Passion for Learning
A community interest company
Passion for Learning was set up to offer vulnerable
children the chance to understand what it is to aspire
and to access the learning required to fulfil their dreams.
Many children have few resources and even fewer
opportunities in their home environment. Their experiences create social and emotional barriers to learning that are difficult to surmount in a classroom situation. We believe that volunteers have skills, experiences and knowledge of the world that they can share with these children. Learning is a product of motivation and we are looking for enthusiastic individuals with the ability to share their passion for life and give a child a helping hand to increase their self esteem and build the confidence needed to enjoy lifelong learning and achievement.
We believe that volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life are the best possible people to support young people and help them to access learning. Everyone has different skills and experience to offer and our organisation is keen to encourage a diversity of approach that enables volunteers to use their own strengths to enrich the lives of the children that they work with.
Passion for Learning is committed to recruiting a diverse group of volunteer tutors. We believe that we have much to learn and profit from diverse cultures and perspectives, and that diversity enriches the lives of the children. We are committed to developing an organisation in which the contributions of those with differing needs and abilities and those from diverse backgrounds and experiences are equally valued.
Whilst we seek to give as many people as possible the opportunity to volunteer, the
safety and security of the children takes precedence over all other considerations.
Applicants who have been resident in this country for less than two years may be
required to provide a certificate of good conduct from their most recent country
of residence. Any referees not resident in this country may provide an e-
The nature of our work with children means that we are exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders’ Act. If an applicant declares a conviction, caution or warning then this may not be a barrier depending on the nature of the offence and the time that has elapsed. Passion for Learning will make potential schools aware if a volunteer has an entry on their disclosure and schools have the right to refuse a placement without any obligation. All volunteers are required to show their CRB Disclosure at their first meeting with the school.
Passion for Learning will do everything possible to ensure that any illness or medical condition does not become a barrier to volunteering. If the volunteer has a declared illness or condition we may ask permission to request a medical reference to ensure the safety of both the volunteer and the children. Volunteers are entitled to request a copy of any medical reference to be sent direct to them. If the volunteer requires special provision or has access issues we will do our best to find a suitable placement with the appropriate facilities.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age but there is no upper age limit.
Experience and qualifications
There is no requirement for professional experience or qualifications to become a volunteer. Full training and support is given and volunteers are matched to the needs of the children and given help to ensure that they have ongoing practical advice and regular training opportunities.
Passion for Learning is committed to finding the right people to work with the children we support. We advertise in the communities where are schools are based and encourage people to volunteer as near to their home as possible. Every enquiry is given individual attention and we will speak to you before we send you an application form to see if this is the right opportunity for you.
Our application form is designed to find out about you as an individual. In addition to asking about yourself we tell you about the organisation and the commitment involved to help you decide if this is the best opportunity for you.
Every application is considered and, in most cases, volunteers are invited to attend an informal interview. If the application form reveals an issue that we believe might prevent an applicant from working for the organisation then we would speak to that applicant personally to clarify the situation prior to inviting them to interview. The ability to commit the time required is essential and this is emphasised at every stage of the process.
Every applicant must supply the names and addresses of two referees who have known them for a minimum of two years. The reference requests can be sent by post or e mail but the address must still be supplied. References brought by the applicant themselves cannot be used as one of the required references, neither can a relative be used as a referee.
Every applicant will be asked to bring specified documentation with them to the interview. Once the interview is completed, if both parties are happy to proceed, the applicant will be asked to complete an enhanced CRB check. Every interviewee will be given details of what will happen next to take away with them.
If we decide that this is not the right opportunity for an applicant, they will be sent a letter explaining that we do not feel able to offer them this volunteering opportunity. If this decision is made at the interview stage then we will not send for references or a CRB. If the decision is made as a result of a received reference or unsuitable CRB check then the same letter will be sent. If the applicant requests clarification for the decision the organisation cannot disclose the details of references or the information contained in the organisation’s copy of the CRB check. All enquiries would be directed to the authors of the references.
All prospective volunteers who have been successful at interview will be asked to attend two full days’ training regardless of any prior experience or qualifications. The training is specifically designed for the programme of tuition and support that we offer and the rich mix of experience within each group enhances discussion and enriches the training experience. Every applicant must be able to attend both days of training which forms the final part of the selection process for the applicant and the organisation.
The training is interactive and includes plenty of opportunities
for group work, discussion and questions.
The modules cover
Information about how the organistion came to be and what we want to achieve.
A closer look at the children and young people that we will be working with.
Child Protection and disclosure guidance. An opportunity to complete the NSPCC’s ‘Keeping Children Safe’ module.
Information and research underpinning our approach and why it works.
