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Advice from teachers? Expert sessions?(16 Posts)
Hi I was fairly made redundant after working as an ecologist for years. At Easter I set up a business running an afterschool wildlife club at my DD1 primary school which is doing really well and earning me a little money, my problem is I can't easily grow it as it means paying for extra hours for DD2 at nursery. I'd like to be able to offer schools sessions where I go in and lead an afternoon talking about a topic, bringing things to show them etc. BUT I'm hugely aware that schools have very restricted budgets. I don't want to spend huge amounts of time genning up on national curriculum, designing sessions etc, if ultimately it's never going to be a runner. Are there any teachers that can offer a steer? Does your school pay for experts to run special sessions? Thanks
*Not fairly at all alas, fairly recently...
I'm secondary but have had specialists in when we've done themed days on trip weeks etc (It's quite common in secondary for all trips to go out after y11 end and It's a whole week of collapsed timetables, sports day, trips etc once we have the staffing capacity spare).
When I used to coordinate I had a budget to spend on visitors and resources but it wasn't massive.
It might be worth looking into qualifying as a forest school practitioner and try that avenue. Some schools may buy in forest school to support students with SEND needs. Primaries might also consider it as a way to cover some of their PPA sessions (I know some have sports coaches in to run PE rather than employ a teacher).
Good luck. It sounds great.
Thanks maisypops I wondered about forest school training, but I've experienced some less than great forest school teachers which have made me doubt the system a bit. It's very all the rage at the moment but sometimes seems all dens and fires. I've seen rare plants be picked to make 'flower soup', and kids interested in what they've found in a bug hunt then met by a practitioner who can offer no guidance beyond 'its a bug'! Absolutely sure there are brilliant people out there too, but feels a bit like my natural history/ecological knowledge potentially gives me a bit of a different selling point, if only I can work out best how to use it!!! 😂
Our school does a lot of expert lessons in ks2, fees are sometimes paid by pta, but mostly by voluntary contribution by parents. They have 3/4 events per year, where we are asked to pay around £5.
If I remember correctly, they had some in ks1 too, but without parental contribution, I believe.
Sorry to hijack, but could you also offer to youth groups? We’d love to have something like this for Rainbows, Brownies etc? It would be one off sessions which I know isn’t ideal but early evenings which may be easier for childcare, and once one group books you then tons more will (we’re not the most imaginative...)
Have you looked at any charities/established businesses etc near you that have educational advisors? My ds went on a trip to a local heritage/nature site and an educational advisor led it and brought her baby with her. Whilst it would not be your own business it would have less risk attached.
Ooh thanks namechange, that's good to know. Had sort of assumed brownie type groups had even less cash than schools, but will investigate, there's a very active scout group locally, who I could ask maybe as a start. Hubby is home by 6 most nights so can tag him in on childcare!
Sometimes strapped for cash, but with gift aid etc we can generally stretch to a couple of paid visitors a term out of subs. definitely worth speaking to your local scouts I’d say.
That timing would be pretty perfect. Throw DD at him as he gets through the door and go off to spread the wildlife love!
I don't want to spend huge amounts of time genning up on national curriculum, designing sessions etc,
I think you will need to do this FIRST, before finding out if its going to work out or not.
What you are suggesting is definitely a thing. My DS's school has a few such visits every year, sometimes working in specific classes supporting their topic work, other times coming into to do whole school assemblies. I think it sounds like a wonderful idea.
Meant to say that it is often paid for by a small donation from each family, not sure if the school tops it up though. The school always takes photos to share with parents so definitely think about including activities that photograph well if parents are paying (busy engaged children, not fireworks IYSWIM).
Before kids I worked as a geography teacher, when they started school I worked for a local charity that offered the type
Of activity you are suggesting, mostly
Kids came to us but occasionally we took activities into schools. Fab job but no
money in it, my boss survived because she had property with the job the rest of us got by because it was the second income but realistically now my kids are older I have returned to teaching (not in a school). I loved working outdoors but despite looking at various opportunities could not see how it could
Make sense economically.
Are you registered as a STEM Ambassador? It's voluntary, but would be good for contacts, DBS checks, initial safeguarding training, etc & they have online resources.
Then look at what's available locally already. Be realistic about how far you're able to travel & factor in fuel costs.
You'll need public liability insurance too.
And join BIG for contacts in sci comm - they all utterly bonkers & lovely!
We have a few a year (recently a coding expert and a zooology type one) However, I have also seen a fair few who have been rubbish and really badly prepared (sure you wouldn't be) so I think you have to be really on the ball and good to get yourself well respected and known! I think Ecology might be a harder one because I can think of several charities and out reach groups, in my area at least, who do it already. See what is around in your area and see if you can find your niche!
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