Guidelines for visits to schools

Visits to schools by volunteers from industry (referred to as ambassadors in this code) can take many different forms; from explaining a professional role, or how an industrial process works, to promoting safe use of the internet - or to being involved in a specific educational project.

It should go without saying that dealing and interacting with children and young people is an area of supreme sensitivity. Here are some points any ambassador needs to remember, to help avoid many of the problems associated with school-industry collaboration:

The ambassador is a role model

Any ambassadors to a school should always be aware that they are role models for the children and young people. As a result, they must always behave appropriately. This includes avoiding any attitude that might be perceived as offensive or outrageous, such as provocative dress. They should also remember to be punctual.

Avoid personal relationships

The ambassador should not develop a personal relationship with a child or young person. If a prior relationship exists before the activity, this should be reported to the school authority.

Never be alone with a child

The ambassador should avoid being alone with a child or young person and should always deal with groups, preferably in the presence of other adults.

Limit contact with children to the planned activity

Contact between the ambassador and a child or young person should be limited to what has been agreed for the activity. Attempts to get in touch with a child or young person outside of the activity are not permitted (for example, offering to give the child or young person a lift home).

No drugs or alcohol

It goes without saying that inappropriate drugs and alcohol should not be brought to schools, and that an ambassador should never enter a school under their influence. Neither should the use of drugs or alcohol be promoted to children and young people.

Always comply with local child protection laws

This may include ambassadors being checked by the Criminal Record Bureau, or its equivalent.

Never seek financial gain

During the activity, its preparation or its follow-up, the ambassador should not seek to gain any kind of financial advantage for themselves or their organisation. They should not, for example, actively promote their company’s products or services, or give out samples.

No personal data beyond the minimum

Data protection for minors requires careful consideration. Because of this, the ambassador must not access personal data beyond what is absolutely required for the activity. In addition, they should never disclose confidential information acquired during the course of the activity to a third party, whether it is about the children or any other subject. If the activity requires collecting personal information, compliance with legislation is mandatory at all times; in particular, consent and data protection issues must be properly addressed (see “Protecting data” and the checklist).

Report any conflict of interest

If, for any reason, potential conflicts of interest are identified, these have to be reported as soon as possible to both the school authority and the visiting organisation. Participants in any collaboration need to specify who any conflict of interest should be reported to.