Guidance: Number/Reading partner


Becoming a reading or a number partner

Many primary schools are already using reading and number partner schemes and highly rate their impact upon pupils. A reading or number partner works with pupils in primary schools to improve their basic literacy and numeracy skills. It offers volunteers the chance to directly influence pupils’ learning at an early age, offering them individual support. There are many ways to get involved, with various time commitments – such as one-off readathons or fortnightly 30-minute maths sessions at a local primary.

Reading partner schemes link up volunteers with individual and groups of pupils children to support the work of the school in improving basic reading skills. At KS1, many teachers find that reading partners simply listening to pupils read can make a big difference, particularly key for those who don’t get any get limited reading practice at home.¬†By using adult volunteers, who might talk to pupils about their favourite book or why reading and writing is so important at work, positive learning messages can be reinforced and aspirations raised.

When volunteers sign up for Primary Futures through Inspiring the Future they are asked if they would be interested in being approached by local schools to potentially act as a reading partner. We explain that this is may to mean a more regular commitment. This will be agreed between the school and volunteer.

As a teacher looking to launch a reading partner scheme, Primary Futures Inspiring the Future is a quick, efficient way to find and contact potential volunteers.

This free service links up responsible adult volunteer who are willing to become reading partners with schools who are looking for some additional reading help for their pupils.

Through Inspiring the Future’s online platform you can search for volunteers in your area who are willing to get involved in a reading partnership scheme. You can contact them directly and discuss exactly what kind of scheme you would like to run and how they can get involved. They will be untrained adult volunteers who are willing to commit time to provide extra reading support to pupils.

There are various ways of running reading partnership schemes and a scheme might include:

  • A one-off event, such as a sponsored “readathon”, where volunteers commit to one day or a few hours over a week to meet with a pupil
  • Extended reading partnerships, where a volunteer attends for 30 minutes to an hour
    weekly or fortnightly to work with the same pupil on their reading
  • Monthly group reading sessions, where a group of volunteers come to hear the pupils read, after school or at lunchtime

Some volunteers will have more flexibility than others; some will be happy to commit to a weekly meeting, and others will only be able to attend one-off events. It may depend on their work commitments, and in some cases committing for extended periods of time will be difficult.

A DBS check (previously CRB) will not be needed if volunteers do not have unsupervised access to pupils ( see here for Ofsted’sguidance on DBS checks and safeguarding).

Number Partners

Number partner schemes usually consist of volunteers  being involved with number games or basic number based activities with primary school pupils children on an individual or group basis to help them improve and develop their core number basic numeracy skills and confidence.

Primary Futures Inspiring the Future helps to connect the teachers schools with responsible enthusiastic volunteers through the Inspiring the Future programme who are willing to give that extra help to pupils who need additional support to develop their numeracy skills.