Image of students on a university campus

 by Jon Cheek
, posted On 10 Jul '18

Our summer top 10: ways for teachers trying to build university links for their school

Schools have a statutory duty to provide careers support to students. For many careers, university is the next step in that journey. This blog introduces teachers to some of the best ways to develop these links. After all, university is the next step in the career for up to 50% of students. We all have a duty to prepare students for that.

Our building university links top ten tips:

1. Speak to your Head of Sixth Form (if you are a post-16 institution) and/or Heads of Department – your school may already have an established relationship with a university that you are not aware of.

2. For subject-specific requests, use (that must be the best tip of the lot!!) or contact the education liaison team at universities directly (who are best placed to make internal links with academic staff on your behalf), rather than approaching academic staff at a university directly. Academics may support your session, but they would not generally be the initial point of contact.

3. Don’t be afraid to request bespoke activities but do be aware that universities have their own priorities, too. This might be about working with a certain target group for widening participation (WP) purposes or working within a certain geographical area. Another shameless plug, UniTasterDays lets you request events too!

4. Leading on from the above, when making requests to universities, be clear from the outset about your requirements, including theme, objectives, dates and numbers.

5. Make sure your requests to universities are reasonable and your expectations realistic. For example, they won't be able to facilitate a business taster day with a few days' notice.

6. Don’t just limit your requests to student-based activity - consider how universities can work with you and your colleagues to support Continuing Professional Development as well.

7. Maybe even consider approaching universities as a cluster of schools - your students will then benefit by working on activities with young people from other schools.

8. Develop relationships with a range of universities, so your learners get the benefit of different ideas, voices, and experiences that avoids repetition and enables progression.

9. Ensure activity is developed as part of an ongoing programme of provision and not as a one-off or bolt-on. Use activity to build upon, consolidate and enhance the work of your school, so that young people appreciate and understand the value of the experience.

10. Use UniTasterDays! We are a free resource for schools to connect with universities. You can search for events, request events, and join a weekly mailing list of events on the site. We can also deliver independant engaging university talks too. Contact us. We're here to help, even if you just want a chat.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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