Raising individual aspiration through cultural experiences

Discovering what’s on your doorstep

This project aims to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of young people aged 11-14 (years 7-9). This age group is crucial as these young people are just beginning to consider what they may want to be and do, but have not yet had to make hard choices of subjects to study and where their futures might lie.

The objectives are to

  • raise individual and community aspiration, broadening horizons
  • give cultural and work experiences students will not have access to otherwise
  • offer knowledge and experience beyond the local community
  • raise work aspirations and build self-confidence to take risks

The students in RSA Academies are in communities which are not far from large centres which offer a wider set of opportunities than their immediate location. However many of them have never ventured that far, even if it is just a bus ride away.  This means that these young people lack experience of what might be interesting and worthwhile options for them, in both leisure and work.  The Academies all have programmes which endeavour to give their students a broad education, there is a strong student leadership programme, arts are included for all and there is careers advice, including contact with local businesses and bigger employers in the area.

However many young people do not have understanding of the possibilities that are available to them if they travel a little further afield – their horizons are very limited in terms of geography and of social and civil institutions. This leads to lack of engagement in school and low aspirations as they make their choices as they move through their studies.

The young people will go to a range of large institutions, including cultural places (art galleries, concert halls, libraries, and theatres), work places (e.g. conference centres, city halls, football grounds) and social institutions (e.g. hospitals, law courts). They will investigate not only the frontline services and public interface, but also the infrastructure and back room functions which are essential to the running of such places. They will find out the range of jobs involved and the kinds of qualifications needed to do them. They will learn about the structures of big institutions and the motivations of people who work there.

That these places are not far from their homes means that the students would be able to return to them subsequently on their own. They can also see what opportunities exist locally for different kinds of work.


Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash.

Schools involved:

RSA Academy

Ipsley CE RSA Academy

Arrow Vale RSA Academy

Whitley Academy

Project details:

Date Started 01 March 2014
Date Finished 30 June 2014
Project Funder RSA Academies