How to run a one-day course for schools

The Education Committee of the LAGB

last changed 15 Sept 2006

The following checklist was developed in discussion with colleagues who have hosted schools events. It is suitable for a relatively ambitious full-day course for 60 or more pupils and their teachers, such as many of those on our web list of courses. Please tell us of any ideas you have for making it bigger and better.

You can also download the checklist as a Word document.


Initial event planning


Identify the aims of the event

e.g. to give A Level students

     a rich and rewarding experience of the subject

     an introduction to exciting research developments

     the chance to meet undergraduates and lecturers





Clarify the nature and needs of the participants

     just AS, or AS and A2 mixed, or cross key stage 14-19?

     selected by ability (eg gifted and talented), or mixed ability?

    just students (with teachers as minders) or event tailored for teachers too?




Determine the outline programme

    title of the course ensuring general cohesiveness not random picknmix

    suitable venue and enough rooms if seminars are included

     invite academic staff with relevant expertise to participate, picking carefully for student-friendliness and a lecturing style likely to engage inexperienced students

     negotiate individual lecture/seminar titles and short descriptions

     decide how many, what pattern and what length of lectures/seminars is best, thinking carefully about pace, variety, pedagogy and student stamina

     negotiate lecture/seminar content carefully to make it accessible and enjoyable for inexperienced students across the ability range

     slots for introductory welcome/housekeeping, closing words/evaluation




Make sure the costs stack up

     determine what fee will be paid to lecturers and clarify expenses amounts, types admissible and processes for payment

     decide on any catering to be included

     is there any supporting funding available e.g. for schools/colleges through Aim Higher or from University Outreach/Widening Participation sources?

     how many places? what charge to students/teachers?




Write a risk assessment

     Venue may already have one pre-prepared but make sure you know what it says because you will need to brief students at the start of the day about any issues they need to know about eg location of fire exits, what to do in case of fire or first aid emergency, any safety hazards they need to watch out for.




Decide what evaluation is needed

     Which parties to the event want it and on what basis? What format?

     Who is going to collate and analyse it?

     Is there going to be some kind of evaluation report? If so, whos doing it?




Decide if you want any further contact

     e.g. invitations to university open days or special events

     e.g. follow-up activities arising out of any of the lectures or seminars





Getting the students in

Letter to go out to schools/colleges in the area

     consider timing carefully teachers are hopeless with the deadlines

     Language List always a good option but be prepared for flooding and having to turn schools/colleges away

     booking form to include school/college contact details, including accompanying teachers name and details and those of a named person who will be at school/college on the day in case of emergency; signature of someone in authority giving students permission to attend; student names; request that any specific medical/dietary issues are identified if applicable.




     how many places are available? how many per school/college?

     confirmation letters with maps

     sorry were full letters

     decision about how to select if too many applications are received first come, first served? local network? other criteria (may be needed if Aim Higher or Widening Participation money is being used)?

     make sure payment is made up-front for places because on-the-day drop-out can be disappointingly high; clearly state that no refunds will be available


Preparation for the big day


     Find out what equipment/resources lecturers need if ICT based check hardware and software requirements, including any internet access

     Are you putting lecturers up in hotels? Do bookings

     Make sure the rooms look nice, have enough chairs, dont smell etc

     Triple check any catering arrangements especially if external providers

     Plan to have a gopher in support of the main event organiser and dont let IT technicians out of the building if ICT is involved




     Registration system in place to ensure a complete and accurate list of delegates is produced (for health and safety reasons and any future reference)

     Who will welcome delegates, show to the rooms, make comfortable etc?

     If teachers dont get a coffee at this stage, they get very upset




     Who will do the first words of welcome

     Overview of the day and check everyone knows where they need to be when

     Housekeeping: any rules, health and safety issues, where the toilets are, etc

     Food and drink arrangements

     Introduce lecturers

     Can be useful to tell students to relax and basics about how you want them to behave in this new environment eg do ask questions, good idea to take notes



Follow up

Thank you letters

     To lecturers with any evaluation of the event/sessions

     To schools/colleges with open day invitations (not always appropriate)

     To any funders to encourage future support!



Final report

     If youre doing one