RSA4 Social Action Planning Day at University of Worcester
On Friday 29th March, 40 Year 4 Pupil Leaders came together for a special RSA4 social action workshop at the University of Worcester.
RSA4 is a new primary social action programme run across four West Midlands schools including Abbeywood First School RSA Academy, Charford First School, Sutton Park Primary RSA Academy, and Woodrow First School. The overall programme will see Year 4 pupils deliver their own youth-led social action project that will tackle an issue that pupils recognise in their communities or school.
Ten pupils have been nominated from each school to take on the role of Pupil Leader for the project, but all Year 4 pupils will play an important role in delivering the social action plan over the summer term.
Friday’s workshop was the last in a series of skills sessions that have seen Pupil Leaders undertake special leadership training to develop teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills.
University planning day
The social action planning workshop kickstarted with a campus tour from a second-year student, Nicole. The Pupil Leaders were able to ask Nicole questions about what life is like as a university student. Pupils were also introduced to the Student Engagement Coordinator who explained that volunteering and supporting local charities is an important aspect of university life.
Following the campus tour and a few warm-up team games, students dived straight into the important question of the day, what do we mean by social action? Here the students were guided by Katy and Leah from WE Schools, an international youth leadership organisation. Pupils learnt how young people across the world have influenced social change and that they too can play an important role in their communities by doing something positive in the service of others.
Katy and Leah took pupils on an imaginary journey as ‘issue explorers’ to different communities to discuss some of the social problems they face, including food poverty, homelessness, and air pollution. Pupils were asked to make a choice about what they thought were the most important issues and then present the reasons for their decision.
Ideas into action
These debates became the starting point for pupils to discuss what are the problems that they see in their communities or school? Each school group were able to identify a range of issues that pupils were aware of on their doorstep including poor mental health, homelessness, litter and plastic waste.
Next, the Pupil Leaders were asked to think about what sort of social change they wanted to lead based on their chosen issue. Could they raise awareness about a hidden problem? Did they want to fundraise or organise a collection to support a local charity? Or should they volunteer their time to help others? Pupils were also encouraged to think about how they could involve community leaders, local organisations or politicians in their projects.
After careful thought, it was time to put these ideas into action by developing their own social action project plans that will have a positive impact in their communities and test their newly gained skills.
Each school group were then asked to present their project to the other participating schools. With the planning workshop complete, the 40 Pupil Leaders will now go back to their schools to start putting their projects into action.