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Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

We are a small community based playgroup in NI and work with 12 children and 2 volunteers from the local Management Committee (working on a rota basis).

 

Over the past 24 hours we have received 2 requests for 2 other volunteers from the Community to use our setting as part of their work experience while doing courses relating to nursing and Early Years. One is 16 years of age and the other is a mother with young children who has already done part of her experience in a school based setting.

 

My question is this - what process do we go through now to firstly accept their application and then understand their role in the setting? I have never had this before and obviously as they will not be paid I don't even know if a job application form should be compiled and filled in, what references we should take up etc etc. Should I maybe ask them to submit a CV with the names of 2 referees? I know we have to go through vetting and checking identity etc so I have that covered but as to drawing up a description of their duties - where do you start? I obviously want in some way to ensure confidentiality of everything that goes on in the setting and of the children that attend so it will need to be included within a contract as such.

 

How does this affect our other volunteers? I have a feeling that as one of them is 16 they are not therefore an adult and so cannot be counted as a volunteer in the same way our existing ones are if you understand what I mean!

 

Perhaps I should be consulting by Registration Authority for help?

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They need to complete vetting through college our students get a pack a and pack b! Would recommend you take advice from link social worker as we have restrictions on how many we can take and it may affect ur qualified/unqualified ratios! Better to ask!

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Guest terrydoo73

Thanks Sox. Tried today to contact Social Worker but the are all out doing inspections! Have left a message and will try again first thing tomorrow morning. My Deputy is resisting us taking on student placements because of the work involved and also as it might send the message to our volunteers not to be with us on those days ie she will have to do more work in terms of preparing snack etc. As the volunteer pointed out to me today it will look stupid having 4 adults to 11 children maximum!! I think however it might help us with the 3 year olds as we could assign the student to these and they are full time work believe you me! We have 4 3 year olds in on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday so those are the days when few observations actually get done!

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Terrydo, on a Thursday I have 13 children in and 5 staff - some of this is because I don't like laying staff off when we are not at our busiest time of the year, and partly because we have a staff meeting after lunch on a Thursday. Yes it can look a bit funny with so many adults about, but the benefits to the children are immense.

 

encourage your volunteers to remain coming in please, you have had a tough time with some of your children lately I'm sure that the new volunteers will get on board quite quickly and an extra pair of hands never goes amiss.

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Guest terrydoo73

My feeling too - these volunteers are committee members and shall we say grandmas themselves! They really enjoy interacting with the children but I think some days they would just not like to be there with some of the things that are going on - my Deputy spent I think about half an hour in the bathroom today with various ones coming to wash hands, checking on those who have a few toileting difficulties and preparing for snack!!

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Thanks Sox. My Deputy is resisting us taking on student placements because of the work involved

 

Your very welcome! I thought your deputy would want to pass on all those great practices she witnessed at her last setting!!!

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Guest terrydoo73

Talked to my Social Worker today to seek clarification on position re volunteers and student placements. She agreed with me that students will be in addition to volunteers. To remove the volunteer would mean we would have to reduce our child numbers ie the volunteers are included within our staff to children ratio as part of our registration. We do need a letter of introduction from the college and particularly the lecturer in charge of the children to say that the student is interested in using our Playgroup as a basis for placement. The student who is 16 has to have a legal indemnity form to say the college will cover them while on our premises and in both situations a letter showing the vetting process has been completed by the College to cover them using our Playgroup as placement purposes.

 

I also talked over what it would mean having 4 adults in the room and she told me at the end of the day it is my decision as a leader not necessarily the Committee as I will be working with them on a close basis. I cannot have the 2 students in on the same day and I cannot have any more than these 2 in this year. She pointed me back to my own placement and said would it be something you want to give back to others to help them on their way to career choice. At the end of the day it is a placement at my discretion ie if I tried it out for a while and it wasn't working out then say OK we have to say no more. It would be good to have another person in the setting to give us a different perspective at times and also when it becomes hectic in terms of having a couple of children in the bathroom with say myself or my deputy and the volunteer hovering between the playroom and the toilet then at least you could still be focused on the remaining children in the room with help at hand. Of course with our room being so small the decision is either go ahead now or wait until next year when we have bigger premises! Lots to think about I think.

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