Volunteer in schools

Volunteering in schools offers numerous benefits for both the volunteers and the schools themselves. Each individual volunteer can be a superhero of change and contribute to the quality of education for the next generation. And, there’s sure to be some learned skills and laughter along the way.

Types of volunteering opportunities in schools

There are various ways in which you can volunteer in schools. Here are a few examples:

  • Volunteer tutors: If you’re confident in a particular subject or skill, you can volunteer in schools as a tutor. Whether it’s maths, science, languages, or humanities you can assist students who may need extra help in these areas. Tutors provide individualised attention and address misconceptions at the source. 
  • Reading Mentors: Many schools have reading mentor programs where volunteers help students improve their literacy skills. As a reading mentor, you can listen to students read, provide guidance on pronunciation and comprehension, and instil a love for reading through engaging discussions.
  • Mentoring programmes: Some schools run mentoring programs where volunteers serve as mentors for pupils who may benefit from additional support and guidance. Mentors act as positive role models, offering advice, encouragement, and helping pupils navigate challenges they may face academically or personally.
  • Sports coaches: If you have a passion for sports, you can volunteer as a sports coach or assist with sports activities in schools. You may help organise practices, lead training sessions, and support pupils during games and competitions. 
  • Extra-curricular activity leaders: Schools often look for volunteers to lead or assist with extra-curricular activities such as clubs, drama, music, or art. Whether you have musical talents, artistic skills, or a passion for a particular hobby, you can share your expertise and create enriching experiences for pupils outside the regular curriculum.
retired tutor with secondary pupil

Volunteering in primary schools

If you volunteer in a primary school, you could be working with pupils from ages 5-11. 

Pupils will be learning fundamental subjects such as English (including reading, writing, and comprehension) and maths. These subjects form the foundation of their academic learning and are tested in their SATs exams in the final year of primary schools. 

It’s vital that pupils are supported to understand key concepts for their age group at this stage. Only 28% of pupils with low attainment at Key Stage 2 go on to achieve a pass in English and maths at GCSE. 

Volunteering in primary schools might also include supporting arts and crafts, physical education, music and performing arts, reading and library time or assemblies and special events.

Volunteering in secondary schools

Secondary school pupils are aged between 11 and 16 years. Their sights will be on their GCSE exams at the end of their final year. 

A passing grade in maths and English GCSEs opens doors to future opportunities like further education or employment. In 2022, just 48% of disadvantaged pupils (pupils from low-income backgrounds) passed both subjects, compared to 76% of their non-disadvantaged peers.

As well as academic subjects, secondary school pupils will also work on personal development and life skills, such as career guidance and mental health awareness. They’ll also have the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports teams, clubs and volunteering opportunities.

Why volunteer in schools?

Here are some benefits of that will make you want to jump on the volunteer bandwagon:

  • Individualised attention: With volunteer assistance, pupils can receive more individualised attention and support, helping them to grasp concepts they might be struggling with in a class of 30. 
  • High-fives and happy faces: By volunteering in schools, you’ll have the opportunity to be showered with high-fives, and maybe even a drawing or two.
  • Diverse skill sets: Volunteers bring a wide range of skills and expertise to schools. They can offer new perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. For instance, professionals from different fields can share their expertise, helping pupils to understand real-world applications of what they learn in class.
  • Witnessing “aha!” moments: Imagine this – a pupil in your group has been struggling with a maths problem, and suddenly, a light bulb goes off in their head. These moments are priceless!
  • Community connections and new friendships: Volunteering in schools introduces you to a community of fellow volunteers, teachers, and staff. You can build connections with like-minded individuals, share anecdotes, and create memories that will make you giggle for years to come.
  • Positive role models: Volunteers often serve as positive role models for pupils. They can inspire and motivate students by sharing their personal stories, accomplishments, and life experiences. 
  • Make an impact: As small as your contribution may seem, the impact on the pupils you support will be huge.

Requirements for volunteering in schools

Some schools may have age restrictions for volunteers. They may require volunteers to be at least 18 years old or have a minimum age requirement to ensure maturity and suitability for working with students.

Most schools require volunteers to undergo a background check. This typically involves providing personal information for a criminal record check. They may also request references to vouch for your character, reliability, and suitability for working with children.

Depending on the volunteer role, schools may require specific training or certifications. For example, if you’re volunteering as a sports coach, you may need to have appropriate coaching certifications or qualifications.

Lastly, schools may have expectations regarding the time commitment from volunteers to ensure consistency for their pupils. They may ask for a certain number of hours per week or request a commitment for a specific duration, such as a full academic year.

How to apply for a volunteering position in school

To apply for a volunteer position at a school, you can: 

  • Contact their office directly, if you know which school you’d like to volunteer in.
  • Research external organisations in your area of interest, and let them connect you with a local school. For example, you could search “tutoring in my area”, “mentoring in my area” or “children’s sport support in my area”. 

Volunteer in schools with Action Tutoring

At Action Tutoring, we work with both primary and secondary state schools to deliver tutoring programmes for pupils in Years 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 in English and maths. 

We specifically help pupils facing socio-economic disadvantage who are at risk of leaving primary or secondary school without reaching national standards in their exams.

By volunteering for just one hour a week, you can support disadvantaged pupils to build their confidence and help ensure they leave school with the grades needed to build a bright future.