Reference request for volunteers: guidance and templates

You should seek references for volunteers to help check their suitability to volunteer in your school. Download our template reference request forms and get advice on what to do if it's difficult to get references.

Last reviewed on 12 October 2021
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Ref: 30270
Contents
  1. You should do a risk assessment and seek references for volunteers
  2. Use our template reference request forms to contact referees 
  3. What to do if you have trouble getting references
  4. Other schools' approach

You should do a risk assessment and seek references for volunteers

Before letting a volunteer work at your school, you should do a written risk assessment to decide what checks are needed, including a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check. This is set out on page 76 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2022. The risk assessment should also cover:

  • The type of work with children and the level of supervision
  • What you already know about the volunteer, including what staff and parents can tell you 
  • Employment and other volunteering activities from which you can get references

Read our article on DBS checks for volunteers for further detail.

The DfE and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) told us you should seek references for volunteers who will be working with pupils in school on