FAQ- School Visits

Frequently Asked Questions – School Visits


1. What resources are available to help me complete a school visit?

There are plenty of resources available on steps.ie at http://www.steps.ie/volunteers/volunteer-resources.aspx  
Customisable presentations: Presentations for primary and post-primary visits and tips on how to tailor the presentation to specific ages.
Training: Visit steps.ie to check out our training page for volunteers, where you'll find support videos and tips to help you communicate effectively with young people.
Activities: There are some activities, videos and other tips you may find useful at http://www.steps.ie/volunteers/volunteer-resources.aspx

2. What does a typical school visit entail?

A school visit involves visiting students in their own classroom and talking to students about the diverse and exciting career opportunities engineering offers. A school visit should be a collaborative effort with the teacher. 
Format of primary school visit:
Presentation - 25 minutes
Activity - 25 minutes
Q & A session - 10 minutes
Approximate visit time: 1 hour
Format of post-primary school visit:
Presentation - 30 minutes
Q & A session - 10 minutes
Approximate visit time: 40 minutes

3. How do I set up a school visit?

Choose a school that is registered with the STEPS programme. Volunteers should login through the SmartSTEPS system to select a school. 

4. How should I prepare?

  • Contact the teacher to confirm the date and time of your visit with the school. If you call, leave a message. Teachers are hard to reach during the day. If it is convenient for you, you could also leave your email address. 
  • Check with the school in advance to see what type of IT they have in the classroom and if it’s possible to blackout the classroom.
  • Visit steps.ie to check out our training page for volunteers, where you'll find support videos and tips to help you communicate effectively with young people.
  • Download and edit customisable school presentations.
  • If visiting a primary school, download activity ideas and check with the school that they can provide the materials for an activity and that enough adults will be on hand to help.
  • Identify if there is any printing or prep work which the school can do in advance to aid you.
  • Please review our Child Protection guidelines in advance of your school visit 

5. How do schools register and can I inform my local school?

School registration will open from August 2015. Schools are required to register with us online at http://steps.ie/Teachers/School-Visit-Registration-Form.aspx
Volunteers should tell the teacher of their local school to register with us online (which takes 5 minutes) The teacher can indicate a prearranged agreement using the comments facility. 


6. Why should I record all my school visits on the SmartSTEPS system?

By always ensuring to record a school visit with us, you are: 
  • Abiding by our volunteer terms and conditions, in line with best practice in Child Protection 
  • Covered by our volunteer insurance
  • Making sure we are aware of all your volunteer efforts
  • Officially updating your own CPD (Continuous Professional Development) record
  • Ensuring the reach and impact of the school visits programme is accurately recorded and measured
  • Helping us to assess where there are gaps in engagement nationwide
STEPS and Smart Futures, who coordinate the volunteer programme for schools, are committed to delivering good quality supports to students, teachers and volunteers alike. By always recording your volunteering activity with us you are helping us to retain the outreach budgets that fund this programme and ensure that no resources are wasted.


7. What should I do if the teacher leaves the classroom?

Teachers are not allowed to leave volunteers alone in the classroom during a visit. The school has been advised that a teacher must remain in the classroom at all times. If the teacher leaves the classroom, tell the students you need to step out, find the teacher and explain that you cannot have unsupervised access to young people.


8. Can I take photographs?

If you wish to organise a photo of your visit (i.e. for a company newsletter etc.) then please advise STEPS who will forward consent forms to you in advance of your visit.