Department of History

Schools volunteering project

Each year more than 50 history students volunteer in primary and secondary schools across Nottingham, delivering history lessons and after-school clubs through our schools volunteering project.

We mainly work with primary schools located in disadvantaged communities, with low levels of participation in higher education.

Through the delivery of in-school history sessions, the project aims to increase educational aspiration and opportunities for children and young people in these communities. 

History presentation given to primary school children


How does the project work?

The scheme is jointly organised by the student History Society, the Department of History and the university’s Widening Participation team.

It runs in two six-week blocks each year (October-December and February-April). This requires a time commitment of 2-3 hours per week and time to plan your sessions as a group. Students are placed in small groups (4-5) at the start of the project to work collaboratively as a team.

Each project is unique, and student contributions are tailored to meet the curriculum needs of the participating school. Past topics have included:

  • Ancient Greece
  • The Vikings
  • World War One
  • Windrush
  • Migration

Why take part?

As a volunteer, you will gain direct experience of supporting children’s learning in a school environment. You will also be encouraged to think about your subject in a different way and be challenged to convey it creatively to young people.

You can:

  • Gain valuable work experience for your CV
  • Try out teaching and see if it's for you
  • Share your passion for history and give back to the community
  • Develop your skills - from planning and organisation, to leadership and management

Will I need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

No, you are not required to undertake an enhanced DBS check. This is because you will be supervised at all times by a teacher whilst working on the project.

What training and support will I get?

There are two compulsory training sessions to prepare you for your placement. You must attend this training if you want to volunteer.

Information will be provided on topics such as working in a school environment, expectations of volunteers, child protection, planning and delivering a session and information specifically relevant to each project. It will also be an opportunity to meet the group you will be working with.

There is also a third optional training session on lesson planning, which gives you an opportunity to plan lessons in your project group.

Support is available on an ongoing basis from George Davis (History Society Welfare Secretary), Lauren Robinson (Widening Participation Team) and Joe Merton (Department of History). Feedback and queries are welcomed throughout all stages of the project.

Project feedback

From our students

The project allowed me to gain confidence and realise that the career I wished to pursue was teaching.

I was able to gain useful experience which aided me in being accepted onto a PGCE course.


From schools

The children loved working with the students. They hot seated characters from Goodnight Mr Tom; they worked out clues about the owners of various bags of belongings; they acted as reporters using WW2 photos and they devised their own rationing. This was hands-on history and the children loved it. 

Get involved

Whether you are a history student at Nottingham, or a teacher who'd like to take part and work with our students, please use the contact details below:

Email Dr Joe Merton (Widening Participation and Schools Liaison Officer)

Or, you can call Joe on +44 (0)115 951 5938.

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details