FAQs from Schools and Colleges
- Who is eligible to apply for a speaker?
- How do schools/colleges apply?
- Do schools and colleges have to pay?
- Who should organise a S4S Talk?
- What is the format of a S4S Talk?
- How are schools/colleges notified if they have been shortlisted to host a speaker?
- How many talks can a school/college receive?
- How are Speakers paired to school/college applications?
- Why can’t S4S provide speakers for careers events or awards evenings?
- What other opportunities can schools/colleges take advantage of?
- Who should schools/colleges contact with any questions?
FAQs from Speakers
- What types of schools does S4S work with?
- How are talks scheduled?
- What are the talks about?
- How should speakers prepare for a talk?
- Is travel paid for?
- How are schools paired to speakers for a talk?
- Is a Disclosing and Barring Service check (formerly CRB checks) needed for speakers?
- Who should speakers contact with any questions?
- Where does Speakers for Schools operate?
- Who are your speakers?
- Who runs Speakers for Schools?
- How are S4S talks planned?
FAQs from Schools and Colleges
Q1. Who is eligible to apply for a speaker?
All state-maintained secondary schools, colleges & academies in the UK are eligible to apply for a speaker and we will endeavour to find a speaker for every applied eligible school.
Q2. How do schools/colleges apply?
Teachers can submit an application online making a request to host a speaker. In addition to broad topics of interest, the applicant also provides a ‘teacher’s statement’ explaining more about why they are applying and the preferred focus to help the charity determine which speakers might be a fit for the request. Applications can be updated throughout the academic year. Be sure to review these FAQs and How it Works before submitting an application on behalf of your school or college.
Q3. Do schools and colleges have to pay?
No. Thanks to our speakers who are donating their time and travel, all of the talks are completely free, and there are no charges to our schools and colleges for their events.
Q4. Who should organise a S4S Talk?
Given the nature of the speakers we work with, especially as a charity, the Headteacher/Senior Leadership Team will need to help with off-timetable arrangements and should greet the speaker on the day, but a deputy staff member can assist with coordinating the logistics in the lead up. We also encourage calling our offices at any point in the process to find out more about hosting or what speakers will expect. For more about requirements for planning a S4S event see the guides on how to Plan a talk.
Q5. What is the format of a S4S Talk?
Talk themes and topics: The talks are all bespoke and depend on the individual speaker, but fall into umbrella themes, which you can see on our Planning page. Most speakers provide unique insights as successful figures in their field to help inform and encourage students, while others can be more specialised. In all cases the talk will include the speaker sharing their relevant experiences with students. An outline of common themes can be found here.
Event format: The full event can run from 1-2 hours including the Head Teacher meet and greet, a 20 minute presentation from the Speaker and a 40 minute Q&A with students. The Q&A is an essential part of any S4S Talk. Find out more about requirements when planning a talk in the School Guides.
Q6. How are schools/colleges notified if they have been shortlisted to host a speaker?
Please look out for our emails! This is key to working with the charity. School/College applicants receive a special notification email once we believe we have an available speaker. We ask that you send us a confirmation response as soon as possible. It’s important to act quickly when you hear from us, as any delay in responding may result in the school/college missing out on a speaker given constraints on speaker diaries and high volume of requests.
We are filling applications throughout the academic year and waiting times can range – but please know we keep your application open and you can always call us on 02075 493 669 to discuss with us.
To ensure you do not miss an opportunity for a talk please be sure to let us know if your email details change here.
Q7. How many talks can a school/college receive?
Currently the charity has a very high volume of requests that exceeds our speaker availability although we endeavour to attempt to arrange at least one talk per year. However, the programme works to provide as many event opportunities as possible so if we are able to provide more than one a year at any point we will try to do so.
See above Q6 about keeping your contact details up to date and being responsive so you don’t miss out.
Q8. How are speakers paired to school/college applications?
When pairing speakers and schools/colleges we consider the following:
- School/college application and teacher statement
- Speaker topics and suitability
- Speaker availability and location
- Has the school/college hosted a free talk recently?
This is an on-going process throughout the academic year and the charity will get in in touch as soon as a speaker is able to commit to speaking at the school. From there the parties are put in touch to directly confirm timings, audience and the format for their event.
We endeavour to arrange as many events as possible each year and keep all applications on the system until they are filled.
Q9. Why can’t S4S provide Speakers for careers events or awards evenings?
Careers education and special careers days are hugely important for students in preparing for their future, and awards evenings are a key part of the school year. However as S4S speakers are nominated, leading figures in their profession with high demands on their time and only able to give their time to the charity once per year, their visit to your school is particularly special. As much as we would like to cater to all requests, speakers agree to donate their time to S4S on the basis they are giving an interactive, engaging talk during the school day with a large student cohort – to maximise how they can give back and share insights with students. Further we do not have control over speakers’ busy diaries for pre-set events and S4S talks require different preparation to a careers presentation or awards evening speech to get the most out of them.
To make the most of the S4S programme and the speaker’s time:
- Make sure the students know who the special guest speaker is; you can find their short biography on Our Speakers page and student prep resources on Plan a talk.
