The first webinar in our ‘How to’ series focussed on the value, impact, and practical guidance for charity engagement and visits during YPI.
Michelle McMullen, Lead Teacher at St Mungo’s High School, and Claire Kennedy from Strathcarron Hospice, shared top tips on how you can maximise this aspect of the YPI programme, recognising that it can be transformational in terms of student engagement, community partnerships, and skills development:
- Ensure wider school staff and the SLT understand where YPI aligns with key priorities within the school.
- This ensures that if students require time away from other classes, there is a recognition of the value.
- SLT support is crucial, recognising the logistics, planning, and support required
- Organisation and planning are key.
- There is no doubt that supporting visits requires careful planning. Seek support from the wider YPI delivery team, and school staff.
- You may wish to contact the charities in advance of the students to ensure they have an understanding of YPI and what might be required of them.
- Have risk assessment templates ready to be completed (in line with local authority policy) once charity visits are confirmed.
- It is important to provide charities with ample lead time to coordinate meetings, alongside managing students’ expectations.
- You may wish to support initial charity contact and research by arranging a charity fair or marketplace.
- A charity fair may support students to overcome some initial barriers or nerves and may mean that they are more likely to arrange a follow-up meeting.
- The timing of the fair will depend on your delivery model and approach. It is important that students are prepared for this activity and understand what information they are required to gather from the session.
- Students should not be restricted to those in attendance, recognising the importance of student voice and choice, and the capacity of charity partners.
- Let parents and guardians know about YPI, why as a school you engage with the programme, and what students will be expected to do.
- Share a letter or video with parents in advance (a template can be found in the Leading YPI resource)
- Consider if you need parental consent forms signed for the charity visits at the beginning of the process.
- Parents, guardians, senior students, and wider school staff can support visits.
- Confirm how you can empower and support your students to visit their charities, is there comfort with these happening within the school day? Will students be required to visit in their own time?
- Identify members of staff and parents who would have the capacity and be willing to support charity visits.
- Identify groups that may require additional support to coordinate and visit their charities. They could be paired with a mentor within the school (student or staff).
- Where visits are not possible, explore if the charity can meet students at the school.
- Ensure that in-school visits are coordinated in a joined-up fashion acknowledging the charity’s time commitment.
- Ensure students maintain open lines of communication with their chosen charity.
- It is important for all students to update charities on the outcome, whether they reach the Final Showcase or not. This enables students to thank charities for the time that they have committed, and places appropriate esteem on such partnerships.
- Ask students to share and discuss their final presentations with their charities. This will ensure that the information being shared is accurate and representative. Provide enough time to enable students to make amends after any feedback.
- Invite charities to attend your YPI Final Showcase so that they can see the students’ presentations of their learning.
The webinar inputs can be accessed here.
Please contact your Regional Facilitator to discuss any additional queries about empowering this rich and real-life context for learning.