UCS holds a deep-rooted connection with the local community and is committed to maintaining strong links with partner primary and secondary schools as well as local charitable organisations. So much time and energy goes into compiling a partnerships and community programme for our Sixth Form that is at once comprehensive and inspiring. It is an invitation for all members of the Sixth Form to go and make a positive difference to the society they are part of – by taking advantage of the opportunity to spend one afternoon a week volunteering.

There are many placements on offer, including local primary, secondary and specialist schools, in addition to food banks, sports coaching, charity shops and care homes. Every pupil gets involved in this programme and their work at over 30 charitable bodies is highly regarded. They develop a number of skills and their contributions are greatly valued by both the pupils themselves and the charities.

Our Sixth Formers also have an ongoing partnership with a local food bank, collecting more than three tonnes of food annually. On an international front, meanwhile, there is the chance to volunteer on overseas trips to Romania and India, where – until the pandemic struck – our students had some deeply affecting but wonderful experiences.

Currently, Year 12 and Year 13 pupils dedicate their Friday afternoons for a term to local community-based projects. Their endeavours include working in tandem with Age UK Camden to produce PPE, establish a pen-pal scheme with care-home residents, and perform in weekly online lunchtime concerts. Another group channel their creativity into writing and illustrating short stories intended for young children at local primary schools.

Meanwhile, contributing to the open-source collaborative project Missing Maps is a popular option, with pupils helping to digitally map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of people; our pupils have mapped over a thousand buildings and hundreds of miles of roads from Tanzania to Bangladesh. Sixth Formers have also led the production of Christmas cards for the charity Cards of Care to send to care-home residents.

Voices and Views

“We foster in our students a sense of social responsibility alongside respect for the individual. Pupils are taught humanity, understanding and empathy, which will enable them to be positive, contributing members of society in the future.”

Mark Beard Headmaster

“We are so inspired by the UCS team spirit. It is clear that they pour their hearts and souls into a project – and they also make a stranger smile.”

Nicci Menashe Cards of Care

“We promote activism and advocacy, with the Sixth Form Union being a prime example. This runs events to develop representation for under-represented identities as well as organising fundraisers.”

Rebecca Baxter Assistant Head (Head of Sixth Form)

“Pupils' social awareness prompts them to make notable contributions to the school community and to the wider world. Their service has included contributing over three tonnes of food to North Paddington Food Bank and a large sum to charity projects.”

Independent Schools Inspectorate ISI Inspection Report, November 2021

“With volunteering, we did a survey and the school matched us with an opportunity that would suit our personalities. Everything is tailored to the individual, which makes everyone's experience unique.”

Ellie Afek UCS pupil, 2021–2023