There are a number of existing outreach projects that staff may wish to get involved with across the University. Staff are also advised to speak to their school or department about additional opportunities.
However some staff may prefer to set up and run their own outreach activities and the University is keen to support colleagues where possible in doing so. The following advice may be of use when planning outreach activities or sessions, particularly in primary or secondary schools.
Training for staff and students
Training is available for staff and students who wish to take part in outreach activities in primary or secondary schools. This training usually lasts between two and three hours, and will cover things such as working with young people, how to deliver effective sessions, health and safety, child protection, and how to manage difficult classroom situations. For further information please contact Liz Tomlin (secondary schools) or Lisa Owen (primary schools).
Types of activities
Staff and students within the Faculty have run a wide and varied range of successful outreach activities involving both schools and adult communities. Details of some of these activities, as well as some worksheets and other resources that have been used in schools, are available for staff to view and download online.
When planning activities to use in schools, it may be helpful to speak to teachers to find out what the pupils are currently studying so that activities can be designed to complement the curriculum. Please see the links at the bottom of this page for more useful resources that may help when planning sessions and activities.
Managing time/timetabling sessions
Effective planning can help sessions run smoothly and keep children engaged. For longer events it is recommended that staff draw up a comprehensive timetable. Make sure to allocate enough time for breaks and, where necessary, refreshments.
However, even if planned perfectly, nature of a school environment means that plans can be subject to change at little or no notice. It is advised that staff bear this in mind when planning activities, and take a flexible approach where possible.
Communicating with teaching staff
Staff doing outreach work with schools should discuss plans with teachers before the sessions take place to ensure that all parties are aware of their responsibilities and the expected outcomes of the session. It may be helpful to refer teachers/group leaders to the Code of Conduct found within the Guidance on the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
In particular teachers and group leaders should be made aware that the primary responsibility for the welfare of the children in their care rests with them at all times. The teacher should remain present in the classroom at all times and should be responsible for dismissing classes, discipline, etc.
Equality and diversity
Staff should take steps to ensure that any activities they plan or materials they produce take into consideration the diverse range of pupils who will be taking part in the activities.
In particular, language must be appropriate and non-discriminatory, and materials and topics covered should be presented in a way that is sensitive to equality and diversity. If the activity is to take place in a school, it is advised to seek advice from the teacher if your planned activities feature sensitive themes or subjects (religion, death, sex, politics).
Staff should also ensure that they are aware of any specific needs/requirements of participants (access, mobility, sight and hearing impairments, allergies, disability or long-term medical conditions) in advance of the session so that such needs can be taken into consideration when planning activities.
Whilst primarily aimed at supporting university students, staff may find the inclusive strategies on the Disability Support workspace useful.
Involving students in outreach activities
Involving Student Ambassadors in outreach activities can be an excellent way of providing participants with positive role models while allowing students to gain valuable transferable skills for use in their degree and employment.
Staff wishing recruit students for their outreach work may wish to consult the Best Practice Guide for recruiting student Ambassadors. Sample application forms and a code of conduct are also available for download from the Schools and Colleges Engagement workspace, which staff can use or adapt to suit their own needs.