If you're studying for our Accelerated Primary Education Studies degree, volunteering in a primary school is an ideal way to practice your new skills. Course leader John Parkin offers his advice for finding volunteer work.
Hi, I'm John, and I'm the Course Leader for the Accelerated BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies in Cambridge .A common question students have when they start on the course is: how do I find a school to volunteer in?
Why is important to volunteer in a school while studying on this course?
In lectures and seminars, you’ll be learning lots about how children learn, and volunteering is the best way of putting this knowledge into practice! By getting experience in a school, you’ll gain valuable skills that you can use when applying to Initial Teacher Education courses when you complete the degree.
So, how do you find a primary school to volunteer in?
Think about the people in your network. Maybe you have a friend or relative who works in a school who can help, or you might have volunteered in a school in the past? Alternatively, you might want to approach a school directly to see if they would let you volunteer.
If you want to find a school yourself, just search online for local schools in your area. Take a look at their websites to find out more about them, then contact the school you most like the look of using the school office email address on their website.
What should I write when emailing a primary school for the first time?
It is important to say that you are on a Primary Education Studies course and that volunteering in a school is important to your studies. Tell them why you want to volunteer in that particular school using the information you learned from the school website, and explain what makes you a good volunteer.
What happens next?
The school might invite you in for an interview and let you look around. Schools quite often ask for references before you start volunteering. It’ll be fine to ask your personal tutor at university to provide a reference.
It is important to bear in mind that the school might not get back to you straight away. Please do not take this personally. Schools are extremely busy places, so if you haven’t heard back after a week or so, you should email them again or give the school office a call. If you get stuck, your lecturers can help you find a school to volunteer in, as they have many contacts in the local area.
I hope you have found this blog interesting. Hopefully it gives you an idea of the practical skills we develop on the Accelerated BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies degree course!