RSA4 Learn to Lead

In the last few days of Student Volunteering Week 2019 (11 – 17 February), RSA Academies launched the very first RSA4 Pupil Leaders Workshop.

With the support of the Pears #iwill Fund, the RSA and RSA Academies are working together for the next two years to launch RSA4 and investigate what high-quality youth social action looks like at primary school level. This workshop marked the first in a series of activities that will help pupils develop the skills necessary to lead their own social action projects.

40 Year 4 pupil leaders attended the workshop at Sutton Park Community School to learn more about leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and communication. Ten pupils have been nominated to take on the role of pupil leader from each of the four participating schools, including two RSA academies, Abbeywood First School and Sutton Park Community School, and two neighbouring schools, Woodrow First School and Charford First School.

The bespoke skills workshop from Jackson at As Creatives, started the day off with some warm-up games to get the pupils thinking about leadership. The first of these games included asking the pupils to collectively agree on some key qualities of good leadership including respect, loyalty, cooperation, and resilience.

Next, pupils were mixed into small groups, for many, this was their first time working with pupils from other schools, and they rose to the challenge. The following activity required the group to think about their teamwork, problem-solving and creative thinking, as pupils were asked to play a game of ‘human sculptures’. Pupils were given just 30 seconds to assemble themselves into a sculpture that resembled an animal that represented some of their chosen leadership skills. Animals included a giant tortoise for resilience, a dolphin for communication, and a kangaroo with a baby joey for loyalty. The pupils had to quickly communicate their idea as a team, whilst thinking creatively about how to use each team member most effectively.

Now that pupil had explored what sort of qualities made good leaders, pupils were asked to think of people within their communities that they felt best displayed these same leadership skills. Pupils’ answers included elderly people, the police, their parents, and their school teachers. Jackson went on to explain that all these leaders play an important role in their communities, and being part of a community means thinking about and doing something positive for others.

Following on from this, pupils were set the challenge of designing a community garden with one of their community leaders in mind. Each group of pupil leaders were given a list of garden items they could ‘purchase’ from their limited ‘budget’. Pupils had to deliberate within their groups as to which items would be most important for their community leaders, as well as assigning roles and tasks to each other. Which team members would draw the plan? Which team members would use their maths skills to keep track of the budget? Afterwards, each group had to present their final plan to the other 35 pupils and school staff, before voting as a group on a winner that best fit the needs of their community leader.

To wrap up the day, pupils came together to agree on some group golden rules of leadership and design a set of posters that represented their commitment to being good leaders for their school and community.


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.

  • 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.
Related project: RSA4 Primary Youth Social Action