RSA Academies RSA4 Road-trip: Charford First School
Last Thursday we completed the final leg of the RSA4 road-trip. Over the past month, we have been visiting all of the schools participating in our primary youth social action programme RSA4 to see how pupils’ projects have progressed.
Each of the schools have led their own individual actions from raising money towards a local charity to tackle youth homelessness to creating a mindfulness garden to raise awareness of poor mental wellbeing. So for the final time this year, we set out on the RSA4 road-trip to visit Charford First School to find us more about their pupils’ commitment to becoming a more environmentally minded school community.
Power of Youth
We know that young people are quickly becoming some of the most impassioned voices on the climate crisis. The pupils at Charford First School are no different and decided they wanted to tackle the issue of single-use plastic and encourage more people to recycle within their community.
Over the Summer term, pupils have undertaken a range of learning activities to help inform their project. As part of their science and geography curriculum, pupils have been learning about and researching the effects of plastic pollution in our oceans and wild animals’ natural habitat. Pupils have also been busy researching what sort of items can or can’t be recycled and even organised an assembly demonstration to show what common household items can be recycled that are often thrown away so that even more pupils can be plastic clever. During our visit, we were lucky enough to see RSA4 Pupil Leaders give their final class presentation to their wider Year 4 peers on the impact of their project and a summary of everything they had achieved as a year group. The presentation was rounded up with a call to action from pupils with chants of ‘make a change. You’ve got the power’.
To help raise further awareness around recycling among staff and parents, pupils designed a range of informative posters to be displayed in community areas of their school. However, it’s not just posters that pupils have turned their artistic skills toward, they have also entered a design competition to create a pattern for a beeswax cloth (eco-friend cling film alternative) that they hope to sell at their school to replace cling film in pupils’ lunchboxes.
Not only have pupils tried to show that recycling is important, but it can also be fun and create beauty out of otherwise waste items. As part of their Summer fayre pupils manned a stand selling their own handmade bracelets made out of recycled paper beads. Pupils had great fun making their bracelets and talking to people about environmental issues.
Creating a change
As well as creating behaviour and attitude changes in their communities, pupils have also taken action to make their school environment a more pleasant and green space. During their lunchtimes and after school pupils have organised a litter collection and recycled the items they collected. Some pupils have even been motivated to go litter picking with family members at weekends in the wider local community so that others outside of their school could benefit.
To ensure that their RSA4 project has a lasting legacy after the current Year 4 pupils move on to their new middle schools, Pupil Leaders have been busy establishing an eco-committee called ‘Waste Busters’ made up of younger pupils so that they can continue to champion the issues and make a positive difference now that the school has started on its journey to becoming a greener school.
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.
- 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.
- The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.
- Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable young people to make a positive difference in their communities as well as develop their own skills and knowledge.
- 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.