Briefing your speaker

Your speaker will have a lot less experience than you of being in a school. Before they arrive, make sure that you have briefed them on exactly what they are expected to do.

The speaker will need to know:

  • The precise format
  • How long to speak for
  • How long for answering questions
  • The age and number of children
  • Any special needs to account for.

Make sure that any facilities they may need are ready when they arrive and available to be tested beforehand. The speaker may be quite apprehensive – what is everyday for you could be quite a challenge for them, so do your best to make the occasion relaxed and smooth for them.

How to make the most of your speaker

Think about inviting two or three presenters – this reduces the pressure on the individual and means that you can spark a debate in school if differing points of view are presented.

On the day of the visit, make sure that the guest is welcomed when they arrive and escorted to where they are supposed to be. It is especially useful if you involve the children in this. Don’t leave your speaker alone with the group but have a teacher who acts as facilitator throughout, including managing the question and answer session.

After the event, make sure that your speaker is thanked – a message from the children is usually especially well received.

Why should an organisation send speakers to schools?

Organisations can benefit hugely from a relationship with a local school. Supplying a speaker or a mentor for a science project (such as a British Science Association CREST Gold or Silver award) can motivate new staff and provide a welcome volunteering opportunity. Schemes such as STEM Ambassadors can provide backup such as general training for school visits and guidance on the necessary checks on personnel for school visits. These relationships can form a welcome link with the world of work which can provide informal careers information for the children and even a source of recruits for the future for the organisation.