A focus on the volunteer and what they can offer the child.
Practical ideas and case studies to give the volunteer a ‘toolbox’.
Information about the schools, their personnel and how they work.
Information about how we proceed to placement in school.
Training is ongoing and volunteers will be invited to a training evening/daytime session every term to ensure that they have new ides, a chance to troubleshoot and an opportunity to meet other volunteers and share good practice.
Refreshments and lunch will be provided at all training sessions. Volunteers may claim petrol allowance or public transport costs for attendance.
Passion for Learning has both public liability and employer’s liability insurance. Volunteers must adhere to the child protection policy to be covered by Passion for Learning’s insurance.
Volunteers working in school should adhere to the school’s health and safety policy. At the placement meeting Passion for Learning will ensure that volunteers are made aware of evacuation procedures and first aid arrangements for their school. We will ensure that any special requirements the volunteer may have will have been discussed prior to the meeting to ensure that the school is able to provide safe access and appropriate seating.
At the placement meeting safe storage of the resource bag will be discussed to ensure that it is kept in an accessible place that does not involve inappropriate lifting or heights. In the event of an accident the volunteer should inform the school and have the incident recorded in their accident book. The volunteer must also inform Passion for Learning as soon as possible. The accident will be recorded in the accident book which is kept at the company office.
In the event of illness or accident preventing the volunteer from attending school the volunteer will inform the school themselves if they will be absent for less than one school week. If the absence is likely to be for a longer period the volunteer will also inform Passion for Learning.
The Volunteer in school
Once the training is complete and both parties are happy that they wish to proceed to placement, a school will be identified as soon as possible. Possible placement schools are always discussed with prospective Volunteer Tutors to ensure that they are happy before we make any arrangements. Once the school has been finalised a placement meeting will be organised. This meeting is used to introduce the Volunteer Tutor to the school and discuss all practical arrangements before their work begins. The meeting is usually with the Headteacher and it is a chance to fill in all the necessary paperwork and for both parties to ask questions. The choice of which days that the Volunteer Tutor will attend is discussed and agreed at this meeting and a start date will be set.
On the agreed start date the Volunteer Tutor will attend and meet the children that they will be working with. A small pack of resources will be given to provide introductory activities designed to get to know the children and put them at their ease. These early sessions will give the Volunteer Tutor the chance to find out about the children’s interests and needs and pass the information on to their support worker.
After a week or two the Support Worker will bring a bag of resources
into school that is tailored to the needs and interests of the child and
their Volunteer Tutor. The bag will include a selection of games, toys
and books that will appeal to the children. Volunteers are welcome to add suitable resources to their bag as they get to know the children and the Support Worker will ensure that the resources are changed and added to when required. The resources remain in school in an identified secure location for the volunteer to collect at each session. The volunteer is usually welcome to use the school resources and library to supplement their own.
Volunteer Tutors continue to receive the full support of the organisation once they are in school. Support Workers are available to talk to on the phone at any time and they will visit if the volunteer tutor would like them to do so. Planned observation visits at least twice a year will provide an opportunity to take stock, offer practical advice and discuss any issues. Volunteers will have clear guidelines to follow should a child make a disclosure and a 24 hour helpline number should they require urgent advice on a child protection related issue.
Volunteers can claim travel expenses both for any training sessions and for their twice weekly attendance at school. We will pay public transport costs or mileage at 25p per mile up to a maximum of ten miles for each days travel. Volunteers must submit an expense claim form at the end of each term and not at the end of a school year. Any expenses not claimed for at the end of the term will only be paid by exception. Training costs can be claimed as soon as they are accrued or added to the next termly claim. Expense Claim Form will be given to the volunteer after the training and can also be acquired from support workers or our administrator. Volunteers will be paid by cheque.
Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure
Any Volunteer Tutor with a complaint or grievance should, in the first instance, discuss the matter informally. Passion for Learning seeks to provide a supportive and constructive atmosphere in which informal challenge is dealt with promptly and positively. Informal discussion will not be recorded unless the Volunteer Tutor asks for us to do so.
If the volunteer is still not happy that their complaint has been dealt with then the matter should be reported in writing to the Support Worker or the administrator who will ensure that it is brought to the attention of the directors. The matter will be investigated, discussed and a resolution will be agreed with the complainant.
Any behaviour or action that the Volunteer Tutor’s Support Worker is concerned about will be discussed informally in the spirit of support and constructive guidance.
If the behaviour or action is of a serious nature or the Volunteer Tutor is not happy with informal discussion then the matter will be raised in writing with the partners.
Any decision made will always involve the volunteer tutor themselves and will be made with the safety and well being of the children as the first consideration.