply for a teacher training course or are looking to return to work.

Teaching Assistant volunteers will gain experience supporting children with their reading, writing and mathematics in the mornings and supporting other areas of the curriculum in the afternoon. Support will be given to groups and individuals.

Helping in class

Parents and carers are free to offer their support for one off projects in their child’s or other classes. These include art projects, cookery and technology lessons. There are many ‘celebration’ days and weeks in the school year for example: Languages Day, Art week and Number Day, where adults can volunteer to support learning. Parents and carers are invited to volunteer for one-off projects in their child’s class, but if they want to volunteer over a longer term, they are expected to help in another class.

How to apply to become part of our team

If you are interested in volunteering at the school, please contact Danny Annaly via the school office, or by e mail: dannyannaly@stlukes.brighton-hove.sch.uk

All volunteers are expected to complete a DBS check before starting at the school. Danny Annaly and the office staff will help to organise this with you.

Parents and carers who would like to regularly volunteer at the school, throughout their child’s time at St Luke’s, for example on school trips and ‘celebration’ days, are encouraged to complete a DBS form as soon as possible. This makes the administration of trips much more straight forward and is vital.

It is free to get a DBS through the school if you are a volunteer. It is also a requirement that the DBS is made portable, by registering with the DBS update service. This has to be done within 19 days of the DBS being issued This is a free service and enables the DBS holder to work in other childcare settings without being fully checked again. This lasts for one year.

If you have any questions about volunteering at the school, please do not hesitate to contact Danny.