There are a number of frequently asked questions that arise from time to time. While it is impossible to provide an answer here for every question you may raise, it is our hope that this page can help to address the most frequent ones, and help to clear up any ‘grey areas’ of understanding.
If you have a question that needs answering and it isn’t listed, please contact us.
Medical Forms & Information
Question: Medical Forms – Are they for Volunteers or team members?
Answer: Medical forms must be completed by anyone wishing to be involved in an SUSA program. We consider any volunteer involved with an SUSA program, to be a Team Member. All volunteers need to complete the forms and it’s both your responsibility AND for your benefit that they do so.
Question: Who keeps the medical information on the forms? The Team Leader or SUSA?
Answer: The Team Leader keeps the medical info of all the Team Members, but only for the duration of a program.
SUSA needs to sight the form & record that it has been submitted & completed. This is done at the same time we receive the Volunteer Application forms & CrimTrac Police checks. We then securely file away the records, to be retrieved and handed to the Team Leader for the duration of a program. Once the program has ended, the Team Leader returns those forms back to SUSA, to be locked away. All information is kept private & confidential.
“BUT WAIT – What if I’m hosting a SUPA Club after school hours and away from school grounds?”
You will need to know if any children who attend have any medical issues. For this reason a SUPA Club registration and Parental Consent form for after school hours is required. This is for your info. We at SUSA don’t need to know what the children’s medical requirements are.
Question: Do volunteers who prepare & serve food need ChildSafe training?
Answer: We could just reply with the following: “All volunteers who seek to serve our Lord through involvement with an SUSA program need to attend SUSA training. Even if they are preparing or serving food. It is compulsory.”
But we would rather give an outline and explain why, as this could be one of those ‘grey areas’, and not so black & white for the following reason;
A volunteer (Team Member) could reason “I’m just preparing food & serving it on the tables. It’s lamingtons & cup-cakes! Why do I need to attend SUSA training? I’m not directly involved with any children!”
And that’s a reasonable and valid point. At SUSA, we seek to enable ministry, not hinder it.
We would respond by asking “Can your Team Member absolutely guarantee that they will have ZERO involvement with any child while being involved in a SUPA Club?” That means no talking, no caring, no looking in the eyes & smiling…no engagement of any kind? The most likely reply would be ‘Probably not’, and for obvious reasons.
We can not truthfully model the character of Christ if we have to endorse and maintain a strict policy of ZERO interaction.
This is an extreme illustration, but it highlights the reason why all Team Members are required to undergo SUSA Training. We believe that it’s no longer acceptable to let anyone be involved in ministry unless they have some form of training. We believe it’s time for volunteers to raise the standards of excellence and hold each other accountable to a higher standard of ministry practice. The safety of children is at stake.
In closing, All volunteers who seek to serve our Lord through involvement with an SUSA program need to attend SUSA training. Even if they are just serving food. It is compulsory.
Question: ChildSafe Training – Does it translate across the board?
Answer: Yes & No.
The full program of ChildSafe Training covers;
- ChildSafe for Team Members (TM 1&2),
- ChildSafe for Team Leaders (TL 1&2),
- ChildSafe Environments (more commonly known as Mandatory Notification, or RAN – Responding to Abuse & Neglect).
While this provides an individual with a certificate which would be recognised as an industry accepted level of training, it will not be accepted by the Department of Education. DECS require further training, and for that we call on our partners at SMG to fulfil the missing requirements.
Question: Will SUSA Training Day cover ChildSafe Environments (Mandatory Notification / Responding to Abuse and Neglect)?
Answer: NO – While the training we provide on our Training Days incorporates TM 1&2 and TL 1&2, it does not include the section on ChildSafe Environments (Mandatory Notification/Responding to Abuse and Neglect). Training on ChildSafe Environments takes about 8hours (a full day) to complete.
Christian Option Program
Question: Shouldn’t state education be secular?
Answer: Yes. But secular does not equal the exclusion of programs which explore people’s belief systems. Government schools should not proselytise for any particular world-view or set of values, including those often thought of as non-religious. But there is a valid and important place for the consideration of the view that there is a spiritual dimension to life, and of the beliefs and values that follow from such a view.
Question: Is this a form of covert indoctrination?
Answer: No. Scripture Union is entirely open about its materials and methods. We work within the ethos and ethics of DECS. There is no pressure for response of any kind. We believe that any such response should occur within the context of parental understanding, and is not appropriate for the school setting.
Question: Where can we fit this into our curriculum? It’s already crowded.
Answer: Scripture Union’s Primary Age Christian Option Programs relate to a number of areas within the curriculum, particularly within the Societies and Cultures Strand of the SACSA Framework. We believe that the consideration of belief and value systems is at least as important as many other parts of the curriculum. Education is about the development of individuals in the fullest sense.
Question: What if parents object?
Answer: Parents are always informed about the Christian Option Program prior to the team coming to the school, and are given opportunity to withdraw their children. Our experience has been that very few parents do withdraw their children. Scripture Union welcomes parental previewing of the curriculum outline and teaching materials. We welcome the opportunity to explain the program to a meeting of parents and/or the school council.
Question: What if other groups want similar opportunities?
Answer: We believe that other religious groups who want to make use of the provisions within the Education Act ought to be given the same opportunities, on the basis of community support and content which is appropriate educationally.
Question: Why aren’t the local churches doing this?
Answer: The local churches are. Scripture Union works with them as a resource organisation, making available materials, experience and expertise. Christian Option Programs are conducted on behalf of and by people from local church groups in accordance with the framework specified by DECS.
It is our hope that any questions you may have are answered. If not, please contact us with your question.