Student Leadership Celebration 2017

Now in it’s third year, the RSA8 Programme is a bespoke programme for a group of year 8 students in each of the Family of Academies. Throughout the year, each school hosts a session for a different leadership skill element of the programme. Students then visit Warwick University, where they put together a social action project that will have an impact on their own school community. Finally, there is a formal celebration at the end of the programme, where students from each of the academies present the outcomes of their project.

This year, the celebration event happened on 11th July at RSA Academy, Tipton. The event began with a short film from Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, who made the video for the occasion as he unfortunately had to miss the event as the launch of his review of Modern Work was on the same day. In the video, he talked about the focus of the review, emphasising the importance of all work being good work.

This was followed by an introduction from Alison Critchley, Chief Executive of RSA Academies, who asked the students to think what they would say to a year 7 pupil about the RSA8 programme. Echoing the feedback from the evaluation forms, the student leaders talked about how they had enjoyed meeting lots of new people, how the programme has helped to build their confidence and given them the opportunity to develop skills such as problem-solving and public speaking. Each group went on to present on their social action projects, demonstrating their fantastic communication skills and confidence.

Just before the presentations, Venandah Madanhi, an alumnus of RSA Academy Tipton and a second-year Law student at Aston University, gave a powerful talk about what it means to be a leader and the importance of developing employability skills such as leadership when considering the workforce of the future, linking this to the sentiment expressed by Matthew Taylor in his video.

Holyhead School were the first school to present, highlighting their work with younger students in the school as part of a mentoring programme they set up through a dramatic performance. Then we had students from Church Hill Middle School tell us about their tutoring programme with year 6 students to help prepare them for their SATs. Next up we had the RSA Academy Tipton group talk about the range of issues they had tackled as part of their social action project – from encouraging year 8 students to attend the options evening (with 98% attendance!) to writing letters to the incoming year 7 students to help make the transition easier.

Whitley Academy, the penultimate group, presented in bright yellow shirts – the students had held several fundraisers (including asking teachers to wear yellow for a day!) to raise money for the baby hospice, Zoe’s Place. And last, but by no means least, we had Ipsley CE RSA Academy students present on their work with a homeless charity, that included an outdoor sleepover in tents on the school grounds as a fundraiser.

Well done to this year’s RSA8 cohort for all the hard work put into the very successful social action projects!