Blog | Top tips on working with schools
Our Local Development Officer Laura - who is supported through funding from the Scottish Government's Cashback for Communities programme, and the Gannochy Trust - has been working with schools in Forth Region to grow Scouting in the area. We asked her to share some tips on how to build links with schools.
Working with schools has been a fantastic way for me to connect with communities and meet children, parents, professionals and other members of the community. I’ve also really enjoyed the opportunity to promote Scouting to a new audience and to highlight the benefits the young people adults, and, in fact, the whole community, can gain from embracing our amazing Movement. I encourage you all to reach out to the schools in your local area and enjoy the benefits of partnership working.
Have a plan, do some research and don’t be shy:
Research your area. What provision is there; what’s not there? Can you identify any opportunities for plugging gaps with a Scout group? This will help you identify which schools to approach.
Before contacting schools, be clear about what you want to achieve and what you can or can’t deliver. Be open-minded because each school has different needs and ideas.
Make your first contact a telephone call to introduce yourself and find out who to speak to. Try to call schools when key contacts are most likely to be available. Lunchtime worked best for me.
Many schools will ask you to send an email with your request.
What schools can do for you
Schools offer lots of potential for reaching new adult volunteers and young people. Here are some ideas about how you can promote Scouting through your local school:
Ask to attend school community events, such as summer or Christmas fayres.
Volunteer to be a guest speaker at school assemblies. This has worked really well for me. If you can get young people excited about Scouting it benefits your adult recruitment efforts too.
Find out if the school has a weekly newsletter, Facebook page or blog and ask if you can use this as an opportunity to promote Scouts.
It’s always worth asking about any community work or existing partnerships the school are involved in, which could be an avenue for recruitment
Tips for talking to schools
It’s a good idea to do some homework before you approach schools:
Do some research into education policies and practices such as Curriculum for Excellence, Getting it Right for Every Child and SHANARRI (Safe Health Achieving Nurtured Active Respected Responsible Included) and think about how Scouting can support these areas. Get to know the education buzzwords and use them.
Schools may be interested in our internal structures, policies, and procedures, so make sure you’re up to speed on those issues.
Remember that high schools and primary schools can be very different with distinct structures and opportunities. For talking to primary schools, head teachers or depute heads are usually the main points of contact, but for high schools, I’ve been dealing with year heads or community education workers.
Don’t assume everyone knows who Scouts are and what we do.
Don’t forget that Scouting is a positive community activity and that this is a great selling point.
Be enthusiastic, accommodating, positive and engaging!
Find out more
For more information about tips on how to grow Scouting in your local area, have a look at our Building for the Future booklet or get in touch with Laura.