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Reading University Partnership

Students in Schools

The 'Students in Schools' scheme places student volunteers in local schools, to help school children raise aspirations and encourage them to continue into higher education. University students develop their personal and employability skills. The scheme has been established for over 20 years and each year several hundred students visit over 40 local schools including primary, secondary and special schools.


We are very pleased to have been working alongside the University of Reading in their 'Students in Schools' scheme since 2016. Over the last 7 years, we have had about 100 students who have come into school to provide additional support in the classroom, this year we already have 10! Typically, we welcome around 25 students each year.


The students are placed in every year group across the school, so children in all classes will be supported by them at some stage. As well as students gaining valuable experience in communicating their knowledge and ideas, they improve their self-confidence. Teachers welcome the extra help and the children enjoy having a new face in the classroom.


Typically, they will make 10 weekly visits of 1 or 2 hours during the Autumn and Spring term due to exams in the Summer term, however many students decide to stay longer.  This year we have a student who decided to return for a second year.

With around 150 languages spoken in schools in the area, Reading’s international students are perfectly placed to support children with little-to-no English. This year we are lucky enough to have volunteers who can help our new arrivals from overseas. We have Arabic, Cantonese, Polish, Russian and more  working with our children in their native language and helping them learn English.


We have discovered over the years, that both the students and the children benefit. The students learn to be responsible and caring while guiding the children in their learning. For the children it exposes them to different viewpoints and role models, motivating them to think about their own futures. These visits also provide a supportive environment where the students can learn from teaching younger children, helping them grow academically and personally.


The students contribute in lots of ways to support the children. Whether that be assisting in the classroom with various classroom activities such as listening to children read, supporting small group activities or offering one to one support to children who need extra help. The support given to our EAL children is invaluable. We had one child who very rarely spoke, who after working with one of the students, gained the confidence to start communicating with the other children in their class. When the children see the enthusiasm and passion the students have for their chosen field, it inspires them to pursue higher education and they believe that anything is possible.

Mrs McIlwain 


We look forward to continuing to work alongside the University of Reading.



My name is Alfie and I have been volunteering at Coley Primary School as part of the Students in Schools' Programme for almost two years. I am studying languages at Reading University and I am secretary for the Music Society. I play the saxophone, piano and drums and I also sing. I have been volunteering in year 1 and have really enjoyed getting to know the children and helping them progress. I find it very rewarding. Every day I visit is different and it feels like I am making a difference. The Coley team have made me feel so welcome and I look forward to visiting every week. The children are amazing and their passion for learning is infectious. I love learning alongside the children and sharing my own experiences with them.

Celebrating University of Reading Volunteers

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April 2024 - We are very grateful for all the support the students give us in school. Every year, the university hold a 'Celebration of Volunteering' event and this year one of our lovely volunteers, Alfie, who works in Year 1 with Miss Page was nominated and won. We are delighted for her and think it is very well-deserved.