Are you committed to a humanist approach to life? A good communicator? Enthusiastic about using your knowledge and personal experience to help young people learn about humanism?
If the answer is yes, then you could be a Humanists UK school speaker!
Read on to find out more about being a school speaker, to book your place at one of our Introduction to School Speaking sessions or What is humanism? introductory webinars, or to apply for our speaker training course.
Who are Humanists UK school speakers?
School speakers are trained volunteers, whose professional approach to visits and supporting students’ learning is appreciated by teachers around the country. Speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds and life stages, and we aim to build a network of speakers as diverse as the school audiences we serve.
A school speaker needs to have personal knowledge and experience of humanism. They must also be a current member of Humanists UK (or be prepared to join), and agree to abide by the School Speaker Code of Practice when they complete their training.
I was excited to meet you because I’ve never met, or heard of, anyone being a humanist before. When you introduced yourself it was good because it helped us get to know you a bit better. It made me consider you as a person, rather than just ‘a humanist’, which is what we were expecting.
KS2 student, Harrogate
What do school speakers do?
The role is very varied! As a speaker, your host teacher may ask you to work with a small group, a class, or a whole year group. You might give a classroom talk, lead an assembly, or contribute to a panel discussion.
The energy from the students is infectious. They… love having a visitor and really appreciate you being there – it’s hard not to just be bouncing away afterwards. The questions they ask can really make me think about my beliefs which is always a good thing to check in with.
Lottie Holmes, school speaker
Being a school speaker
Speakers are supported by the Understanding Humanism team, which matches speakers with teachers’ requests. Visits take place in school time and speakers often fit them alongside other work and family commitments.
We ask that speakers do a minimum of three schools visits per year, and be willing to participate in top-up training from time to time. You can read more about what it’s like to be a Humanists UK school speaker in our interviews with active speakers Tim, Isabelle, Clare, and Caroline.
It’s a really rewarding role – I’d recommend it to anyone who feels it’s something they could do.
Tim Purches, school speaker
I am really enjoying being a Humanist school speaker and I get a strong sense of how worthwhile it is from every visit I do.
Caroline Wallace, school speaker
How can I become a school speaker?
To become a Humanists UK school speaker, you need to take and pass our free one-day training course. Courses are held quarterly, on a Saturday (with some courses online at present), and led by experienced and supportive trainers.
|2024 School Speaker Training Courses
9 March 2024
18 May 2024
5 October 2024
7 December 2024
2 February 2024
8 April 2024
30 August 2024
25 October 2024
*If you would like to apply to attend this in-person training, but would need support with travel costs, due to travelling from a distance, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We may be able to help.
How to apply
You will find more information about being a school speaker in the application pack. Please read the pack, and let us know if you have any questions, before applying.
Remember that courses are only open to members of Humanists UK, or people prepared to become members.
We can only accept applicants who live in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
To apply for a course listed above, please complete your application form and return it to email@example.com by the application deadline. We will let you know within seven days of the deadline whether your application has been accepted.
If you need the application pack or application form in a different format, or other adjustments to the application process, please let us know.
We welcome applications from candidates of all backgrounds, particularly those currently under-represented in education and in our network. At present, we are also interested to hear from applicants able to deliver talks in Welsh.
Training with Humanists UK was genuinely a very enjoyable day. The session was friendly and focused… and also rigorous. I felt properly prepared before visiting schools.
Isabelle King, school speaker
If none of the course dates listed is convenient, you can register your interest for the future.
Complete the ‘Interested in becoming a school speaker’ form and you’ll be first to hear about forthcoming training courses as soon as they’re announced. We also use this information to decide where to hold future courses.
Can I find out more before applying?
Yes! If you’re still deciding whether school speaking is for you, or you’d like to hear from our trainers and experienced school speakers before applying, why not come along to one of our free Introduction to School Speaking sessions? These short, informal online events will tell you more about what’s involved and give you a taste of what being a school speaker is like. It’s a great chance to hear from active speakers about their experiences and to have your questions answered.
|Introduction to School Speaking
|Date and Time
Monday, 25 March 18.30-19:30
Tuesday, 23 July, 12:30-13:30
Tuesday, 15 October, 18:30-19:30
Can I check my knowledge of humanism before I apply?
Yes! If you would like to explore or refresh your own knowledge of humanism before you apply for school speaker training, you can book a place at one of our free, introductory What is humanism? webinars. These informal events will recap the key characteristics of humanism, and demonstrate how Humanists UK talks about humanism to education and other audiences.
|What is humanism?
|Date and Time
Thursday, 28 March, 12:00-13:15
Thursday, 18 July, 18:00-19:15
Thursday, 10 October, 12:00-13:15