FAQs for schools

These are the questions most frequently asked by schools joining the scheme.  If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us by email or telephone. 

How many volunteers can we ask for?

There is no limit to the number of volunteers you can request. ​


Who are Schoolreaders volunteers?

We recruit volunteers from the community around each school.  They are not required to have any qualifications other than a good command of English, however many are retired teachers and professionals.  All of them have a desire to put something into their local community, they enjoy helping children and they have committed to a minimum of a year's volunteering.  ​


What age are volunteers?

Our volunteers range from 18 to 92, and the majority are of retirement age. ​


Are the volunteers trained?

Schoolreaders does not train volunteers because our partner schools use them to help children from a wide range of age groups and with a wide range of reading ability.  We therefore ask our partner schools to provide the guidance and training necessary for each volunteer.  Where a volunteer asks us for training, we are able to direct them to additional online resources, such as phonics and safeguarding training, however this is unsupported and should not be seen as a replacement for your own training if you are able to offer it to your volunteers. ​


On what days and at what times will volunteers be available?

Once we have identified a potential volunteer for your school and checked that they are happy with the match, you will be sent their profile information.  

This will include details of their availability.  Most volunteers visit their school once a week for about two hours. 

How long will the volunteers commit to volunteering for?

We ask volunteers to commit to a minimum of a year.  Many of our volunteers who joined the scheme when it started in 2013 are still volunteering with us.

What facilities should we provide for volunteers?

We ask that our volunteers are treated with consideration and given access to appropriate facilities in a comfortable environment.  In particular, please ensure that they have somewhere comfortable to sit, on an adult-sized chair. We also ask that our volunteers are made to feel welcome and a part of the school community.


Do the volunteers have training in safeguarding?

Schoolreaders does not provide safeguarding training, but schools agree on registration to undertake this as necessary and ensure volunteers are aware of the school's policy.

Will the volunteers know they need a DBS check?

Yes, they are aware that the school will conduct an Enhanced DBS check, prior to them starting in school. The volunteers agree to the school informing Schoolreaders when this has been successfully completed. The Enhanced DBS check is a requirement, if a volunteer is already registered on the DBS update service, the school will still need to check the certificate using this service. https://www.gov.uk/dbsupdate-service.


Does the school have to pay for the DBS check?

The vast majority of our partner schools offer to pay for the volunteers' DBS checks, given the benefit that they are receiving in return. ​


Is this a free service?

Yes.  Our partner schools do however generally undertake to pay for the volunteers' DBS checks if necessary and any training they feel will be required.  ​


Who should we contact to discuss a volunteer?

You will be given a contact at Schoolreaders central office who is there to support you on an on-going basis and answer any queries and help with any situations that might arise.