Ask the Experts

If you want to bring more depth to your lessons, why not get a little bit of help from an expert in the field? When it comes to some classroom topics, whether it’s health-related, bullying or global poverty, charities are the very best resource out there. We take a look at what some major charities have to offer schools…



International aid organisation Oxfam has a fantastic education programme all geared towards promoting global citizenship, providing information on the charity’s work and the bigger issue of poverty worldwide. The Oxfam website is brimming with ideas, tackling everything from human rights to inequality, as well as covering really topical stuff like the Syrian humanitarian crisis. You can also book a guest speaker from Oxfam to come into your school and talk to pupils about what the charity does – great for modern studies or RMPS classes, or if you’re planning a fundraiser in the school to benefit the charity.




Similar to Oxfam, Scotland-based charity Mary’s Meals also want to highlight the issue of poverty and hunger worldwide, and so they’ve got a selection of CfE-friendly education resources available online. There’s lesson plans, photos and videos, fundraising ideas and lots of competitions to check out too. You can also find out more about the charity’s ambassador programme, perfect for senior pupils – this is a brilliant volunteering opportunity, where ambassadors go out into the community, whether it be into nurseries or churches, to tell them more about what Mary’s Meals does. Great for UCAS applications.




LGBT Youth offer CPD training for teachers covering everything from supporting LGBT young people to challenging homophobic bullying, offer advice on improving equality policies in school, as well as producing a fantastic free online teachers’ toolkit, including lesson plans, all of which ties in with CfE. If you’re working in a college or university, the charity also offers a toolkit for tutors and lecturers in these settings.




Road safety is often associated with primary schools, but it’s an issue which is just as important at secondary level. Whether you’re dealing with cavalier teenagers who don’t believe in looking before they cross (11 to 14-year-olds are the highest risk when it comes to road accidents) or a gaggle of senior students itching to get their provisional license, Road Safety Scotland have bundles of information to keep your kids up to date with the rules of the road. With lesson plans and guidelines tailored to Curriculum for Excellence, plus a fantastic theatre programme, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.




Teenage Cancer Trust are renowned for their work in schools. Not only is this a popular charity when it comes to school fundraisers, but the organisation’s resources are first class. Every year, TCT’s education team deliver training and education to over 130,000 students and teachers across the UK. These sessions, perfect for PSHE lessons or assemblies, are all about highlighting the symptoms and signs of cancer for themselves and others, highlighting what makes teenage cancers different and letting children know about the lifestyle choices which can result in the disease. There’s a host of info online too if you want to get clued up yourself.




Scottish charity Respect Me has a wealth of online resources which are aimed at adults hoping to understand more about bullying behaviour and how to help children who are being bullied. From face to face to cyber bullying, there is lots of information online designed to help teachers support the young people they work with. The charity also offers lots of free training in topics like cyber bullying and how to implement an effective anti-bullying strategy in school – a great CPD opportunity that’ll really benefit your kids.




The British Heart Foundation’s free education resources are fantastic for covering the Health and Wellbeing side of the curriculum, with info on healthy eating, keeping active and smoking. With posters, lesson ideas, information-a-plenty and online games, BHF’s tools are great for PSHE, PE and science lessons, giving children a better understanding of heart disease and other heart problems – one of the biggest killers in Scotland. There’s also information for and about young people with heart conditions.




This football-based anti-racism charity is doing fantastic work in schools, with the education team and ex-professional footballers visiting schools to talk about the issue of racism. There’s a new project called Show Bigotry the Red Card too, handling the long-stranding problem of sectarianism in Scotland. After the workshop, copies of the charity’s educational DVD and activity packs are left in the school for teachers to work on with pupils. Better still, this service is available free of charge in most local authority areas. Check out the website too for lesson planning documents and background information.



This is just an overview of some of the big, well-known charities which can help your lessons and your development as a teacher – you have plenty more to choose from! Charities operating in your area are a great first contact, or if you’re covering a certain topic in class, get online and search for charities which cover it – many will be more than willing to provide resources or a guest speaker, often for little or no fee.

Think too about your pupils. If you have a child coming into your class with a specific medical condition, for instance, or additional support needs – whether they have Crohn’s disease, dyslexia, ADHD or cerebral palsy – there is more than likely to be a charity which supports people with these conditions, and who can deliver training to staff so that they know how to meet their pupils’ needs.

With a bit of creative thinking, digging around and asking questions, you’d be surprised what’s on offer to enrich your teaching. Start doing your research now.