Takeover Day 2019

On 26 November 2019, 64 pupils and staff from across the RSA Academies took part in the annual Takeover Day at RSA House, London.

Takeover Challenge is an national initiative set up by the Children’s Commissioner to put children and young people into real-life decision-making positions in organisations. Children gain a valuable insight and gain experience of a workplace, while organisations benefit from a fresh perspective on their work.

RSA Academies runs Takeover Day as an opportunity for pupils from across the RSA Family of Academies to visit the RSA and learn about the variety of jobs and work at the RSA, as well as to pitch for money for a social action project.

The first half of the day consists of workshops run by members of staff from the RSA. This is an opportunity for students to learn something new whilst also seeing a variety of job roles across the RSA.

How much do our students know about where their food comes from? This is one of the questions pupils from Church Hill Middle School sought to learn from their workshop with Elliot Kett. The Steps at the RSA were used to video call a farmer who was out on his farm working the land. The students had the opportunity to ask the farmer questions about his job and about farming in general, establishing a link between agriculture and education rarely seen outside of agricultural colleges.

Riley, Assistant Researcher in the Public Services and Communities team, encouraged pupils attending his workshop to think of themselves as active citizens. He spoke about the foundations of a good democracy and how everyone can get involved in the democratic process. The pupils took part in a town planning exercise, learning where they can be active citizens and changing their preconceptions of what makes a community work.

Fran, Assistant Researcher, Creative Learning and Development and Aidan, Creative Learning and Development Coordinator took their groups through a series of design sprints in education. Using creative techniques, the groups drew innovative solutions to issues in the current education system. This got the group thinking critically about the education system they were going through and also introduced them to design principles used by many researchers and social change organisations.

Gabi and Benny, Junior Designers in the Design and Innovation team, ran a workshop looking at the fashion industry and how we need to move towards a circular fashion economy. The Design team at the RSA is working with the Ellen Macarthur Foundation on how the fashion industry can become more circular, a topic that will affect the students involved the most and definitely peaked their interest.

Sarah, assistant researcher to the CEO and Jack, Intern in the Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing team introduced the concept of disinformation to the students. They presented on the worrying act of spreading false information intended to deceive its reader. Sarah and Jack played a game of ‘Spot the Deep Fake’ with the students and got them to consider where the reliability of the source in front of them.

The second half of the day is a social action competition where each team of students comes with a pre-prepared pitch and project to be presented at RSA House. Each team gets a chance to work with a member of RSA staff to help shape their presentations before they pitch before a packed audience and the RSA Academies’ Dragons! This year Hannah and Colin, Senior Co-ordinator and Executive Director of RSAA respectively, judged the pitches and grilled them on the feasibility and potential impact of their projects.

The winning team this year was from St Stephen’s CE First School, who won with their project ‘Let’s Get Together’ which aimed to provide parties and social events for the elderly. Especially older people who live on their own with very little contact from family and friends. St Stephens won £250 in seed funding to start their project.

Church Hill Middle School, winners of last year’s competition, came 2nd with their project ‘The Church Hill Bikers’. This project aimed at providing children in our school with helmets, reflective gear, lights and anything else they need to get to and from school safely. Church Hill won £100 to start their project.

A key priority for our schools is developing communication and oracy skills and Takeover Day gave a selection of pupils the opportunity to speak the RSA. It also introduced them to a number of job roles and connected them with professionals who are willing to share their expertise with eager learners. Congratulations to everyone who took part.

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