Eton has a flourishing programme of volunteering activities in partnership with local schools, charities and other projects. These form an integral part of the co-curricular timetable of most boys in C Block (Year 12) and are now increasingly available to boys in other Blocks (year groups) as well.
An integral part of our co-curriculum focuses on providing boys with opportunities to engage with and give service to the local community. This includes activities based in Eton, Windsor, Slough, and sometimes further afield. Opportunities exist for boys in all Blocks, and boys are encouraged to develop their own service ideas with the support of our Social Action Mentor.
All boys in C Block (Year 12) are expected to take part in a service-oriented or public facing activity, normally one of either community engagement, the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), or admissions tours. The majority take part in a volunteering placement where they assist once a week during the Michaelmas Half (Autumn term), with further volunteering in the Lent Half (Spring term) and the option of continuing in the Summer Half. The service opportunities open to boys are highly varied, with the aim of both catering to boys’ strengths and interests and providing genuinely useful service to our local community. The Head of Community Engagement coordinates and oversees the volunteering placements, while also supporting boys and encouraging them to reflect on their volunteering experiences.
My communication and people skills have greatly improved, as I was thrust into an environment which forced me to help and communicate with strangers.Boy volunteer, library help
Volunteering placements include:
- Local schools (primary, middle, secondary), including Music in the Community, Latin club, chess club, debating club, maths mentoring, sports coaching, and general classroom assistance
- Charitable organisations in the community such as charity shops, elderly clubs and care homes, and Slough Mencap
- Community and cultural-based centres, such as libraries, arts centres, and the local tourist office
- Environmental projects, involving local environment and biodiversity enhancement, swan rescue, and environmental education
- Assisting with visits to our Eton College Collections and sport facilities, such as assisting with school visits to our museums and teaching rowing at Dorney Lake
boy hours are devoted to local volunteer work on average weekly.
In addition to the C Block programme, other service activities take place at various times during the school year involving boys of all ages. For example, younger boys have participated in joint art projects with other schools with the support of our art department, and boarding Houses host activities such as senior citizen tea parties. Boys assist with the Eton Town Council’s litter picks, and also help with harvest donations and Christmas goodie bag deliveries.
I gained a lot of patience, understanding of the most effective methods of teaching, empathy for my mentee, and practical skills as I improved my maths alongside him.Boy volunteer, maths mentoring
Running alongside our volunteering activities is a broad programme of events, assignments and prize competitions that develop boys’ community awareness, social literacy and service ethos. These include Social Impact Society talks, workshops to help boys prepare for volunteering, and moments during the school year when boys are asked to reflect on their service, in terms of what they have given and how they have gained personally through the experience.