Takeover Day: project pitches impress and inspire

The RSA’s third annual Takeover Day took place on 29th November, with a record number of nine schools (including two prospective schools) ‘taking over’ the RSA. Students from 7 to 17 took part in a programme of tours and workshops led by RSA staff volunteers as well as providing feedback to us on what makes being in a family of academies special, suggestions for how the RSA could work differently with the schools and what students felt they had learnt from the RSA to take back to school.

Strong themes that came out of the feedback included how much the RSA schools feel like a family and support student voice, with students saying:

We are all connected, have a community and are one family

All of the academies come together and communicate with all ages and ethnicities

They take on pupils ideas and make them real

There was also some very useful feedback for us on how the RSA could make their relationship with the schools even stronger, such as:

The events they host could be at schools because some schools might not be able to make it to London

Doing more activities related to the role of the RSA in our society

Work experience for post 16 in London

And, finally, the students had lots of ideas about what they were going to take back to their school from the day:

Having debates and special speakers at our school

Recycle more – this reduces pollution which affects the economy

Talk more about students’ ideas for innovation of the school environment

A major highlight of the day came in the second half of the programme, where the seven schools in the Family of Academies had the chance to pitch a school or community project to a Dragons’ Den panel of RSA staff for a cash prize. The winning prize of £250 went to Arrow Vale RSA Academy, with their project ‘Stressless Students’ (pictured pitching below) – this will involve supporting stressed students through the provision of a breakfast club, revision packs and training sessions on good revision techniques for parents and pupils.

Two runner-up prizes of £100 each were also awarded this year to RSA Academy, Tipton (also pictured below) for their Opinion8 idea, where student leaders will develop a public forum in their school to explore ‘political, ethical and moral questions’ that are affecting society, and Abbeywood First School (cover photo), who want to help students become healthier alongside developing gardening skills and sustainable growing practices in school, with their ‘Food for Learning’ project.

However, a special mention has to be made to the other four projects, all of which were fantastic project ideas that were well thought out and brilliantly presented. Both Holyhead and Whitley made great pitches about creating a cosy space in school – for Holyhead, the focus was for younger students and for Whitley the aim was to support vulnerable students during break times. Ipsley had a brilliantly-named project ‘Hooked’, which aims to engage pupils in reading by developing a magazine-style display maintained by an editorial group of pupils. Last but not least, Church Hill’s ‘Maths Lab’ project looks to transform a disused classroom into a bookable space full of fun maths resources – judges were particularly impressed by the 3D model the students presented during their pitch.

Well done everyone – we look forward to seeing how your projects progress over the next year!