Volunteer to be a 500 Words Judge

Last year's 500 Words competition attracted over 120,000 incredible stories from children throughout the UK. In 2016, we hope to receive even more entries. Would you like to help us find this year's winning stories?

Participating judges will automatically be entered into a draw and 25 randomly chosen people will receive a pair of tickets to attend the live broadcast of the 500 Words final.

Please read the competition Terms and Conditions before volunteering.

Before You Start

Before you volunteer to be a judge, there are a few things you need to check.


Are you eligible?

We're looking for teachers or librarians (and retired teachers or librarians) to help during the first round of judging in our 500 Words competition. If you judged last year AND opted in to be a future judge for 500 Words, there's no need to re-apply!


Are you available?

Volunteers will be asked to read a batch of about 30 stories, each one no more than one A4 side, which we will send to you in early March 2016. You'll need to read and score these stories by Thursday 19th March.

Please consider whether you will have sufficient free time in March before volunteering.


Who can confirm your application?

Please provide contact details below for someone who can validate your application.

This should be a manager (e.g. Head Teacher, Deputy, or Head of Department) who can vouch for your professional eligibility and confirm they are happy for you to volunteer your time. (If you are retired or on a career break, please use your last boss or someone you deem qualified to vouch for you.)

Please fill out the form below to volunteer. Fields marked * are mandatory.

Please check the information below and re-submit your entry

Your Details


If you would like to volunteer, please enter details about yourself in this section.

If you are selected to be a competition judge, we will use this information to send you further instructions.

Please try to provide a personal email address to which you have easy access.

Your Place Of Work

If you are retired or on a career break, please give us details of your last place of work or another relevant organisation connected to your career.


During the judging process, we will use this information when selecting which stories to allocate to you.

To avoid any potential bias, judges will not be asked to read stories written by children based in their own region.

Your Referee

Please provide details of someone who can confirm your eligibility as a teacher/librarian.


Please ask permission from your referee before sharing their contact details with us.

We will use this information to contact the person you nominate and check that you are eligible to act as a judge in this competition.

The information you provide will be held by the BBC and will not be passed to any third party. It will be used only for the purposes of participation in the 500 Words Competition. For more details, please see the BBC's Privacy Policy.

Having problems?

We're here to help. If you're having any trouble completing this form, please visit our help page where your question may be answered.

Extra Judging

If you need any assistance, try our help page.