Maureen’s first virtual school visit: ‘ I’ve finally done it!’

Maureen ready to begin her first virtual school visit

Maureen Birkett has been a CAFOD primary schools volunteer for over 12 years and she shares with us her recent new experience of making her first virtual schools visit this term.

Well I’ve finally done it! After months of listening to the distant talk of ‘virtual visits’ I finally got the email:

“One of your schools has requested a virtual visit.”

Not wishing to be daunted by this I immediately took up the challenge and made, what was to be, my first mistake. I instantly bombarded the school for information and admitted I had not actually done one before. Communication suddenly went dead but I had learned my lesson.

My next step was to contact Sarah and Richard in the local office and ask for help. They were brilliant and immediately set up a Zoom call to talk me through it. At the same time I listened to David at our Refresher Day and requested the very informative recordings on how to record on Zoom and then how to transfer the recordings. I was ready to go.

It wasn’t long before the next request came in and I was ready for it this time. Fortunately dialogue with the school was good and they were very specific with their requirements. They wanted a ten minute recorded Lent assembly for Key Stage 2 and a shorter simplified version for Key Stage 1. The school had watched the National Assembly and the pupils had already started fund raising.

As every volunteer knows, spending time on the preparation is key to a successful visit and a virtual visit is no different. Being familiar with the material, knowing the school’s previous involvement with CAFOD as well as having the technical knowledge to present, all play a vital role. The same applies to a virtual visit. Fortunately having the option to record means that you can continue until you’re satisfied with the result.

Find out more about becoming a CAFOD schools Volunteer

I tried to make it more visually interesting by putting up posters as a background. To make it more personal I referred to previous visits, named their teachers and talked about their efforts at fundraising. The most difficult part was learning the script so that I wasn’t reading and could look directly at the camera.

I have to admit, it took several attempts before I was completely satisfied but it was all worth it in the end. The school was delighted and very appreciative and I’m now ready to move on to the next one with greater confidence.

Book a CAFOD virtual visit for your school, contact us at

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