With thanks to the 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.
Research from the Jubilee Centre finds that those who start volunteering before the age of ten are more than twice as likely to form a ‘habit of service’ (a commitment to continuing to volunteer) than if they start at 16-18 years of age. Yet, a Teacher Voice Omnibus survey carried out the NFER for the #iwill campaign shows that the majorty of primary teachers either don’t know what social action is or have not thought about it.
Our RSA4 programme is developing a sustainable primary social action programme with Year 4 pupils that will be student-led and high-quality. Most importantly the programme will deliver a ‘double-benefit’ by creating positive social change for the wider community, as well as empowering those young people leading the action.
The programme is first being developed and tested in four first schools in the West Midlands, including two RSA academies, Abbeywood First School and Sutton Park Community School, and two neighbouring schools, Woodrow First School and Charford First School.
RSA4 will take lessons learnt from the RSA Academies’ long-running social action programme for Year 8 pupils, RSA8 – now in its fifth year – to support a new group of young leaders at a crucial stage in their development as potential social action champions. RSA4 works with 40 pupil leaders across the participating schools for more intensive workshop training on leadership skills including problem-solving, teamwork, communication. Pupil Leaders then take this learning back to their schools to share these new skills with their peers and to come together to implement their social action project within the community as a whole year-group.
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 organisation including Association of Citizenship Teaching, Creatives, Challenge Academy and WE Schools
During the academic year 2019 – 2020 we will grow the programme to a further 6 schools within the West Midlands region, particular within Redditch and Kidderminster. You do not need to be an RSA Academies school to participate and if you are interested in joining RSA4, please contact email@example.com, who will be happy to tell you more about the programme.
Long term, we intend to encourage more primary schools to get involved in social action work by demonstrating what is possible and providing evaluation evidence in a final report and practical toolkit. We hope that these resources will enable other schools to benefit from our learning, and introduce more children to this valuable opportunity.