What we do

Our charity is the UK’s committed network of leading figures who want to give back to young people in state schools.

Founded by journalist Robert Peston, our free school talks help share unique insights, spark inspiration and create exciting conversations for students with big questions for individuals who have come to be a leader in their field or industry. Open to all state secondary schools, academies and colleges. Find out about how we can work with you.

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talks to date



students reached



of teachers say our talks have left a lasting impact on students

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How it works


All UK secondary state schools and colleges across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for a talk. To take part, a school/college (Headteacher, Deputy, selected coordinator) must submit a completed application on behalf of their institution. Applicants must understand the commitments outlined in the application form when applying for a talk.

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Matching Speakers with School Requests

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 a 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. As all of our speakers are vetted, reputable figures in their industries when there isn’t an exact topic request match we still will try to be sure the school can benefit from a speaker’s time—see more about the Speaker Themes which can help in honing any speaker’s talk to benefit your students.

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Making the Connection

We will always tell you before putting you in touch with one another to arrange your talk. As every school/college has varying student cohorts, S4S facilitates a direct connection between speakers and schools/colleges to plan and agree to the finer details of the event.

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Planning between Speaker and School

In addition to email communication it’s crucial there is at least one phone call between the school and the speaker/their office. This is invaluable in setting expectations and clarifying what students would benefit from most. We can help with this if needed!

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School/College Preparation

Schools/colleges need to prepare students ahead of the talk so they know who will be speaking and can be ready to take part in the Q&A. Speakers might request a briefing note so they can tailor their talk. We have a useful guide for this here.

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Speaker Preparation

As a result of a phone call with the school/college speakers should consider the content of their talk and ensure it is pitched at the right level for their audience. A guide with typical talk themes can be found here.

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The talk itself

Usually lasting 1 hour, S4S talks are a chance for students to engage with speakers — comprised of a short talk (15-20 minutes) from the speaker followed by a Q&A with students for 30-40 minutes. The school/college should be on-hand to facilitate the event as students can sometimes be shy, and to make sure the event keeps to time as needed. To read about different forms a typical talk can take, please see our Case Studies.

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Speakers and schools are sent a quick webform to provide feedback on their event experience. You can see examples of our speakers engaging students in our Video Library.

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Danny Jones at Thornleigh Salesian College

Danny Jones, lead singer & guitarist of McFly and coach on The Voice Kids UK, visited Thornleigh Salesian College for a talk as part of the Speakers for Schools program.  Video courtesy of Mark Forrer.

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