Classroom helpers volunteer to assist teachers on a regular basis, usually in primary schools. They help with tasks like listening to pupils read. Reading practice is very labour-intensive, and helpers can make a big difference to teachers and children.
Classroom helpers are often, but not always, parents of children at the school and are not the same as classroom assistants, who are paid staff.
Classroom helpers usually commit to spending regular slots of time in school each week. This time can vary from half an hour to half a day at most.
Many schools prefer not to put you in your child’s class because they consider it disruptive for your child, and possibly unfair to classmates whose parents can’t volunteer.
Classroom helpers make a big difference in improving standards. Even if you’re not helping in your child’s class, research shows that having a parent who volunteers improves a child’s experience of school. This may be because you’re more ‘plugged in’ to school and know what goes on during their day. It’s a great way to get behind the scenes.
Being a classroom helper is only one way to volunteer at your child’s school. There are other things you can do that don’t require a regular commitment.
Teachers often ask for parent volunteers to help with school trips. However, as with being a classroom helper, you probably won’t be looking after your own child directly. Schools also ask parents to help with drama productions or with one-off events at the school.
Another way you can help is by offering your skills. For example, your work experience may be useful to share with pupils at some point in the curriculum - again, not necessarily in your child’s year.