I was reading the Visitors in schools policy for schools in Victoria recently, the policy explains each school as a minimum should…
As a minimum all schools must require all visitors arriving and departing during school hours use a visitors’ book to record their name, their signature, the date and time, the purpose of the visit.
The more I read the schools policy the more you realise it is not possible to manage visitors to schools with a simple visitors book and pen. How can you know how many times, what days and times the plumbing contractor came to work in the school through the month of March, simple you just go to the manual sign in book and start counting the line items relative to the plumber. No-one has time to manually manage data that would need to be managed in the event of a situation.
How can you know who has permission to work with children when you are new in the admin office? Do you ask every visitor or contractor if they are cleared to work with children? My wife helps out at the kids school from library to reading, cake stalls, band trips to other schools and more. When taking 5 kids to band practice at another school in our private car Kim had to fill in a form at the office, this form is filed away. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to enter the name of a helper and electronically see if they had permission to work with children?
Further information from the visitor management policy on the Victoria education website that really makes you understand a manual visitors book will not provide information as you need it without hours of manual research includes….
To develop local policies and procedures councils should also consult the views of school communities and consider the following.
- schools are not public places
- the safety of students and staff
- potential risks posed by visitors
- the requirements for paid or volunteer workers to have a Working with Children Check.
- categories of visitors that will be allowed into the school and on what conditions
- potential benefits of different types of visits
- whether the proposed visit is appropriate for young people (in the relevant age group)
- whether the proposed visit is consistent with the values of public education
- whether a distinction should be made between the protocols applying to:
– community-based, not-for-profit groups
– visitors with commercial, advertising or marketing purpose
- the potential for a visitor to cause controversy within the school or broader community.
- whether the proposed visit is:
– for an educational purpose
– consistent with curriculum objectives
- the level of disruption to the functioning of the school in relation to the potential benefits to students
- the appropriate use of Department resources, including teachers’ time.
legal considerations and Department policies concerning:
- photographing of students
- mandatory reporting
- Children First – promoting and protecting the rights and well-being of children.
- how to communicate policies and procedures to staff, visitors and community
- how to impose conditions on visitors, if required
- circumstances for visitors to be accompanied by a member of staff
- whether visitors will be required to wear a distinguishing badge
- the familiarisation with school routines, including the emergency management plan, required for regular visitors
- when parents will be notified in advance about visitors to the school
- requirements for parental permission for students to participate in related activities.
The policy included the following typical visitors to schools
- prospective parents and employees
- those who are addressing a learning or developmental need, such as:
- parent and community volunteers
- invited speakers
- sessional instructors
- representatives of community, business and service groups
- local members of the State and Commonwealth Parliaments
- those who are conducting business such as:
- uniform suppliers
- official school photographers
- commercial salespeople
- trades people
- children’s services agents
- talent scouts.
It is time for schools to go electronic on Visitor Management, the next 10 schools that make contact and start a 30 day trial will receive Visitor Management for $20 per month.