Year 8 student leadership programme

Guest blog from Arvind Batra, Student Leadership Co-ordinator, RSA Academy, Tipton.

Training for the Year 8 students leaders, or the RSA8 ​came to an end with the highly anticipated Warwick University residential weekend.  After taking part in a number of training sessions to support their leadership journeys, students in the RSA8 programme across the Family of Academies, put their skills to the test and devised a Social Action Plan to make a difference in their school or community.

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The first part of the weekend was to check in to our accommodation. After lunch, they were supported by an organisation called Uprising, whose mission is to support young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to flourish as leaders, by instilling leadership skills through their rigorous training programmes.  After listening to Uprising’s Michaela and her journey, students put together a project plan by beginning to think about issues in our Academies and how they as a group could tackle them.  The RSA Academy leaders chose to hold a Slam Poetry Competition to encourage fellow students to become more confident about speaking in public.

‘We thoroughly enjoyed working with your RSA8 Leaders, they were such an enthusiastic and impressive group’ Katy Baker, Birmingham Programme Manager

At Warwick University there are over 250 societies which any student can join whilst studying there, there’s an Arts Society, a Film and Media Society and even a Queuing Society!  So after dinner and the opportunity to listen to Nicole, a Psychology student about how she achieved her place at Warwick, the students were given a taster from two of the societies; The Poetry Slam Society and the Bhangra Society.  During the poetry slam session with Anne Marie and Andreas, both studying English Literature, students were shown how to put the poems together; they were shown examples of slam poetry; they wrote and performed their own poems and even heard specially written poems (for RSA8) from Anne Marie and Andreas! Next up was the Bhangra Workshop, students from the Bhangra Society who were studying Chemistry and Law, took on the challenge of teaching the students a Bhangra routine.  Students took part with great energy and enthusiasm even though it was past 9pm, but were soon ready for bed, much to the delight of the staff.

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On Saturday, after a hearty breakfast, students were whisked away by the representatives from the Students Union on a tour of the university campus and got a real insight into what the university has to offer.  We saw the excellent sports facilities and learned about how famous football teams often go there to train; how students get selected to be a part of the Student Union; how many hours of lectures there are in a week; how you can study abroad for a year, the information was endless!

At the end of the weekend, students took the time to reflect on their time at Warwick, below are some of their thoughts:

‘When we were planning our projects I think I collaborated very well with my group, also I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I cannot wait to put our plan into action. 

‘This weekend has made me realise what great opportunities are available at University, and has inspired me to make new and different choices.’ 

‘I’ve learnt that leadership is not about telling people what to do but about helping them to achieve something.’

‘You can pursue your passions at University through the societies, it’s not all about studying but becoming a better person.’

We would like to thank all of the students from Warwick University who supported the event and gave up their time to inspire our students; Katy Baker and the Uprising Alumni, and Laura Fisher from Warwick University.

‘I just wanted to say a huge thank you for choosing Warwick to host your event. It was an honour to become so heavily involved with the day itself. I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career so far, your young people are a credit to themselves and their schools. Their enthusiasm is infectious!’ Laura Fisher, Widening Participation Officer

We will let you know the outcome of the Social Action Projects later in the year.

Related project: RSA8 Student Leadership Programme