New volunteers

We know we are needed more than ever as a result of the continuing impact of the pandemic on the lives, learning and, specifically, reading of many children.

We need new volunteers across the country – and are specifically looking for people who want to help schools give children a shorter-term ‘boost’ with their reading post-lockdown as well as continuing to seek those who are able to help children who need consistent support over a longer period.

Schools are very keen to have the benefits of one-to-one, in-school, support from our reading helpers again and we have adjusted our approach so that it can be as effective given the socially-distanced and Covid-safe norms of today

Our initial journey for new volunteers – from application to being introduced to your school or nursery – is now online: Find out more in Your journey with us.

Current volunteers

We appreciate that all of our reading helpers give their time freely, and are committed to their role and to the children they support. We also completely understand that while some reading helpers will feel ready – and eager - to return, some will be unsure, and some will not be ready to return in the near future.

We wouldn’t ever want our reading helpers to feel pressure to return before they feel able to do so, but we have worked hard to address people’s concerns so that a safe resumption can be made wherever possible.

We have produced written guidance to holding socially-distanced reading sessions here and have hosted online back to school sessions with our support team, with a follow up survey to ask the individual reading helper’s position. We are also collating questions and circulating a weekly FAQ document to all.

For those ready to return, we are asking that you make contact you’re your school to agree a suitable return date together.

For those unsure about returning, we will continue to check in with you at sensible intervals to see whether or not – in the light of changes to the overall Covid situation and your own circumstances - you are ready to return.

For those who know you are not ready to return yet, we ask you to stay linked in with our updates and let us know when you are ready to resume.

Wherever possible, we will seek to introduce a new reading helper to a school to provide support to children where a current reading helper is not yet ready to return.

Do schools want volunteers (back) right now?

We have agreed and communicated an extension to our usual service delivery period for this year to cover to the end of the summer term 2021.

We are aware that schools are facing the logistical challenge of a full and safe return of all children to school following the government guidelines.

However, the majority of our schools are very keen to have the benefits of one-to-one, in school, support from our reading helpers again and we have adjusted our approach so that it can be as effective given the socially-distanced and Covid-safe norms of today.

What about local lockdown and quarantine restrictions?

Where a local lockdown is enforced, we will expect our reading helpers and schools to follow the official guidance for the location.

If reading helpers travel and return from a country where a quarantine period has been imposed we expect them to follow the quarantine advice and inform their school that they will miss the amount of sessions that period covers.

Both of these situations are out of our control and although may cause frustration they will be something we will have to accommodate to comply with government guidance, and keep everyone safe.