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Uni outreach > Getting Started

The below are tips drawn from regional and national contacts with regards to starting out with STEM outreach activities:

  • Make sure that any presenters know their audience well in advance and keep presentations short and to the point
  • Use a variety of different resources when presenting
  • Ensure that the audience can contextualise activity that is presented
  • Hands-on activities must be fun for the age group. Present a scenario for the challenge with which they can familiarise themselves and keep to a theme
  • Use diverse presenters where possible
  • Speak at school assemblies to promote STEM activities and to act as positive role models who appeal to a wide range of students
  • For pre-A-level students, concentrate on workshop activities rather than lectures
  • Try to pilot an activity with a small group of students to get feedback before running it with a larger group
  • Link outreach work clearly to mainstream education and the school curriculum
  • Focus on the autumn term and the late summer term and encourage schools to request specific dates for visits
  • Provide a modest but high-quality menu of activities from which schools can choose
  • Include some information about the careers available in the sector – career profiles are useful as illustrations
  • Use parents with STEM experience to offer technical expertise for science club activities
  • Establish a Code of Conduct form before the event for participants to sign
  • It is difficult to run events during the holidays, especially for state schools, due to the lack of resources and supply teachers to accompany students
  • Avoid scheduling outreach activities during exam periods. After exams is a good time for activity as it’s easier for teachers to get cover for lessons
  • It is best to capitalise of periods when university is on vacation but the schools are still in term time.
  • When delivering lectures / conferences, ensure that themes are supportive of the school examination specification
  • Try to conclude talks with lecture-demonstrations and include a tour of campus so that students can start to picture themselves as undergraduates
  • Conferences can be hosted by a local school, making it easier for neighbouring schools to attend
  • Parents can be involved so that they too recognise the value of STEM disciplines
  • Schools usually have their own minibuses to transport students to campuses but ensure to factor in coach hire if this is not the case
  • Often post addressed to “Head of Science/Chemistry” does not reach its intended recipient – use a named contact wherever possible
  • Provide a good lunch!