Bringing learning to life can create an effective education impact, but needs careful planning. Some sponsors of school partnership initiatives are wary of live events, seeking a bigger reach through digital content or concerned about what could go wrong on the day. But in our experience, it is the integration of experiential events with other channels that creates a layered impact that can best achieve an organisation’s overall objectives.
So here’s an example (with some handy hints for your own events below):
Earlier this year we were delighted to commence work with M&S on School of Fish, an interactive and resource-based learning programme designed to educate children about the importance of marine conservation and the impact of environmental damage on the coastline. We aimed to create memorable events to work alongside rich digital content. The experiential approach encouraged direct engagement with pupils, business and the local community, as well as creating PR opportunities and a chance for employees to participate in wider brand involvement.
We first worked with the Marine Conservation Society on a series of Big Beach Clean-Ups. These special events gave 600 children under the age of 11 an insight into the relationship between their actions and the protection of local beaches. Our brave ‘Coastal Crime Scene Investigator’ (C-CSI) pupils battled gale-force winds to clean the beaches, complete Seashore Surveys and participate in investigative activities.
A few months later, School of Fish launched a national competition to find the best young debaters, encouraging teams to challenge a panel of expert judges as well as taking part in quizzes, activities and games at the Big Fish Debate Grand Final in Birmingham’s NEC. Inspired by celebrity hosts and marine biologists the day was a resounding success, largely thanks to a team of dedicated M&S Head Office and store staff volunteers. We gave each member of staff a role in the fishy activities and games, and were able to rely on them to help us pull together a successful and inspirational day for our young debaters.
And the handy hints for your own live events?
- Have a Plan B – when the weather was extreme for the Big Beach Clean-Ups and the celebrities went astray at the Big Fish Debate, the event teams were able to be flexible and change the plan on the move.
- Volunteers make the difference – the attitude and briefing of the M&S staff was a key factor in success.
- Enjoy it yourself – if the event leaders are confident and happy, the teachers and pupils are more likely to follow suit.
At National Schools Partnership we are used to running weird and wonderful experiential events. Glamorous? Not really. Fun and rewarding? Of course!
By Rosanagh Fuller, Account Manager