Volunteer Role Description: School Visitors National Coordinator

Background

We are a charitable community of over 14,000 people working towards a more rational, ethical, secular Scotland. As a charity, we support people to live ethical lives based on reason and compassion, campaigning for the removal of legal and social barriers to doing so; working towards a truly inclusive and democratic culture.

Our vision is of a Scotland in which the worth, dignity and autonomy of every person is respected and individual freedom is balanced with social responsibility and a duty of care for future generations.

Current practice in religious and moral education, including in non-denominational schools, can vary greatly from area to area. It is an unfortunate fact that not all pupils receive equal and comprehensive schooling about the variety of beliefs and approaches to ethical issues that exist, and what they receive is often dependent on where they live.

It is important that children learn about the values and beliefs that inform the world around us, especially from a human rights perspective. A crucial part of this is high-quality and inclusive Religious and Moral Education, which teaches children how to think, not what to think.

We know that the schools that are providing good quality Religious and Moral Education (RME) provide the best environment for pupils to learn positively about relationships, sexuality, bio-ethics, and critical thought, helping to break down barriers of stigma that can exist around LGBTI equality for example.

Our schools outreach programme is delivered by highly committed volunteers from amongst our membership. School visitors are trained by Humanist Society Scotland to attend school RME classes, assemblies and other occasions to talk about humanist perspectives on moral and ethical issues based on rationality, science and free inquiry.

Our school visitors present a humanist perspective without indoctrination, and without denigrating any other belief system – our aim is to encourage pupils to think critically about moral and ethical issues from a humanist standpoint rather than a purely religious one.

By engaging with schools in this way we are able to encourage diversity in RME and time for reflection, promote inclusive education and facilitate constructive dialogues on a huge range of moral and ethical questions

“The pupils really benefited from the visit. The question and answer technique enabled them to get an overall view of humanism and to relate it to their course on ‘Crime and Punishment’. I believe they could easily answer a question on this topic from a humanist viewpoint based on the information provided. Thank you.” Karen Crosbie, teacher (Glenrothes High School)

 

Purpose of Role

To increase the capacity of our schools outreach work – to help educators deliver robust and representative Religious and Moral Education (RME) classes in keeping with the Benchmarks of the Curriculum for Excellence and Qualifications criteria, to coordinate and steward volunteers, and help develop informative materials to effectively engage with children at all levels.

To develop and extend the reach of our schools outreach programme.

Specific Tasks

  • To ensure initial enquiries that come into HQ are allocated and/or advertised on the Facebook page for volunteers.

  • To encourage visitors to keep coordinators informed of proposed and completed visits and pass on evaluation forms timeously.

  • Oversee and support all coordinators and visitors with up to date procedures and guidance on individual casework.

  • Coordinate the work across Scotland with the assistance of local coordinators and staff at HQ.

  • Monitor the flow of feedback forms from volunteers and school staff to ensure standards are maintained and any specific issues are dealt with promptly and effectively.

  • Provide templates and presentation materials to assist visiting volunteers to deliver:

    • Short assembly talks on humanism and/or with moral story

    • Longer introduction to humanism with Q&A session after

    • RME/RMPS course content discussions/Q&A for exam subjects

    • Contribution to interfaith/belief debates and discussions

 

Skills and Qualities Needed

  • An understanding of Humanist Society Scotland’s work

  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office, Gmail and Google Drive

  • Ability to organise your own work and use your initiative

  • Attention to detail

  • Enthusiasm for the cause and ability to represent the charity

  • Good all-round communication skills

Commitment

Flexible, but approximately 2-4 hours per week during term time (either from home or our office in central Edinburgh), with monthly meetings at our office on Broughton Street Lane. Hopefully for a minimum of six months commitment.

Support and Training

Induction, guidance and support as required.  A reading list of Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks and Qualification criteria for RME/RMPS examinations will also be provided.

Expenses

We will reimburse public transport fares, or cycle mileage (20 pence per mile). We will consider covering the cost of other modes of transport (e.g. car mileage) if agreed in advance with your named contact.

What’s in it for me

  • Develop your organisational and leadership skills with the coordination of 30+ volunteers nationwide

  • Network with a wide range of educationalists, faith and belief representatives

  • Be part of a supportive team of Humanist Society Scotland volunteers and staff

  • Get to talk to and meet inspiring volunteers, young people, and educators, and of course, help get the message across about humanism

  • Enhance your CV and gain written references after a minimum of 12 months volunteering

Expectations of National Coordinator

  • Enthusiasm to provide an increasing presence of Humanist values in the RME/RMPS programme in Scotland

  • Ability to encourage volunteers to join the team and network with local schools on an ongoing basis

  • Network with other RME contributors such as Education Scotland, RME Universities,  Interfaith Groups and other belief organisations

  • A willingness to abide by our policies

  • Commitment to attend initial and on-going training

  • Cooperation with administrative tasks e.g. filling in expenses forms, evaluations etc

Location of volunteering

  • This role could be office-based, or home-based, or a combination of the two

  • Occasional attendance at seminars/meetings across Scotland

Who to contact for more information

Lara Celini, Community Engagement Manager

Email: lara@humanism.scot Main office: 0300 302 0680

https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/education/school-visitors/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826050914199346/