Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Homework Centres - Volunteer Tutoring
2016 : Now in our 11th year!

Jesmond Primary School

School Term 4 :  Starts Mon. 10 Oct. (program finishes early Dec.)

Volunteer Vacancies...
(as at 5 Oct.)

St. Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton (Wed. 3:15 - 4:30pm) Need 1 volunteer.
All other centres are FULL.

How To Apply...

Please contact me by email if you wish to apply to do volunteer tutoring for Terms 3 & 4, or go on a waiting list.  I will need to know the following information:
  1. Your preference of which Homework Centre/Study Group.  (If your preferences are full, you will be given the option of going on the waiting list.)
  2. Your ability to commit to regular weekly attendance for Terms 3 & 4 (ie. roughly the same as university Semester 2, however, Term 3 starts on 18 July.).  If you are away on holidays now, let me know when you are available to start.
  3. Your experience, skills, qualifications, current study, etc. relevant to tutoring school students with low English proficiency, and/or working with refugees/migrants.
Important!  The success of the Homework Centre program depends on a regular weekly commitment from both volunteers and school students, so you will need to be certain of your timetable/availability before applying to volunteer.  It is also strongly advised that volunteers have their own car and not rely on public transport, bicycle, etc.  As always, we would like to increase the number of male tutors.

Homework Centre volunteering is also be promoted through our University of Newcastle partners iLEAD and Teach Outreach, as your volunteering hours can assist you to achieve points/certification for those programs.  We are promoting via the CareerHub service as well.  If you are registered with these programs/services, you will still need to send your volunteering application to me by email, as described above.

Islington Primary School

Note: All NSS Homework Centre/Study Group volunteer positions require the volunteer to have the following two clearances prior to commencing the volunteer work:

National Police Check - This application form is included with the NSS volunteer registration paperwork. NSS will process your application, free of charge.

Working With Children Check - The NSW Government implemented a new Working With Children Check system on 15th June 2013, whereby the applicant must apply for their own check/clearance online. This process is free for volunteers. Once your application has been processed and you receive your clearance letter, you then provide your WWCC Number to NSS for verificationPlease visit: New Working With Children Check website.

Thank you.

Michael Freund
Project Manager (Homework Centres) &
Volunteers Co-ordinator (Educational Programs)
Phone: 02 4969 3399

Waratah Technology Campus
Waratah Technology Campus

Homework Centres - Partner Schools...
(approx. 15 volunteers at each centre)

Islington Primary School
(corner Hubbard & Chinchen Streets, Islington)
Mondays 3:15 - 4:45pm
Assisting Kinder-Yr.6 students enrolled at Islington PS, plus referrals from local schools

Jesmond Primary School
(corner Ralph & William Streets, Jesmond)
Tuesdays 3:00-4:30pm
Assisting Kinder-Yr.6 students enrolled at Jesmond PS only

Waratah Technology Campus
(Turton Road, Waratah)
Thursdays 3:00 - 4:30pm
Assisting Yr.7-10 students enrolled at Waratah TC only

Wednesday Study Groups
(approx. 5 volunteers at each group)

Jesmond Senior Campus  ***NEW for 2016***
(Janet Street, Jesmond)
Wednesdays 1:30 - 3:00pm
Assisting Yr.11-12 students enrolled at Jesmond SC only

San Clemente High School
(corner Havelock & Crebert Streets, Mayfield)
Wednesdays 3:00 - 4:30pm
Assisting Yr.7-10 students enrolled at San Clemente HS, plus referrals from local schools

St. Francis Xavier’s College  ***NEW for 2016***
(Parkway Avenue, Hamilton)
Wednesdays 3:15 - 4:30pm
Assisting Yr.11-12 students enrolled at St. Francis Xavier only

San Clemente High School
San Clemente High School

Homework Centres - Further Information...

History & Purpose
Since 2006, NSS has operated various Homework Centres in partnership with local primary & secondary schools that have high student enrolments from recently-arrived refugee & migrant families (our target clients).  The purpose of our Homework Centres is to assist these students to develop their English literacy skills and to complete homework & assignment tasks in a range of school subjects, thus contributing to their achievement of educational milestones at an equitable level with the mainstream community.  Previous NSS Homework Centres include: Hamilton Primary School (2006-2014), and St. Pius X High School (2009-2014).

Staff & Operation
A Project Manager is responsible for the overall operation of the Homework Centres, including the promotion, recruitment & administration of the large annual intake of volunteers.  A part-time Co-ordinator at each centre manages the students & volunteer tutors, and liaises frequently with the Project Manager.  Each Homework Centre operates one afternoon per week during school terms, and there is no charge for the students who use this service.  We aim to provide one-to-one or small group volunteer tutoring assistance for the students, in a classroom or library setting.  Each centre has an enrolment limit (eg. 15 or 20 students) so that the high quality of support can be maintained.

