Year 4 Pupil Lead the Way for Community Change

Over the past six weeks,100 Year 4 pupils have attended a series of social action training workshops to help them become ambassadors for positive change in their communities and schools.

The children taking part in the workshops, each of whom were selected for their peer leadership potential, have come together with ten West Midlands schools to start planning their RSA4 social action projects.

What is RSA4?

RSA Academies primary social action project, known as ‘RSA4’, works with ten primary and First schools across the West Midlands to empower some of our youngest citizens to use their passions to make a positive difference.

During the project, Year 4 pupils are given the opportunity to identify and research a social issue that they feel passionate about, and then make a difference to this by taking practical actions that help others or the environment. Practical actions could include activities such as fundraising for charitable causes, campaigning to raising awareness or volunteering.

Over the past six weeks, each of the participating schools has nominated ten Pupil Ambassadors to represent their peers. These Ambassadors have attended special workshops to learn about their role in the community and active citizenship. Pupils have also learnt more about social issues that impact people’s lives and our planet. All of the RSA4 workshops have been delivered in partnership with WE Schools, a charity that aims to empower the next generation of leaders.

Year 4 teachers also attended some of their own training with Young Citizens to lead more about the role of the teacher in youth-led social action projects

Into Action!

Now at the third and final workshop of term Spring term, it was time to come together for a changemakers workshop with other RSA4 schools to develop a plan of action.

Our WE Schools facilitators took pupils on an imaginary journey as ‘issue explorers’ to different communities to discuss some of the social issues that pupils had identified, including food poverty, homelessness, and loneliness. Pupils were tasked with presenting to the rest of the group on their chosen issue and explaining why it was important to them as young citizens.

Next, pupils moved on to brainstorming some of the ways they could make a difference through specific actions such as fundraising, political action, raising awareness, collecting items and volunteering. Pupils then started planning a project timeline and considering project roles for themselves and their Year 4 peers.

Project ideas included, creating care packages for local homelessness shelters with essential items and positive affirmations, setting up community days for isolated elderly people to come into schools to help pupils with their reading and take part in social activities and taking political action to raise awareness for the climate change crisist.

The day rounded off with a ‘breaking news’ skit where pupils imagined they were news anchors from the future reporting on the impact and legacy of their projects.

Having drawn up their initial project plans, the RSA4 Pupil Ambassadors will now present these to their Year 4 classmates, inviting them to feed in their own ideas, participate in further research and support the overall project during the Spring/Summer Term.

All of the Pupil Ambassador from across the participating RSA4 schools will meet again for another workshop in May to review their progress and reinvigorate their change-making ideas.

The RSA4 programme will conclude with a celebration event in June where pupils will present on their social action projects, share their successes with the other schools and reflect on what they can do in the future.

By participating in RSA4, we hope to build Year 4 pupils’ confidence in their ability to lead, collaborate as a team, communicate effectively, and help connect their learning to the wider world. Through meaningful social action, pupils can develop these key skills and plant a seed for an on-going commitment to supporting others and their communities.

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. Pears Foundation is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.

– The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.

– 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.

– By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.

Related project: RSA4 Primary Youth Social Action