Working with Vulnerable People Information for Volunteers in Schools
Yarralumla Primary has high expectations of parent involvement due to its two specialist programs - the Italian-English Bilingual program and the Montessori Cycle 1 program. Volunteers are criticial to the life blood of our school. They are needed for support in classrooms, development of resources, extra-curricular and social activities and fund-raising events. Yarralumla Primary recognises that many activities are unable to go ahead without the valued support of parent and carer volunteers. All families are encouraged to participate when and how they can.
Volunteers may help with reading and numeracy programs, excursions, working bees, in the canteen and uniform shop, sport and music events, covering books for the library and sports carnivals.
With the introduction in the ACT of the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 which came into effect on 7 November 2013, the rules for volunteers and visitors to schools have been changed. The Act requires people who volunteer or visit schools on a regular basis to undergo a background (criminal history) check and become registered with the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) before they are allowed to work with children, unless they are able to claim an exemption from this requirement.
The aim of the Act is to reduce the rate of harm to vulnerable people and children in the ACT and as of 7 November 2013 any person over the age of 16 years, including a volunteer or visitor, who has contact with children in certain situations must be registered with the ORS unless exempted under the Act.
Please Note: There is no fee for volunteers to apply for registration.
The Education Directorate already has policies and procedures in place to protect children and young people however; the Working with Vulnerable People Act 2011 replaces current checks where contact with children is sufficiently frequent to require registration.
Volunteers and visitors should contact Principals if they need clarification about activities at a particular school.
We recognise the valuable contribution made by parents and members of the community, on a voluntary basis in supporting students and schools. The Education Directorate appreciates the strong commitment of many volunteers and visitors over the school year and notes that contact between volunteers or visitors and students may exceed the limits prescribed by the frequency test which is set at 3 days in any 4-week period or 7 days in a 12-month period. This will often be the principle factor in determining whether registration is required. Volunteers and visitors can continue to support schools in a number of ways without the need to be registered under the act.
If you wish to register with the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) to work with vulnerable people please collect a registration form from the Front Office of Yarralumla Primary School. You can also download the forms from www.ors.act.gov.au/community/working_with_vulnerable_people .
For more information on the Act and how it may affect you as a volunteer in our preschool program, please ask staff for a copy of the "Working with Vulnerable People Information for Volunteers in Schools" print out or refer to one of the websites listed below:
The Education Directorate provides the information in order to assist volunteers and visitors who work with or in the presence of children to understand whether their activities in ACT public schools requires them to register with the Office of Regulatory Services. It is NOT intended as legal advice. Volunteers and other visitors seeking further information or clarification about the requirements and implications of the Working with Vulnerable People Act are asked to contact the Office of Regulatory Services on 6207 3000, by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exemptions are set out under section 12 (2) and includes the following particularly relevant to schools. (The full text of section 12 can be viewed at http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2011-44/default.asp
The Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking Act) 2011 is available at www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2011-44/default.asp.