Bringing Scotland's schools and food and drink
companies together

Tips for industry when working with schools

We have prepared some hints and tips to help food companies when they are working with schools.


  • Objectives: Well in advance of any activity taking place, check with the teacher what the objectives of the session are and what the pupils already know about the topic.
  • Format – is it a workshop in a classroom or a talk or speed career networking at a table or a career event using a stall format?
  • Equipment: If you need any AV equipment or anything for a demonstration, (e.g. safety goggles), then you should make sure it can be provided. For instance, a school may not have a data projector for showing PowerPoint presentations. For careers event with a stall format, you may want to bring a pop up stand plus a table cloth for handouts/literature.
  • Resources: Think about any materials or literature you could take with you. SFDF has developed a range of resources that industry can use when working with schools.
  • Check how long you have: Allow time for students to settle, for you to be introduced and for questions at the end. School lessons and college / university lectures end very promptly.
  • Pitch it at the right level: Check the age range of the audience and the number who will be attending.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary: Don't make it over complicated or too simple - and avoid jargon and abbreviations. It is worth introducing students to some new terms, but remember to explain what they mean.
  • Make it relevant: Use real life examples of how the student audience might experience the subject in their day-to-day life or apply the subject to your job or the company you work for.
  • Make it interesting and varied: Use visual aids (e.g. photos, diagrams, simulations, models, actual equipment or products, demonstration of a scientific principle). You might include a quick verbal quiz (multiple choice) on areas you have covered.
  • Relate your subject to students' own experience: Use news stories; films, TV programmes or books; or holidays and trips that some or all may have experienced.
  • Interact with students: Ask questions to find out what the students think or know, or to check if they understood something you mentioned earlier.
  • Be safe: If you are demonstrating equipment or any scientific principle, ensure you have considered risks and work with regard to the health and safety of yourself, any helpers and the audience.
  • Be sensitive to your audience: Be aware that the students may be mixed or single gender; from a variety of ethnic backgrounds; may not speak English as a first language; may be from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds; and may have a range of aspirations.
  • Discipline: remember you are not responsible for classroom discipline; the teacher should stay with the students and ensure good behaviour throughout your input. Most pupils will be well behaved and engaged but if you do experience problems please do alert the teacher to your concerns.

The visit

  • Dress appropriately: smart or smart casual. You may want to wear something cool as schools, colleges and universities are often very warm.
  • Give yourself enough time: to find a parking space, unload any equipment, sign in, wait for someone to collect you from the reception to take you to the venue and to set up any equipment you have.
  • Responsibility: you should not be left alone with students – the teacher is responsible for them.
  • Food samples: If bringing in food stuffs then check in advance that this is acceptable and also check that the food stuffs are able to be tasted e.g. do students have allergies or specific religious beliefs that may prevent tasting,.
  • Photos: If wanting to take photos check with the teacher well beforehand and if needs be use a permission form.
  • Teacher input: Ask the teacher for specific help for the session if this will help e.g. if presenting on a particular topic then ask her/him to chip in on how this links in with what the pupils have already studied.

Last reviewed: 24 Jul 2018