Our staff volunteer for a range of roles in primary schools, from listening to pupils read to painting the playground. We’re making a difference to hundreds of children through these initiatives.
This programme provides one-to-one support to help improve reading ability and build confidence in younger children.
Before they start on the programme, staff are fully trained in reading techniques and address issues around safeguarding and working in schools. Volunteers commit to giving 30 minutes per week for a term at a time, going at the same time every week which helps build trust and makes the children feel more comfortable.
We have relationships with over 30 primary schools across the network, and have a constant stream of volunteers preparing for their placements.
At the end of term, we have lots of great feedback from both teachers and volunteers which gives real meaning to our programme. Not only are we making a difference to the lives of the pupils, but our staff enjoy it too.
Doing something worthwhile
IT Engineer, Guy, reads with his own daughter as much as he can at home. He wanted to share this passion for reading with other children who might not get the opportunity.
'‘I think reading and literacy are important whatever you’re doing in life. For me it’s nice to go and do something worthwhile and see the results. I’ve been working with two very different boys in Year 4. One is behind in his reading but tries hard and with encouragement, he’s making real progress. The other can read quite well, when he tries, but keeping his focus is the hard part. He’d rather be running round the playground! I think it’s good for both of them to see me, a chap in business, reading for fun – and enjoying it!’'
Our volunteers work with small groups of primary school children playing fun number-based games, improving skills and boosting their confidence in class.
Before they start on the programme, staff have training on running the sessions and address issues around safeguarding and working in schools. During the 30 minutes sessions, volunteers work on skills that the school have suggested. Games can be based on basic adding and subtraction, and multiplication. Volunteers often adapt games like Monopoly to show the kids that numbers are not just in a text book, but can be used in real life and in fun situations too.
Over the years, we’ve also developed a ‘Fun with Numbers’ session - like our Number Partner programme, but on a larger scale. These one-off sessions give our volunteers the chance to work with an entire class. The children move around the classroom, playing a different number-based game with different volunteers. The kids have nicknamed these sessions ‘maths parties’ because they’re great fun for everyone involved.
An eye-opening experience
Sarah, who works in Marketing, volunteered to help out with the number sessions. She was enlightened by the whole experience.
'‘It was an absolute privilege to work with these children. It really opened my eyes to the challenges that some children and families face when it comes to numbers. It was great to be involved and I would recommend it to any school or volunteers to help as many children on their way as we can.’'
We run these sessions at our training centre in Economic House and try to bring maths to life for up to 30 kids at a time. The kids meet a Branch Manager, a Customer Service Specialist and a Customer Service Assistant and find out how they each use maths in their roles.
The children watch a short presentation about the Society, explaining how it all began, and what we do today, before they go on a tour of the High Street branch.
We let the kids use our training facilities in a ‘mock’ branch and they learn what skills it takes to become a Customer Service Assistant. They process transactions and balance their till – just like a real member of the team. This is one of the most popular sessions we run and it’s a great way to ignite a passion in our potential future staff members.
Throughout the year, our volunteers deliver ‘money-based’ sessions in schools. They use topical and relevant subjects to make it interesting and useful for the children. We use a range of interactive sessions to show pupils how to make better financial choices, learn about value for money, and how to protect themselves against fraud.
This isn’t your standard budgeting lesson. In one session, the school pupils were asked to choose how to spend £1 million creating their very own zoo. In small groups, the children select everything they need from a shopping list, taking into account the cost of the animals, and their upkeep. They’re also asked to work out how they can make money and make the zoo sustainable – it’s a fun way of learning how to work to a budget.
Away from the classroom, we also have volunteers who want to make a difference by enhancing the physical environment of the school. So far, we’ve helped to create wildlife gardens including the construction of bug hotels, developed a pond-life area for science lessons, painted fences, planted vegetable patches, pulled weeds, and cleared bramble. You name it, we’ve done it. We’re more than happy to roll up our sleeves and create safe outdoor spaces for children to enjoy at school.
Join the fun
Do you work at or represent a primary school that's within reach of one of our branches? We'd love to help you make maths fun or use our volunteering time to benefit your school.
Get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org