Schools are often inundated with offers of activities from a variety of sources. The time pressures of the curriculum and the school calendar can mean that it is hard for teachers to secure any time off timetable for their pupils. When they do, why should they choose to work with you? It is worth thinking about:
Are there any gaps or areas in the curriculum that it is difficult for schools to cover due to lack of facilities or expertise? (See National Curriculum Links.)
Is your activity something that can’t be accomplished without you? If a school is coming to the university is the activity something they can’t do at school?
Are you making full use of your unique expertise or facilities at your disposal?
Are there any additional benefits such as certification for the pupils or publicity for the school?
Can you offer the teacher training or support materials to increase their knowledge or inform their teaching?
Can you cover the costs incurred by the schools taking part (e.g. travel and teaching cover)?
Do you have procedures in place to minimise the time commitment needed from school staff? For example, standard letters for parents, someone to book coaches for them.
It is very easy to focus on what the outcome is for pupils or how working with the university can benefit a school. However, schools also have a lot of expertise to offer the university. For example could you…
Offer advice on the curriculum in a wider capacity than the activity you are working on?
Lead training sessions for researchers on how to engage with your pupils?
Offer work experience or lesson observation opportunities for students considering a career in teaching?
Allow researchers access to your classrooms and pupils to carry out research from a variety of different departments, not just in conjunction with one particular activity or subject?
Work with researchers to plan research or apply for funding?