School visit guidelines

This is by no means a definitive guide, rather a collection of useful tips and information.

IChemE recommends that all whynotchemeng volunteers also register as STEM Ambassadors with STEM Learning to make use of their more comprehensive induction session, free DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and insurance. More information can be found at    

Contacting schools

    • phoning the school can be more effective than email unless you have the teacher's direct email address;
    • expect to persevere in order to make contact;
    • ask when break times/free periods are - staff are likely to be available during these times;
    • the Head of Chemistry/Science or Careers is often the most appropriate first point of contact.

Visiting schools

On arrival:

    • don't assume the school will have adequate car parking - allow extra time for this;
    • always aim to arrive 30 mins early - the school timetable can be very inflexible and adjustments are not always possible if you are late;
    • always report to the school reception first - it will be clearly signposted;
    • it can be useful to take photo ID just in case.



    • don't assume the school will have projector/display equipment - always check in advance;
    • practical demonstrations may not be allowed as schools must adhere to strict health and safety procedures - always check in advance.


Minimising risk*:

    • you should not be left unattended with students - if the teacher leaves the room, you should too;
    • there should be someone present who can take responsibility for health and safety and safeguarding
    • you should not 'friend' students on facebook;
    • never give your email address to students - give contact details to the teacher who can then pass on any queries;
    • physical contact with students should be avoided;
    • under no circumstances offer to keep a confidence for a student.


UK and Ireland education systems

For information on school levels, ages and exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, please view the document below:

Education systems

*information and advice provided by STEMNET