When a school contacts you about a visit, get back to them as soon as you can and finalise a date. Send a booking form outlining what is available, and any charges, then confirm with a timetable so teachers know what to expect.
Most schools will want to send a whole class of 25 or 30 children so agree with the school how they will be divided up for different activities and how many helpers will be needed.
It is good practice to invite the teacher in charge of the visit, and their helpers, to a pre-visit. You can show them where everything is, go through your risk assessment and run through what will happen on the day, including adverse weather arrangements.
Make sure schools are briefed with any information the children will need, and items to bring with them such as wellies, warm clothes, gloves and waterproofs, or sunhats and sunscreen according to the season.
If possible, provide teachers with an information pack about your farm, your educational facilities and the activities you can provide. This could include a map and a few facts and figures that the teacher can use in advance.
Be clear about who is doing what on the day, and that the class teachers and helpers also know what to expect throughout their visit. Teachers are responsible for monitoring the children’s behaviour.
Make sure you have considered all the health and safety implications of inviting school children onto your farm. Point teachers to the Code of Practice Teachers’ guide.
Check your facilities, equipment, signs etc in time to make any necessary changes, and again the day before the visit. Signage for farms hosting visits gives ideas to encourage hand washing.
Prepare a timetable for the day, including a checklist of everything you need to get ready.
Make sure everyone on the farm is aware that a visit is taking place and make sure the route is clearly marked and that there will not be any movement of heavy machinery, delivery lorries etc..