york students
in schools

1994 to 2024 and beyond

What is YSIS?

Since 1994, York Students in Schools (YSIS) has connected hundreds of student volunteers with local schools and nurseries to help raise aspirations and attainment of school-age students in York. 

Set up by students, YSIS is an award-winning scheme in which students volunteer at local schools and nurseries to help support both teachers and pupils. Those who take part have the opportunity to gain significant work experience for their professional and personal development. 

60 schools


420,000 hours volunteered

aims and values

The YSIS programme seeks to support teaching and learning across the city, building school-age students’ confidence in study skills and improving attitudes towards education.

YSIS primarily works with disadvantaged school-age students in York, but we aim to ensure all school-age students in the city are able to reach their full potential. Our volunteering opportunities are designed to provide additional support to schools and nursery settings, whilst enabling our student volunteers to be role models and build their own mentoring skills and confidence.

“Through three decades, we've been catalysts for change, elevating pupil aspirations and providing invaluable experiential learning opportunities for students
Louise Thurston, Associate Director of Careers and Employability and YSIS Coordinator 2009 to 2011

A variety of placements
on offer

Most of our placements involve volunteering for half a day each week for 10 weeks, but some involve volunteering full-time over a shorter period. We offer different placements to suit a range of interests, such as Classroom Assistants, GCSE Maths and English Tutors, and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Support Assistants.

We also offer Speech and Language placements, thanks to our partnership with the City of York Council’s Early Talk for York programme, where volunteers have the chance to support pupils one-to-one. 

Outside the classroom, we facilitate Maths Excellence Club coaching placements to support the York Mathematical Excellence Club, an extracurricular activity delivered by the York Independent State School Partnership.

Seeing the confidence grow in the students I have been helping and them have a positive experience of school has been immensely rewarding, I have really enjoyed this placement.”
Student volunteer with YSIS

Get involved with YSIS

By becoming a YSIS volunteer, you can help make a difference to the lives of young people in York. The programme is open to all students, and is a great chance to gain valuable work experience for any future career.

Visit our Handshake page or sign-up to our mailing list to learn more about applying.

Celebrating our work
so far

For the 30th anniversary of YSIS, we want to celebrate the past, present and future of the programme. As part of these celebrations, we've put together a timeline of the incredible work we’ve achieved up to now. 



  • YSIS is founded by Allen Warren, Vanbrugh College Provost, following a trial project initiated by Robert Partridge, a biology postgraduate student.

    “Initially, there was much suspicion from head teachers and some teaching unions, which the students dispelled by their commitment and enthusiasm. The scheme was, we believe, the first in the UK and has been widely replicated in one form or another. It brings great credit to York and the University as pioneers, in terms of community engagement”
    - Allen Warren, founder of YSIS


  • The YSIS Steering Group is created, bringing together members from across the educational community in York to determine the future of YSIS


  • The first newsletter, YSIS news, is produced and sent to partner schools and our student volunteers


  • YSIS celebrates its 10th anniversary

YSIS enters its second decade


  • YSIS volunteering hits a milestone as 600 volunteers complete a placement in this year



Three decades of YSIS


  • YSIS GCSE Tutoring programme launches, offering Maths and English tuition to Year 11 pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium funding


  • The Covid-19 pandemic begins and YSIS responds by providing teacher resource packs to support pupils during lockdowns 



  • Girls Enrichment and Motivation for Success (GEMS) project relaunches at Millthorpe School
  • YSIS celebrates its 30th anniversary
“Our partnership with YSIS has lasted the test of time with hundreds of students supporting our children throughout the years. This landmark 30 years is an opportunity to express our gratitude to all the volunteers who have selflessly given their time to help young, enthusiastic learners at our school”
Matt Brown, Headteacher at Osbaldwick Primary Academy
“I am extremely proud of the profound impact our volunteering programme, York Students in Schools (YSIS), has had over the last three decades. Our alumni and current volunteers continue to be a source of inspiration, delivering positive change within our school communities. Congratulations to all who have contributed to this remarkable journey”
Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor of the University of York

Share your story

As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we’re inviting past and present YSIS volunteers to share their experiences and stories of volunteering with YSIS. 

If you want to share how YSIS is, or has been, a part of your life, please fill in this form.

A chance to say
thank you

We want to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers, the schools and nurseries YSIS supports, our partners and particularly The Shepherd Group for their ongoing funding support for the programme. 

“Many thanks and congratulations to you all.
We have come a long way in the last thirty years. Throughout the whole period the scheme has had support from the Shepherd Group, which should be acknowledged”
Allen Warren, founder of YSIS

Keep in touch

Follow us on social media

Instagram @uoyvolunteering
X @UoY_YSIS for teachers
X @UoYVolunteering for student volunteers

Get involved with ysis

Find out when applications open for our volunteering programmes by visiting our Handshake page.

send us an email

If you have any questions, drop us an email ysis@york.ac.uk