A school and college
guide to working
during the new
normal – organising
online and physical
It is fair to say that the next year is likely to be turbulent and I imagine it can seem daunting
when thinking about how to organise events
to support the university guidance you provide
and achieving your Gatsby Benchmarks. You’re
certainly not alone and as universities and other
higher education institutions, we are here to
The new normal is here to stay for a little longer
yet, so here are some tips for organising a
The decision of an online or physical event?
This will largely be based on local restrictions and whether you have the space for social distancing. Weigh up the benefits of face-to-face delivery, could the talk simply be shown on a live screen and resources sent beforehand?
A careers fair is a great way to impart advice
from organisations but how will you control
literature being given out and ensure it is not
being left around the school? Allowing students
the opportunity to consider which university
they would like to speak with beforehand could
mitigate this and help you know the likely pinch
points, so you can schedule time and ensure
busier stands can maintain social distancing
Which online platform to use?
There is now an abundance of online platforms
to choose from when running events. Examples
include Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Adobe
Connect, which all promote a different level of
interactivity. Providers will likely have access to
some of these platforms so you don’t necessarily
have to use your own budget to facilitate access.
Do you have concerns about safeguarding?
Restrictions can normally be applied such as
passwords or enabling the teacher themselves
to admit students from a register. Don’t be afraid
of requesting a university to adjust settings in
order to meet your safeguarding policy and risk
If face-to-face delivery is appropriate there are
some factors to consider when ensuring it is
• PPE guidance sent to all visitors beforehand and
hand sanitiser upon entry.
• A process in place for distributing literature and
for pupils who no longer need it.
• Single-use refreshments such as bottled water
and prepared lunch bags - or having a dedicated
colleague in PPE serving tea and coffee.
• Ensuring appropriate distance between the
speaker and students within a classroom.
• Support for busier stands and talks, including
implementing a schedule if required.
• Providing a track and trace process, noting
down visitor details and providing guidance if
either a student or visitor needs to get in touch
with you after the event.
• Universities may have individual travel policies
which prevent the use of public transport or other
factors, so do check with all providers during
• If space is limited, consider prioritising
disadvantaged groups as evidence shows these
groups will have been more affected with a lack of
university guidance during lockdown.
When should I request support?
Universities receive a number of requests so
ensuring your date is in the diary first will help the
institution best allocate appropriate resources.
Don’t worry initially if you’re unsure whether it will
take place virtually or physically, flexibility from all
involved will be key over the next year.
Ensure speaker efficiency is maximised
Do not book multiple institutions to deliver
the same talk to only a handful of students.
Universities have limited resources and
particularly this year will be trying to cover as
many events as possible to support gaps in
Good luck with your event
I hope you find these tips useful and whether it
will be your first or your hundredth event, I wish
you the best of luck in organising a successful
event during such an unsettling time.