- To take part, we ask for an audience of at least 50 students unless otherwise agreed with the charity.
- Be sure to know the basics of a S4S talk format, here.
If you want to talk more to our team about the type of talks we help arrange and what our speakers can offer, please contact us at 020 7549 3669.
Q10. What other opportunities can schools/colleges take advantage of?
For a list of similar organisations and charities offering free talks and school resources see Other Programmes.
Q11. Who should schools/colleges contact with any questions?
We know that schools and colleges have different needs for their students, so we encourage Applicants to contact us at any point to see how they can take advantage of our programme.
FAQs from Speakers
Q1. What types of schools/colleges does S4S work with?
We work with all state-maintained secondary schools and colleges in England, Scotland and Wales. This includes comprehensives, academies, free schools, grammar schools and further education colleges.
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Q2. How are S4S talks scheduled?
Talks are scheduled throughout the academic year and the S4S team works with speakers to find suitable dates. Speakers can send us dates at any time or, if they preferred to have a school selected first, they can liaise with the confirmed school about a date later on in the academic year. For more information on this please contact our team.
Q3. What are S4S talks about?
S4S Talks are meant to give our speakers the opportunity to share their unique insights and advice with students as leading, eminent figures in their industry or discipline. The actual talk content varies based on the school’s needs and the speaker’s preferences — some talks are specific to a topic/industry such as ‘How technology has changed Britain’ to more personal, inspirational talks with candid advice from the speaker. It is essential the school leadership team and the speaker have a phone call to establish the content of the talk once they are introduced. Details on common themes in talks can be found here.
Q4. How should speakers prepare for a talk?
From our experience, the best way to prepare for a talk is to speak to the school/college over the phone to find out more about what students would benefit from, and to let them know what you think you are best positioned to speak about. This is also crucial for pitching the talk at the ‘right level’ as the teacher can tell a speaker more about who will be in the audience, where they are in their studies and familiarity with particular topics.
We also send every speaker a link to the Planning Guide when you are introduced to the school/college contact, with more about the general format of a S4S talk and tips from past speakers.
Q5. Is travel paid for?
No, in order to ensure the programme is completely free for schools, our speakers donate their time and travel. This is why the S4S team works with you or your office to make the talk fit in with existing travel plans to other parts of the country for work or leisure. We can do this quite flexibly. (i.e. a Friday before a holiday in the South West, or between meetings at a Newcastle office, or en route between London and another city from another event).
Q6. How are schools/colleges paired to speakers for a talk?
We pair speakers to schools/colleges that have directly applied to host a speaker from our network. Once a speaker has expressed availability the S4S team will shortlist schools/colleges based on their overall suitability and then confirm selection with the speaker’s office. Speakers will then be put in touch directly with a school/college. From there the parties must discuss timings, audience and the format for their event. More about planning can be seen in the guides.
Schools and colleges are not able to make direct requests for individual speakers but instead give us preferred topics/industries, and we do not share speaker contact information until both parties have agreed to an event.
Q7. Is a Disclosing and Barring Service check (formerly CRB checks) needed for speakers?
DBS checks are not required as the speaker will not have unsupported or unsupervised access to students. School staff are required to be at the talk and overseeing every stage of the visit. However for other activities that might come out of the talk (such as mentoring) a check may be required – for more about this visit the GOV.UK website.
Q8. Who should speakers contact with any questions?
Our engagement team manages speakers’ work with the charity and we encourage you/your office to get in touch at any time if you have questions about how we work, preparing or support in arranging your talk.
Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q1. Where does Speakers for Schools operate?
Speakers for Schools currently works with schools and colleges in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We can accept applications from any state maintained secondary school or college (11-18 yrs) in these areas although speaker availability varies in each.
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Q2. Who are your S4S speakers?
The charity was especially set up to make it possible for state schools and colleges to access eminent, reputable figures from a range of backgrounds and industries—and to make it easier for these individuals to give their time to young people in state schools and colleges. S4S speakers are peer and institution nominated figures as noted figures or experts in their respective field/industry. They are high-achieving individuals who have unique insights as a successful, authoritative figure in their field that can help in broadening students’ horizons, engage them on issues and encourage them in their education and beyond.
Speakers generously donate their time and travel to speak in a state school/college that has applied to directly to the charity.
For more information about who S4S speakers are and their biographies, please see Our Speakers.
Q3. Who runs Speakers for Schools?
Speakers for Schools is administered by the Executive Director, Ashley Hodges, and her team, and governed by a Board of Trustees. Please see Our People for more details. The charity is kindly funded in full by the Law Family Charitable Foundation and Caxton Associates.
Q4. How are S4S talks planned?
Once a speaker is matched with a school/college they are put in direct contract to start planning the event. We have produced a short guide for speakers and schools so that each knows what to expect. These can be seen on our Plan a talk page.
We’re more than happy to help answer any queries you might have throughout this process we encourage both parties to contact us throughout the process. Please contact us through this website.