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 31 July 2023See updates
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  1. It's good practice to request references from volunteers
  2. Download and adapt our template reference request forms
  3. Conduct a risk assessment
  4. What to do if you have trouble getting references
  5. Examples of school/trust approaches

It's good practice to request references from volunteers

While there's no legal requirement to get references, they can help you assess a potential volunteer's suitability for a role.

You should particularly seek references for volunteers who will be working with pupils in school on a regular basis. This advice came from the DfE and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). The organisation Entrust, which offers services to schools, advised that it’s good practice particularly when appointing regular volunteers. 

However, you can seek references for any volunteer.

References can be a better indication of good character or ability than a DBS check (see the section below), which will only indicate a criminal record. 

Download and adapt our template reference request forms

Workplace referees – for example, employers or colleagues Referees from the candidate's previous volunteering roles Referees who know the candidate in a

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