Dollar Academy’s volunteering module provides educational benefits to the local community

Ten Form VI pupils are currently undertaking a volunteering module at Dollar, which benefits both primary school children, as well as the volunteers themselves.

The module is run by Biology Teacher Dr Payne, and is a direct result of a successful Erasmus project that took place at Dollar several years ago. In the project, Dollar pupils offered ICT training to members of the community and the pupils worked with local organisations such as Play Alloa, SeaMab School along with five primary schools to offer the training to a wide range of participants. This project proved so successful, that some of the primary schools involved requested that Dollar pupils continued to volunteer with them and offer their support.

Currently, our Form VI volunteers spend one hour a week at local primary schools, where they not only offer ICT training but now assist in science lessons, too. This training is then repeated over the year, with further sessions provided as required. To date, Muckhart Primary, Strathdevon Primary, Coalsnaughton Primary, along with our own Dollar Prep School have all been involved.

The volunteering module also has many benefits for the volunteers themselves. This project offers relevant work experience for pupils who are interested in pursuing careers in teaching, social work, medicine and other community-based roles. It is also useful for pupils who are interested in studying ICT or Science after leaving Dollar.

Dr Payne said: “It is wonderful to see (and hear!) how excited the young children get when carrying out exciting practical science work with ‘the big seniors’. The interaction with the older pupils, the experience of working in a Science lab and the love of Science which the lessons promote are as important as the scientific knowledge gained.”

In addition to the Form VI module, any Senior School pupil can volunteer to take part in “Technology Tuition”. This is  a free twilight course for the over-50s, where pupil volunteers help community members to navigate technology and become more confident at ICT. Similar to the volunteering module, all pupils who take part in this can gain valuable skills in confidence and leadership, which can prove extremely beneficial to university or gap-year applications in the future.

If you are interested in becoming a Dollar volunteer, please contact Dr Payne or Mrs MacBean for further information.