Preparing for a Writers in Schools Visit or a Residency

We asked a number of our writers and storytellers for pointers around preparing for a school visit. Here is what they suggested:

Contact details

Who is the person who rang you – eg secretary? principal? Who will be your contact for the visit? Get names, phone numbers and email addresses of contacts and teachers

Date and duration of visit

  • When will the visit take place?
  • What is the duration of the visit?
  • Start and finish times?

Structure of visit

  • How many separate sessions?
  • Duration of sessions?
  • What classes / age groups?
  • How many pupils in each session?

Type of visit

  • What type of session is preferred e.g. storytelling, workshop, talk, reading, or a curriculum-based session?
  • Is the visit part of school arts week / part of another programme?


  • Where will the session(s) take place? In classroom / hall / assembly / library / other?
  • What are the acoustics like?
  • Is the space free / uninterrupted?


  • What is the exact purpose of the visit? What do you and the teacher want to achieve?
  • Is follow up planned? If so, what?


  • Is the school mixed / boys / girls?


  • Are there any specific areas of creative writing that the teachers would like the writer to concentrate on?

Children’s profile

  • Have the children any specific needs e.g. learning issues, special needs, cultural / ethnic issues, sensitive issues that the writer should be aware of such as a recent bereavement?
  • What are the ability levels?
  • Are the pupils already familiar with the writer’s work?

Teacher’s role

  • Do teachers whose classes are involved know about the visit?
  • What is the teacher’s role?

Location of school

  • Directions to school – ask for a map if available.


  • Inform school of your approach to this.

Equipment requirements for writer

  • Outline needs such as flip chart, name tags, etc.

Find out more about preparing for a residency from some of our experienced facilitators

» Sheena Wilkinson
» Pete Mullineaux
» Siobhan Parkinson