Company Volunteering

ARCh and your company: a life-changing partnership

What is ARCh?

arch companyARCh is a registered charity which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work 1:1 with children in primary schools across the county. We have a growing network of over 240 volunteers working in over 100 Oxfordshire schools supporting more than 700 children every year. We always need more volunteers so that we can help even more children.

What could Company Volunteering bring to your organisation?

ARCh would like to invite your company to join the quest to build a nation of confident children, literate for life. Working in partnership will combine staff development with community outreach, using an established training and placement programme to achieve maximum impact in terms of staff development, staff morale and community perception. Companies invest £500 per employee, which covers initial and follow-up training, support, resources and introduction to a school. We promise an efficient, effective and flexible service to match your company’s needs and the needs of children in your local community.

What do ARCh volunteers do?

An ARCh Company volunteer visits a school once a week spending half an hour each with two children. The school selects children who they believe will benefit from the additional help of an ARCh volunteer. The child may be struggling with reading, lack language skills or have little confidence. The volunteer talks to the child, reads books and plays games supplied by ARCh.

Do ARCh Reading Helpers need qualifications or experience?

Our volunteers do not need particular qualifications or experience. They need to be patient, enjoy reading and have the appropriate interpersonal skills to help children and liaise with school staff. All volunteers must understand and observe our child protection and confidentiality policies.

What training and support do volunteers receive?

Our company training programme was specially developed with the Department of Education and the NSPCC. The quality and consistency of our service is unmatched in the field. We offer quality training, on-going professional advice, support and monitoring. We also provide a Disclosure and Barring Service check for every volunteer.

Once agreed ARCh will:

  • Arrange a staff presentation at a convenient time to explain the scheme in more detail to interested employees
  • Manage the volunteer recruitment process
  • Broker the relationship with local schools
  • Arrange ‘drop in sessions’ at a convenient time to help staff fill out the DBS forms and to conduct an informal interview
  • Train your employees on company premises
  • Organise introductory visits to the school
  • Provide ARCh book-boxes equipped with books and games to entice reluctant readers
  • Provide ongoing field support and follow-up training
  • Provide an evaluation of the impact of your scheme
  • Work with you in partnership to raise your company profile in the local community

arch team


What difference does ARCh make?

89% of children showed excellent or good improvement in attitude to reading after being supported by a volunteer for one year.

Schools say
“Seven of the children have made good or accelerated progress with regard to national curriculum levels. This is very positive for us as that group were chosen because few if any of them had been making expected progress.

I absolutely love having them (the volunteers) in school. They bring a rush of energy and ideas and fresh perspectives. Thank you for sending them our way!”
Pegasus Primary BBL Oxford

Companies say

“Oxford University Press has worked with ARCh for a number of years. Through the charity we organize for several of our employees to go into local schools each week. The impact of the project has been very positive – more than 40 employees have so far taken up the scheme, and they have been unanimously supportive – finding it both motivational and rewarding. I understand their involvement has also resulted in a significant improvement in the reading ability of the children they have worked with. The ARCh team are endlessly professional and show a real dedication to their activities. They have been flexible to the needs of our organisation and demonstrate a deep knowledge of the role of volunteers in improving education outcomes.”

Company volunteers say

“It is good to come away from the workplace for an hour or so, and do something rewarding. It has been a brilliant experience, I really enjoy going to the school. Thank you ARCh and OUP for the opportunity to do this in ‘work time’.

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ARCh Oxfordshire is the trading name of Assisted Reading for Children, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, company registration number 7962217, registered charity number 1146276. The company’s registered office address is:

Gobles Court, 7 Market Square, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 6AA | 01869 320380