Making youth social action part of school culture

Lapage Primary School write about their experience prioritising youth social action in education by embedding it into their day-to-day.

Our social action project began with our vision to promote active citizenship, as part of our school improvement plan of 2017-2018.

From this we developed a plan for what meaningful active citizenship would look like in the school. We used this in consultations with middle leaders, senior leaders, parents/carers, governors and students. The result was a project that linked each year group to an appropriate community and engaged children throughout the school.

We discussed projects and initiatives with parents, through informal coffee mornings and more formal meetings. From these discussions, we developed the project further. We also invite parents to events showcasing and celebrating the social actions of children.

This has always been a whole-school initiative for us – we’ve included all stakeholders, right from the beginning. We’ve built links with the curriculum where social action activities can be embedded, ensuring the project – more than a mere ‘add on’ – has a long term, sustainable impact. We’ve gone further and extended elements of the project to other schools in the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). By working with students and communities from different backgrounds, this has given the work a longer life.

Our social action programme incorporates many complementary aspects, taking into account national policy on the Integration agenda, and encompassing British Values.

It lets young people of all ages understand the implications and learning, and develop aspects of identity, respect, tolerance, cohesion, unity and acceptance. This is vital to developing and nurturing grounded people who can play an active part in a progressive and cohesive society.

We measure the impact of our social action work using quantitative data for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) objectives. As part of the PSHE curriculum, the project’s success is also measured directly through our key performance indicators (KPI’s).

Qualitative data meanwhile lets us ensure the impact of the programme within the school and wider learning. This compliments our schools’ commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum. We’ve observed and recorded qualitative data in various ways – including case studies, presentations, interviews and feedback from children, parents and participants from the community. A particular strength of the project has been the impact of interfaith and inter generational relationships and collaboration with key organisations.