A guide for employers working with schools
Businesses can find it difficult to engage and work with a school, often not knowing where to begin. It is fundamental to the success of students that businesses do share their knowledge, stories and many opportunities. We have provided some pointers to make the journey easier. A printable copy of this guide to employers working with schools is available at the bottom of this page.
This guide includes:
Finding the right contact
Not every school has a careers coordinator or careers advisor so if you are contacting schools or colleges you may find it easier to ask for the person responsible for careers.
When you have made contact with the teacher you will be working with it is important that you find out the best way to communicate with them – e.g. email/phone/text. Not all teachers have email or direct lines and their working hours may not be the same as yours. Establishing the best form of communication immediately is essential to a good working partnership.
- In front of pupils you should refer to the teaching staff by their title and surname unless they ask you otherwise.
- Dress for business, avoiding low cut tops and too much makeup/jewellery
- Where possible keep your valuables with you or avoid taking them into school.
- Ask permission to take photographs
- Ask permission before the lesson if you wish to give sweets, prizes etc
It is recommended that from the outset you work with the school contact to establish the need, expectations and learning outcomes that the teacher is hoping to meet. This will save any confusion later on. Where possible summarise your conversations to ensure that the key points have been interpreted correctly.
Do as you say
Timetables and deadlines are usually inflexible within a school environment; if you have agreed to meet/call at a set time ensure that you meet this time. A teacher will usually have to arrange cover to make appointments with you so it is important you notify them early with any problems.
Pupils sometimes react badly if they have been told that something will happen and then it is cancelled at short notice. A lot of students like consistency and will be looking forward to a visitor coming in and so can be quite disappointed if this is cancelled at the last minute.
Money and Resources
Teachers usually have a very limited budget and equipment, so do not make the mistake of assuming something will be in place before your visit. Always check with the teacher what resources they have and how you can get things they don’t have.
The school staff are responsible for the pupils, health and safety, moral well-being, discipline etc. Legally you are there as a visitor and can ask for support in all of these areas as you require.
Never make physical contact with a student. Be firm and friendly without being over familiar. Report any problems to a teacher immediately.
Ensure you understand and where necessary follow the school procedures whilst on site, safeguarding, risk assessment, accidents and fire evacuation. Ask the school to let you know
of any suspected issues.
With every engagement it is worthwhile speaking to the school and running through some standard questions to help with your preparation. Below is a checklist that you can use when booking in with a school. Be sure to find the best way to communicate with your contact for any last minute questions or changes.
For speakers who do not normally work in schools remember, they are not commercial environments, you may struggle to park your car, you may not be offered refreshments, the toilets may not be readily accessible, staff may not properly introduce you to other staff or students.
A printable copy of this article, including the checklist is available to download here: Creating Opportunity A guide for employers working with schools