Our pupils take an active part in the world around us.

Through volunteering, we encourage our pupils to take an active part in the world in which they live. This community service fosters our pupils’ sense of responsibility and self-esteem, whilst providing an important insight into social patterns and ways of life.

We believe all at Highgate have a moral responsibility to play a full part in the life of the local community, and that our participation can benefit the community, ourselves and our School.


Hours spent by pupils volunteering in 2019-20 during Duke of Edinburgh training.

Volunteering activities


  • Years 7 and 8

    Pupils in Year 7 and 8 take part in community-based volunteering projects during Thursday lunchtimes. 

    These included Community Reading, in which pupils visit a local primary school and support a child with their reading. Our pupils mentored the same children for an entire term, meaning they have a genuine impact and can see the progress their mentees are making. Another of these options was Play Leaders. This option gave pupils the opportunity to visit a local primary school and plan exciting sporting activities for the children there. This provision is highly valued by our partner schools. Their children benefit greatly from the interaction with Highgate pupils, who help them develop key team-building and leadership skills. 

  • Year 9

    In Year 9, pupils spend a day per term fully dedicated to volunteering at local events as part of our Community Day initiative. This programme meant that every pupil in the year group gave a day of their time in 2019-2020. Activities ranged from helping at a soup kitchen, supporting the functions of a food bank, or assisting in a local primary school. These projects gave the pupils a sense of independence, empathy and allowed them to understand how good it feels to ‘give back’ through helping others.

    Year 9 pupils also take part in our Be The Change initiative, which sees each tutor group independently select a charitable cause to support and collaboratively plan how to raise money and awareness, and contribute time. This project culminates in a day of action where our pupils carry out their planned activities.

  • Year 10

    Our Year 10 pupils continue the volunteering started in Year 9 and focus some of their efforts on environmental causes. In the summer, all pupils take part in an environmental day of action. Activities range from developing and maintaining outdoor spaces in local primary schools to clearing and revitalising local areas of diversity and natural beauty with a view to protecting and maintaining our local environment and ecosystems.

    Many pupils from Year 10 onwards also take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Each iteration of this award requires evidence of a long period of consistent volunteering.

  • Sixth Form

    Many of our Year 12 choose to work as student mentors with our Chrysalis Partnership teachers. This year, activities included assisting in the delivery of clubs involving children from local primary schools and School charity formed to help those impacted during Covid-19. This year also saw significant involvement in the Haringey, North London and London sections of Citizens UK, a people power alliance of diverse local communities working together for the common good. By taking part, our pupils learn the power of community organising and collaborate with their peers to work towards a better, fairer society. The group, which grew from 6 to 60 pupils over the course of the year, led a wide range of activities, including hustings in the run up to the 2019 General Election and the (eventually postponed) London Mayoral Elections and the creation of a range of anti-racist and Black Lives Matter-related materials with pupils from LAET for self-education in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. 

  • Staff volunteering

    Highgate staff support our partnership work by giving up their time, and sharing their expertise, on projects and activities with our partner schools and local community.

  • Parent volunteering

    There are different ways in which our parents and carers volunteer at partnership schools. For example, our “Better Reading Partners” initiative sees volunteers spend an hour (or more) reading with children at local state schools. This helps primary, secondary and special needs pupils develop a love of literature, whilst consolidating key reading skills. This project is highly rewarding for volunteers and has contributed to a rise in reading standards for children. Could you make a regular weekly commitment at one of our partner schools? Our Chrysalis Partnership Programme team would love to hear from you!


It is wonderful to see that Highgate reaches out to schools in the wider community. —Highgate Senior School parent