Industry Visits

Organising a site visit can appear daunting. However, many companies are willing to host visits and thoughtful planning will help make your visit both enjoyable and educational.

  • Why visit?
  • Which Industry?
  • Planning
  • In the classroom
  • Maintaining links

Children in suit and maskBefore making any contact with local industry you need to have some idea what you hope to achieve through a visit, but also need to be prepared to change your ideas. Some companies may already have experience in this area and be able to make useful suggestions.

Think about:

  • How will the visit link to the science you are doing in the classroom?
  • What do you want the children to see and do on the visit?
  • Agree with industry the content of the visit and how long you should allow on the site.
  • If you are staying over lunch, agree a place where children can eat packed lunches.
  • Would it be useful for someone from industry to come into school before or after the visit? A visitor to 'set the scene' and be a recognisable face on arrival can be useful, but only if they can communicate effectively with children.
  • You may wish to visit the site yourself to discuss activities, the format of the visit and rsik assessment.

Watching an experimentYou may feel you are restricted by the companies present locally, but it does not need to be a visit to 'heavy' industry. Garden centres often propogate their own plants, and there's plenty of science involved! Some very successful visits are run in rural areas.

  • Find out what goes on in local companies. What do they do, use or make?
  • What activities and processes take place that can be linked to primary science?
  • Try to find out if they could host tours, talks or 'hands-on' activities for children that will enhance their understanding of both science and industry? The company know what they do, but to tie this in with classroom work requries your expertise.
  • You could contact STEMNET for advice about local companies, or ambassors from industry that will come into your school.
  • It is important to find out if they have experience in working with schools and site tours. If it is limited, you may wish to encourage key personnel to contact CIEC for help and advice.

It is important to put the visit into a context so the children understand why they are going. This means integrating it into other classroom based activities, both before and after. Set clear objectives to ensure the visit has a purpose that is evident to you and the children.

There are also very practical aspects to the planning of a visit. You will need to:

  • Arrange the appropriate number of accompanying adults for the group size and ensure there is proper provision for children with special needs
  • Liaise with the company to agree on dates, numbers, the timetable, confirm insurance cover and decide how you will feedback after the visit.
  • Find out and brief children on site rules and safety, including whether any safety equipment needs to be worn on site (even if hard hats are not required, children like wearing them!)
  • Ensure that the company has carried out a risk assessment and check they are insured for the children to be on site.
  • Organise transport - unless the visit is in walking distance - and carry out a risk assesment for the journey.
  • Make sure all appropriate people have been informed of the visit.
  • Issue a letter to parents informing them of the visit, and requesting permission.

Available here: Site Visit Checklist, Letter to Parents Checklist (pdf documents - open in new window/tab)

Cartoon by childPlan suitable activities before and after the visit, including relevant practical investigations that link to processes they see on the day. The CCI Science Topics provide a wealth of industry-linked practical activities.

Cildren's workThe children could also make some sort of record of the visit, including:

  • A presentation about the visit
  • Telling the story of the industry using cartoons or photographs
  • Writing letters, drawing pictures to send to the company

Children with cakesA successful visit brings rewards for the school and company, and you may both wish to maintain the link for the future. From the school's point of view, to help build and maintain the link you should:

  • Make sure you say a personal thank you by phone or letter, in addition to any thank you letters from the children
  • Indicate and discuss the possibility of repeating the visit the following year
  • Write the activities and visit into your science plans
  • Get the children to invite someone from the company to see the work they have done about the visit
  • Send the company an album or collection of work done by the children
  • Send the company link person a Christmas card signed by all the children