Visits to other Colleges can be a highly informative and valuable exercise for all parties given proper preparation, due professionalism and clear expectations. This outline suggests a loose format that might enable S7 staff to get best value from an S7 Visit.
Setting up an opportunity: you can start your query by completing the enquiry form below, providing particular details regarding the opportunity you are looking for. S7 will then contact the other colleges and send details to you of any positive responses. You will be put in contact with the host department(s) so that you can organise a date.
Setting the date/s: the date chosen should be one when the host is able to arrange cover for a substantial part of the day in order to spend time with the S7 visitor. If this is a teaching and learning visit, it should also be a date on which a range of learning experiences are taking place within the area to provide a potential observation offer to the visiting S7 colleague. Once a date has been agreed it should be adhered to.
Preparing effectively: in order to maximise the benefit from a visit, it would be sensible for the visitor to alert the host College well in advance as to the type of areas it would be useful to see during the time. For cross-college roles, this might be quite complex and to do with understanding processes and procedures, rather than just straight forward observation or information gathering.
Drawing up a programme: where there are issues of particular interest to a visiting colleague, for example LRC provision, embedding of ICT, admissions policies, etc., it would be a good idea to plan a schedule for the visit to include coverage of these areas and to have a chance to talk to other staff in the college whose work might be of significance. It may well be that some lesson observation is a priority for a teaching and learning visitor, in which case this will need to be discussed in advance. Other likely requests might include a tour of area resources and wider college resources where appropriate, also time with the host Head of Department perhaps to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. This is by no means intended as prescriptive, only as an indication of the details that might be thought through in order to maximise the learning experience.
Following up: with good preparation, the visit will hopefully prove hugely valuable, perhaps not only to the visitor, but also to the host department. It may well be that both parties would like to maintain contact and swap ideas going forward: indeed, if there is a particular project that the host could provide continuing input and support for, it would be well worth approaching S7 to see what further facilitation could be available.
Evaluation form: a very brief follow-up analysis of your visit will be requested for your staff development records and for S7 to check that the process is running smoothly.
If you would like to set up a visit to one of the other S7 colleges please complete the contact form, providing as much detail as possible.