Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh)

Established in 2008, ARCh is a highly regarded, multiple award-winning Oxfordshire charity. It has proven track record of obtaining results after one year of twice weekly support for children via vetted, trained, resourced and supported reading helper volunteers

Educational Attainment
Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh)


Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh) helps pupils in Oxfordshire who struggle with their reading. They send trained volunteers into primary schools and aim to inspire in the children we see a love of reading. This will enhance their lives and improve their life chances.

The Challenge

There has been a more significant decline in reading levels in Oxfordshire at Key Stage 1 than at Key Stage 2.  There has been a decrease from 77% to 69% in pupils reaching the expected standard in teacher-assessed (TA) reading, and of these a decrease from 27% to 21% in those meeting the higher standard.


ARCh is currently supporting around 120 out of 269 primary schools in Oxon. They always prioritise schools in most disadvantaged areas. There are currently 46 schools on waiting list – some in areas of high level deprivation where we should definitely be supporting in numbers. Some would like multiple volunteers.

ARCh can play key part in levelling up for children – there is much research evidence that these children, particularly the youngest (now at KS1 stage) suffered the most during the period of school closures due to the pandemic and their own school survey in summer 2022 confirmed this.

OIEP will work with ARCh to help deliver the expansion which would need to be in partnership with 3 main stakeholders, Schools, Volunteers and major employers and would be through investment, involvement and expansion:

1) Investment in staff/volunteers and core team capacity including volunteer recruitment and retention in areas targeted for growth to establish sufficient capacity and infrastructure with the organisation to deliver expansion of schools programme delivered in and volunteers to go into the schools

2) Involvement of employers, schools and other partners with firm financial commitment

3) Expansion into target areas and/or schools to expand the delivery and reach/impact of the project

Visit ARCh's interactive map which shows the schools that ARCh are supporting and where volunteers are needed.

Find out more

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