Schools outreach guidance
Running an assembly about Woodcraft at your local school gives you a captive audience, and following that up with an after school family taster will mean you can talk to parents and carers too.
If you haven’t set up your group yet, we suggest you decide on a date, time and venue before putting lots of energy into outreach and publicity. This makes it easier for people to say yes, and minimises disappointment later if families are busy on the day you decide to run the group.
However, if you don’t think you have enough adult volunteers, you might find them by running school taster sessions - just be really clear that you need helpers to make the group happen.
Getting local children excited about WcF
Meeting local families
Things to watch out for:
If you run several after school tasters at a certain day and time people may assume that is when the group will run long term. Be clear about your plans going forward, and expect to repeat yourself to get the message across.
Doing outreach at a single school is likely to bring some of the dynamic of that school to the group: friendship groups, expectations and behaviour. This will be increased if you use the school as a venue, or have teachers involved in the group.
Things to consider
Have a clear message or ‘call to action’ for families. This will usually be ‘come to our taster session or group night’ let them know a date, time and venue. Go to the publicity guidance page to find flyer templates and examples for an easy way to do this.
Contacting the school
Getting through to the right person in schools can be frustrating. Don’t give up - try emailing, calling, showing up to the office and even writing a letter on headed paper, including a flyer and poster in the envelope.
Try to find the right person to speak to - some schools have teachers with time to do community outreach, some even have heads willing to meet with you. Asking the secretary who you should speak to about coming to do an assembly etc sometimes works, rather than launching into the detail with them.
If you already have families that attend the school at your group, ask them to make the first contact, or at least mention they come.
Make a clear offer to the school from the outset. Emphasise that you are offering a free activity.
Most schools will want to check you are DBS checked. Note down your DBS number from your form and take it with you.
You might hear from teachers that you’re unlikely to get any parental involvement. It’s your choice whether you heed that warning, but do expect to put in a bit of extra outreach and eventually volunteer support in schools where this is the case.
- Example letter to headteacher offering outreach
- Headteacher's flyer - summary of outreach
- Schools arrangements checklist
- Advice given by a friendly headteacher about running outreach activities that would be attractive to school leaders
An assembly will give you the undivided attention of a lot of children at once. This is a chance to talk about why you think woodcraft folk is brilliant.
Find out beforehand:
The start & finish times of the assembly, and your allotted time within that, if different.
If you’re using the powerpoint presentation, what format you should bring it in (memory stick, laptop).
The name of the person you arranged the assembly with.
The number of children attending the assembly.
Print local plans flyers for each child to take home in their book bags. Dividing them into bunches of 30 will make the teacher’s job easier. Either leave these at reception, or ask children to take a flyer as they leave the assembly if they’re interested.
Flyering at school drop off or pick up
Ask permission from the school before you do this, and wear a school visitor badge.
Do this shortly after the assembly - children should recognise you, which will give you more chance of speaking to parents.
Make yourself visible with a WcF banner or hoodie.
Drop off time is usually preferable to pick up time as parents are less likely to be rushing off.
After school taster session
This is a good idea for new groups who aren’t running yet - existing groups can simply invite families to their group sessions.
Use the schools outreach arrangement checklist to check you have everything covered.
If you think you’ll have a lot of interest, consider asking families to book in advance. If you decide to run a drop-in session, decide on a maximum number of children in advance and turn people away if you get beyond that number - letting them know about the group plans first of course.
Check with the school what spaces you can use. If you are using outside space, check that there is a classroom or hall you could use in case of bad weather.
In addition, or as an alternative to taster sessions, school fairs are a great way to attract whole families. They are often led by PTAs, who can be easier to get hold of than teachers, so ask for their details if relevant. See the stalls guidance for more tips on attending events.
What to bring
- Flyers for each child, including date, time and venue of taster or group night.
- A memory stick or laptop with your powerpoint presentation
- Your DBS number or certificate
- Indoor schools risk assesment
- Outdoor schools risk assessment
- Invite to tasters for bookbags, with reply slip
- Example taster session plans - indoor, outdoor and resources
- Schools outreach bookings register
This resource was created by the new groups project. From September 2014 to March 2016 the project supported new groups to start in West Yorkshire, Mersyside, North Wales, Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk. To see more resources created by the project, please visit thenew groups project page.