RSA4 Primary Social Action Road-trip: Sutton Park RSA Academy
On a very wet and windy Tuesday, RSA Academies set out on the first visit of the RSA4 road-trip. Over the next month, we’ll be visiting all of the participating schools to see how they are getting on with their primary youth social action projects. It was exactly what we needed to brighten our day.
The first visit was to Sutton Park RSA Academy in Kidderminster. Given the recent youth-led movement to raise awareness of climate change, it’s not surprising to see that the Sutton Park pupils are just as passionate about environmental issues. They’ve decided to dedicate their social action project to working towards becoming a greener school.
After arriving at Sutton Park, I was quickly whisked into a series of assemblies for Key Stage 1 and 2 on the Year 4 pupils’ RSA4 projects. The assemblies were led by a group of Year 4 pupils who had bravely volunteered to present and show off the communication skills they have practising as part of the RSA4 project. For many of the pupils, this was their first time presenting to such a large audience. They all rose to the challenge to give informative and inspiring talks.
Pupils had spent time as a class carefully researching key facts and emotive pictures on plastic pollution for their presentation. Pupils highlighted that the actions of people locally have far-reaching consequences as plastic makes its way into our oceans and impacts on wildlife, creating a global problem. Pupils wanted to help put a stop to this by raising awareness of plastic pollution within their own school and campaign to become a greener school. Back in their classroom, pupils wasted no time in explaining everything they’ve done as part of their youth-led social action project.
First on the agenda was to conduct a survey on the school communities’ attitude towards recycling and the issue of litter. During their maths lessons, the pupils learnt all about surveys including how to design their own using a scale and tallying the responses they received. Pupils’ surveys included questions such as ‘how much do you think our school recycles?’ and ‘we would like more recycling bins in school. Do you think this will make an impact?’.
Armed with the information that their school community would like to be able to recycle more, the RSA4 pupil leaders set about organising a meeting with the School Maintenance Manager and Kitchen Team to see how they can cut down on single-use plastic and introduce a compost bin. Pupils had even thoughtful provided an idea about how the new compost could help maintain their school’s sensory garden to support the natural environment.
The pupils weren’t content to sit back and wait for things to happen. They wanted to inspire the change themselves by forming a pupil eco-club to encourage other students across the school to join their efforts and organise lunchtime litter pick-ups within the school grounds.
Pupils have also written letters to their School Business Manager asking for support to introduce new compost and recycling bins around the school. Like all good project leaders, the Year 4 pupils took a moment to reflect on all their hard work. Something was missing from their letter. They had signed off ‘we hope you take our idea seriously’, but how could they make their campaign look more professional?
The answer the pupils decided, was to come up with their own logo for their campaign and newly formed eco-club. This logo would allow them to create a professional letterhead and badges to signal to other pupils their membership to the eco-club and to encourage them to speak to Year 4 pupils about joining. During my visit, pupils were in the final stages of designing their logos before taking a class vote to fairly decide on the winning design. When it came down to the last two designs, pupils gave careful consideration as to how they could use the best elements of both so that nobody would feel disappointed and showing that the best ideas often come from teamwork.
Not content with focusing their efforts within their school, pupils have also become budding journalists for their school newsletter. By working in small groups, they have created a special RSA4 edition newsletter celebrating their actions so far and encouraging parents to take an interest in supporting their campaign. We can’t wait to see their project develop over the next few weeks.
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.