It is important for schools and other learning settings to work in partnership with external agencies/organisations to enhance the learning experiences of children and young people. Visitors can enrich a school’s PSE provision but their contribution must be part of a school-led, well-planned, coordinated programme.
Given the range of organisations seeking to work with schools to support the delivery of PSE, there need to be principles which guide the most effective involvement of external agencies in terms of the responsibilities of the school and the visitor.
The school must …
- check that the agency or visitor is known to them and considered appropriate in respect of current safeguarding /child protection procedures.
- provide and make clear the parameters of relevant school policies.
- ensure that the visitor’s input is an integral part of the planned PSE programme, negotiated and agreed with the PSE coordinator in advance.
- plan for the visitor to be actively supported/ supervised by a teacher at all times throughout the visit so any follow up questions or concerns can be dealt with effectively.
The school should …
- invite visitors in to school because of the particular expertise or contribution they are able to make to enhance the planned PSE provision.
- expect a clear overview of the aims and content of the visitor’s input which should be used to inform the planning of the visit as well as any preparatory or follow-up work to be undertaken.
- provide information about the age of the learners, approximate learner numbers in each teaching group and any additional learning needs of individual learners.
- confirm with the visitor, and the members of teaching staff involved, the date, time, duration, venue of the session plus any resources that may be required.
- agree a fee if appropriate and inform the visitor who is to meet them, where they are to be met and at what time.
- inform the learners of the purpose of the visit.
- monitor and evaluate the input of visitors by learners and teaching staff.
- not make unreasonable requests which do not allow for effective learning e.g. working with more than one class per session.
- provide an opportunity for evaluation after the session between the visitor and the PSE coordinator. This review informs planning and ensures effective visits in the future.
The visitor must ….
- read and work within relevant school policies.
- agree to be actively supported /supervised by a member of staff at all times throughout the visit.
- be clear about the boundaries of their input and not go beyond their remit or area of expertise.
The visitor should ….
- outline their specific expertise, indicate the aims of the session and give an outline of their input in terms of methodologies, content and approaches of the session.
- give clear, accurate and age appropriate information to the pupils.
- distinguish between factually accurate information and the opinion / viewpoint of the organisation.
- use an approach that enables learners to develop their personal and social skills and make informed choices.
- be able to communicate effectively at the appropriate level taking into account the age and ability of the learners.
- be informed of preparatory and follow-up work that is planned and where their session fits into the school’s PSE provision.
- plan which resources and equipment will be supplied by the school/visitor.
- not be willing to accommodate unreasonable requests which do not allow for effective learning e.g. working with more than one class per session.