Vetting external organisations

It’s important to check the suitability of any external organisations or speakers asking permission to use your school.

Many schools organise opportunities for students to hear from external speakers. You might also let your school premises to external organisations for community events. In both these cases, you have a responsibility to ensure that the organisation is suitable.

You should consider the following points before agreeing for an external organisation to use your premises or hold an event at your school:

  • The topic and purpose of the event
  • Whether it would appropriate for your students (and the likelihood of students attending the event if held outside normal school hours)
  • The reputation of the organisers and any speakers – you should check the organisers’ and any speakers’ status and history by searching the internet, including social media
  • Who might attend
  • Any risks to your school’s reputation and ethos
  • The potential or likelihood that the visit will stir up hatred or incite violence
  • The views of the community safety team, local police or local Prevent coordinator if you have any concerns.

Find full advice on hosting speakers here.

Schools should strongly consider having a policy on hosting speakers, including outside school hours. This might set out, for example, that: it will only let organisations and individuals whose views and conduct match your school’s ethos use its facilities and asks speakers to sign up to a particular code of conduct before giving them permission to use your venue. Having a formal policy in place can also make it easier for you to justify refusing to host a particular organisation or person you might have concerns about.

If you happen to outsource your hiring arrangements to a third party, you’re advised to make sure they carry out vetting in line with your school’s policy and any guidance from the government. If you have any concerns, contact your community safety team, police or Prevent coordinator.

Useful links:

Resources

Advice for schools on making sure that invited speakers are suitable – both during and out of school hours.

This statutory guidance from the Department for Education should be read and followed by governing bodies of maintained schools and colleges, proprietors of independent schools (including academies and non-maintained special schools) and the management committees of pupil referral units. Schools and colleges must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It includes specific reference to preventing radicalisation on page 82 and advice on online safety at Annex C.

Download, print and display this striking poster on classroom or corridor display boards to support the fight against extremism. This poster explains that a school is a place that inspires and engages young minds. That a school is a place where democracy and the laws of the country are taught. Where every individual has a voice that is heard and respected, no matter what their faith or belief. It explains school values and that there is no place for extremism in schools. Free printed versions are also available to order for using the website’s ‘Contact Us’ form.

Guidance on how to talk about antisemitism and the Israel-Palestine conflict in the classroom.