Every year a large number of our overseas students volunteer for the Students in Schools scheme.
The opportunity to spend time in a local primary or secondary school classroom offers hands-on experience of the English educational system as well as a great introduction to the UK, to Reading and to our culture and customs. Keen to get the most from the limited time here our overseas students are always some of our most enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers.
The scheme offers the opportunity to spend a couple of hours a week over a 10 week period helping a school class teacher in a range of subjects and activities such as:-
- Helping small groups in subjects such as maths, sciences, humanities, modern languages and arts
- Giving 1:1 support in the classroom to children who need extra help with a specific topic
- Spending time to listen to young children reading
- Joining in activities such as drama, music and sport
- Offering 1:1 language support to children who do not have English as their first language
Overseas students tell us their own language skills improve and their self-confidence increases. They also gain the sense of achievement that comes from engaging in a worthwhile activity which benefits the local community. All the time spent in school also counts towards the RED Award, the University of Reading’s employability skills award.
Here are a few comments from recent volunteers:
“It was a great break to help out in a different environment from university studies and the university environment. The school was very welcoming and I Improved my communication skills, and time management. It’s a great opportunity!”
“I had a lot of fun being a student tutor at this school and it was one of the most rewarding parts of my stay abroad in England! “
“The only advice that I would give to future students participating in this scheme is to have patience and give it your full effort; then only is it rewarding. If done half-heartedly, you will not feel like you are making much of a contribution or difference”
“Other skills I bettered along the way include, communication, organization, and decision-making. All these skills are transferable and will surely come in handy in many aspects of my life including any future jobs I may have”
” What surprises me was not only does this scheme benefit the children in school, but also provided a chance for me to learn from the children”
“The experience provided me the chance to get involved in the daily life of local people, which let me understand more about British culture and western life”
In past years we have been privileged to welcome volunteers from Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Luxembourg, LIthuania, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
Not only do our volunteers benefit from the experience the schoolchildren learn from the new cultural perspectives you bring to their classroom. Reading has a very wide ethnic mix in its schools with over 150 first languages spoken among its pupils. For a child with little or sometimes no English, help from someone who speaks their own language will be really appreciated.
There are 3 things you will need to participate in the scheme:-
Proof of previous good conduct
Everyone working with young children in whatever capacity has to be checked to ensure that they do not have any criminal record. In the UK you will need to apply for a DBS Check and this process will be explained to you during the training course.
We recommend you also bring a ‘certificate of good conduct’ with you which you can get locally before you leave for the UK. This certificate will be much easier to obtain in your home country and will prove useful while in the UK if you want to engage in any other voluntary activities with young people.
Details on how to get a Certificate of Good Conduct for all countries can be found in:
Getting a Certificate of Good Conduct for Overseas Applicants