January 5, 2024, by Arts Placements

Vikings for Schools Volunteering Placement

By Abby Fortune

During the Autumn term I participated in the Vikings for Schools volunteer placement. The programme provided an opportunity to develop my own historical knowledge, meet like-minded peers, and deliver fun and engaging Viking days for school children. I found the placement to be very rewarding.


The application process involved answering questions including my reasons for applying and what I could bring to the engagement sessions. After studying the Vikings in my first-year, and continuing into my second, I was keen to share my knowledge.  During primary school I did not study the early medieval period despite its impact on English history, so I felt it important to help disseminate education surrounding this historically significant period. Before delivering the engagement sessions, all volunteers received training in the activity areas – runes, place names, hoards, and burials. Training days were very beneficial to my personal learning.   They were run by PhD students specialising in these areas who had extensive knowledge and answered any questions. We were also introduced to the best ways to present sessions to children, how to act in different scenarios and undertook safeguarding training. I felt very supported by the placement team and was confident and excited for my first engagement session.

On Placement

Before the main sessions began, myself and the other volunteers helped set up each activity.  We prepared our own knowledge and reviewed the detailed activity plan which offered a script to follow if we needed. Whilst engagement days focussed on the schools, the team sustained their support for volunteers throughout. One activity I ran with a partner was runes. The activity started by explaining the Viking alphabet and runes.  We paralleled Viking uses of writing to modern day examples like gravestones and for naming possessions. We also had a replica sword which the children found exciting, unsheathing it to reveal the runes inscribed. The main part of the activity involved deciphering a runestone using the runic alphabet, before the children wrote their own names in Viking runes. It was rewarding to teach the children and see their enthusiasm and interest grow. When they asked further questions, it highlighted the great impact Vikings for Schools has in the Nottingham community.

After thoughts

The placement was very beneficial and I would highly recommend Vikings for Schools to those interested in the education sector or the early medieval period in general. I furthered my own learning, and did so with peers who share similar interests making training sessions exciting and insightful. The placement helped to inspire children’s intrigue and their education. I learnt many transferable skills, working on group speaking, content presentation, responding quickly to situations, and adapting teaching to different types of learners. I found the placement increased my personal development, and also enabled me to give back to the wider community.

Posted in Community EngagementVolunteering