***NEW for 2016***  On Wednesdays, a smaller 'Study Group' (eg. 5 to 10 students) will operate at each of three high schools.  There may not be one-to-one student/volunteer ratio at the Study Groups.

All volunteer tutors are registered by NSS, which includes a federal Police Check and Working With Children Check, and are provided with ESL resources and induction into the program.  Volunteers need to have good skills in English and other school subjects, but they will not be asked to tutor in subjects they are not comfortable with.  Experience with teaching/tutoring is definitely an advantage, and further volunteer training is provided as needed.  Volunteers are asked to commit to regular weekly attendance for at least one semester (ie. two school terms).  Apart from these requirements, the other main volunteer attributes include: patience, persistence, cultural awareness, ability to communicate & encourage, sense of humour/fun, and additionally for the high schools: internet research skills and familiarity with curriculum/assessment task process.  At the start of each school term a volunteers’ feedback & planning meeting is held, where volunteers can contribute ideas to improve the centre's operation, and the main goals for the term will be defined.

Linking with Schools/Teachers/Parents
ESL Teachers are invited to refer suitable students to Homework Centre by completing a Referral Form for each student and returning it to the Co-ordinator.  Students may enrol at the start of a new term, assuming there are sufficient volunteer resources.  Students/Parents will be notified when enrolment is available, as parents will firstly need to complete a Parent Permission Form.  Student progress is recorded each week by volunteers, enabling the Co-ordinator to provide the teacher with half-yearly & yearly progress reports on each student.  A parent information/interview session is organised for each centre, usually at the half-yearly point.

Project Funding
The Department of Immigration & Citizenship began funding NSS Homework Centres in 2009, under their Settlement Grants Program.  In Nov. 2013, SGP became the responsibility of the newly created Department of Social Services.  NSS is also extremely grateful to Newcastle Registered Clubs (through the ClubGRANTS community funding) for their continued support of our Homework Centres.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Welfare Programs – Now taking expressions of interest for 2016

Referral of clients to the Welfare Volunteer Programs is on a case-by-case basis, meaning that demand can vary month to month. 

Clients can ask for support in the following areas:

·          Adult Literacy: Assisting adult clients to improve their English language skills.
·          Citizenship Assistance: Supporting clients through the citizenship booklet, online test training, and to help prepare clients for the Citizenship Test.
·         Companionship Support: Social visits to prevent or respond to feelings of isolation.
·         General Home Assistance: Helping families with the day-to-day skills or urgent needs in the home.
·         Driving Supervision: Providing supervision of a learner driver using client’s own car. This program operates only if a client has use of their own vehicle and they must provide proof of registration, insurance etc.

Once we have a number of clients wanting assistance, I will send out an email to potential volunteers outlining each role. These mail-outs usually occur once a month. All you need to do is let me know if any of the roles are of interest. If you are successfully matched with a client, we will then make a time for registration and induction. Once your registration paperwork is complete, you will then be placed with the client. As a volunteer with NSS, you will be fully supported and will have access to numerous training and social opportunities throughout the year.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Welfare Programs, please get in touch with me via phone or email.

Abby Tinlin
(Volunteers Coordinator - Welfare Programs)
Office Hours: Tuesday 9 to 4pm, Wednesday 9 to 12pm and Thursday 9 to 12pm

Monday, December 14, 2015


Thank you for your enquiry regarding volunteer work with Northern Settlement Services (NSS).

 Please also read the information on Volunteering Programs Overview.

Recruitment of new volunteers is determined by the specific requirements of our clients and the needs of our programs.  A typical program requires a regular commitment of 1 to 2 hours per week, and we ask for a minimum period of two school terms for Educational, or as agreed for Welfare, to ensure consistent support for our clients.  All program times are negotiable, except as indicated.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you should contact the relevant Volunteers Co-ordinator to discuss current volunteer vacancies.  We will need to know about your relevant skills, experience, availability, location, transport, etc.  If we can match you with an existing vacancy, then you can proceed to register as an NSS volunteer.  Otherwise, you may choose to be added to a waiting list.  Volunteer registration will take about an hour and includes a general induction, several forms, Police Check, and ID photo.  Many volunteering roles also require a Working With Children Check.  All registered volunteers working under the direction of NSS are covered by our Volunteer Personal Accident Insurance.  After your checks have returned clear, we will facilitate a meeting with you and the client to setup your specific volunteering arrangements, or provide you with a further training for your program.  We offer our volunteers ongoing support throughout their volunteering time with NSS.  Thank you!