As part of the Challoner’s Baccalaureate, sixth formers are encouraged to complete weekly volunteering placements. This allows all of us students to devote some of our time and effort to the local community, benefiting not just those they help but aiding our growth as individuals.

I, alongside many others, have chosen to volunteer at one of our local primary schools, during which, we dedicate some time to assisting in the classroom and playing an active role in the education of the students.

Personally, I help a year 5 class with their guided reading and times tables. Usually, they read me an excerpt from their reading book, and we discuss some aspects of the story or go through new or challenging vocabulary. Getting to hear about the students’ books and learning about some of the stories they like, while also helping them expand their knowledge and skills, is something that I have come to love over the past few weeks. Additionally, I help out by testing them on their times tables and division skills.

Other students volunteering at the primary schools have assisted with some more festive activities. For example, in the last week before the Christmas holidays, some partook in gingerbread making with the class - helping the younger children measure the ingredients before rolling and shaping the dough. Volunteers also sometimes help with other special class activities, such as sewing or producing colourful posters for the display boards.

Although I help out with a KS2 class, there are volunteers are assigned to younger years, such as reception classes. This often includes helping out with handwriting: tracing the outlines of letters and words with the younger children to improve their writing skills. The children are often excited to engage with the helpers, discussing their weekends or school life in general. It is rewarding to see their handwriting progress each week and their enthusiasm in these sessions.

Over the past few months of volunteering, many Challoner’s students have found the experience highly fulfilling. Volunteering, overall, can help improve time-management skills and emotional well-being outside of the classroom. Helping at primary schools allows many volunteers to meet new people, learn new skills, and develop a feeling of accomplishment and pride, so I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers that made primary school volunteering possible for sixth-formers!