Expanding Social Action to More Primary Schools

This week RSA Academies welcomed ten schools to participate in the second year of our RSA4 project to help Year 4 students take part in meaningful ‘youth social action’.

What is RSA4?

Youth Social action is practical action taken by young people for the benefit of others or the environment, for example, fundraising for a local charity, campaigning or volunteering.

The RSA4 project is a youth-led social action project for Year 4 pupils in Primary phase schools. Pupils are given the opportunity to identify a social cause that matters to them, research this issue and take practical action that will make a positive difference to their local community.

RSA4 not only supports pupil development but also provides teachers with the skills and confidence to build youth social action into the ethos of their school through specific training and support from expert organisation including Young Citizens and WE Schools.

Reaching more schools

Last year, we piloted RSA4 with four primary phase schools. Taking the learning from this all import first year, we have developed the programme further and expanded the offer to work with more pupils and schools across the West Midlands.

RSA4 will now be working with 100 Year 4 Pupil Ambassadors across ten participating schools for more intensive workshop training on leadership skills including problem-solving, teamwork, communication. The first of these workshops took place this week with pupils learning about active citizenship and their role in the community. Other workshops will focus on exploring social issues, developing a project plan and looking at social impact.

Pupil Ambassadors then take this learning back to their schools to share these new skills with their peers. Pupils then come together to implement their social action project within the community as a whole year-group over the Spring/Summer term.

Why primary schools?

We want to find out how we can create opportunities for primary school students to take part in social action with a ‘double benefit’ – that’s where social action that is good for the community, but also benefits the students themselves.

Social action isn’t common in primary schools. Surveys show most teachers either don’t know what social action is or haven’t thought about it. But we think social action in primary schools is important. Research shows that young people who take part in social action before they’re 10 years old are more than twice as likely to keep participating in the community. (This is called a ‘habit of service’.)

Long term, we intend to encourage more primary schools to get involved in social action by sharing our learning through an action research report that will be published in 2021.

Participating schools: 

  • Abbeywood First School RSA Academy, Redditch
  • Oldbury Park Primary RSA Academy, Worcester
  • St Stephen’s CE First School RSA Academy, Redditch
  • Sutton Park Primary RSA Academy, Kidderminster
  • Allens Croft Primary School, Birmingham
  • Kitwell Primary School, Birmingham
  • Offmore Primary School, Kidderminster
  • St Mary’s CE Primary School, Kidderminster
  • St Oswald’s CE Primary School, Kidderminster
  • Woodrow First School, Redditch

About RSA4:

With thanks to Pears #iwill Fund, the RSA and RSA Academies will be working together for the next two years to investigate what meaningful social action looks like at primary school level through the RSA4 project. If you would like to know more about the RSA4 project, please contact Hannah Breeze.

– The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities. Pears Foundation is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.

– The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.

– The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.

– By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.