We’re delighted to present a selection of inspiring case studies from schools and colleges working with #iwill campaign partners from across the UK. You can view an online version or download PDF’s – arranged in alphabetical order
Region: South East Type: Primary Headteacher: Alison Wyld
Social action is embedded through a ‘Steps to Awesomeness’ badge reward programme that includes celebrating positivity, kindness, courage, community service and appreciation to name a few. Their community ‘Heroes’ project culminates in a pride of All Saints award and is just one mechanism for embedding social action across the curriculum.
Region: London Type: Secondary Academy Principal: Mark Keary
Every student makes an iwill pledge and all departments encourage them to volunteer. Students are encouraged to engage regularly with social action from within the walls of their classroom and without, developing leadership, confidence and the linguistics of persuasive language. Social action is not just a one off event, it is embedded within Bethnal Green Academy’s culture and ethos.
Region: Scotland Type: State Secondary School Principal: Gordon Moulsdale
As well as successful learners, we want our students to become confident individuals and responsible citizens which means we teach everything through the lens of social action. The diversity of local and global partners means our young people gain a truly worldwide understanding of social action, where it is needed and how to help.
Region: South West Type: Academy Secodary School Headteacher: Alistair Brien
We aim to create wellrounded, happy individuals who can make a difference when they leave school – we have no wish to be an exam factory! Social action is embedded through the school house system and instils an understanding of the importance of personal sacrifice for the benefit of others. We have plenty of leadership opportunities and various awards to recognise ongoing commitments.
Region: Highlands & Islands (Scotland) Type: State primary school Headteacher: Barbara Smith
Social action is primarily focused around intergenerational and Gaelic heritage projects. We have had adults with disabilities visit the school to share some of their life experiences and it really made the children think about the changes we, as a society, need to make. Heritage, history and ancestry are all being observed, respected and invigorated.
Region: South East Type: FE College Principal: Graham Razey
Social action is an integral part of full time study programmes with six weeks a year dedicated to social action projects. A community partner acts like a client, who gives students a brief to work to and feedback on their behaviour and professionalism. This work is driven by our Community Project Coordinator who liaises with curriculum managers, voluntary organisations and local media.
Region: East of England Type: Sixth Form College Outgoing Principal: Daphne King
‘Making a positive impact within our community’ is now part of our mission statement. Our students apply for social action opportunities through our website where they can also track their progress and hours. One of our most successful partnerships is through the mealtime volunteering programme at the James Paget Hospital with over 100 students a year taking part.
We prioritise getting our young people ready for meaningful employment. We set up a steering group with six local employers and employed two careers advisors to create a work-based learning programme. We have embedded this within the curriculum with work-based learning students in sixth form doing two days a week in class and three days a week in a local business.
As students’ progress through the school they build on opportunities for leadership and social action projects. Once a year each young person is a ‘leader’ of the school for a day and a leader of their class one per half term. We work with partners such as the combined cadet force and the Duke of Edinburgh’s award which is compulsory up to year 9.
Youth social action, democracy and philosophy are embedded across are school and are part and parcel of what every child understands, believes and is passionate about. We empower students as young as six as peer mediators and ask students to direct policy decisions observe teachers, give performance management appraisals and suggest new ideas.
Young people drive our social action as a whole school approach through social action ‘ambassadors’ who present assemblies with inspirational ideas for community engagement. We talk about being one big family where everyone has a role in helping it flourish. We don’t necessarily call It social action but rather the idea of ‘paying something back’ or ‘paying it forward’.
We host a ‘job shop’ that sends notifications to students and staff where local jobs and volunteering opportunities arise. All levels of academic ability are encouraged to participate with particular special needs students recently supporting a beach clean project. We’ve found that social action works best when linked to a college programme, such has sport or animal care.
Lessons across all levels incorporate caring for the community, environment and being a ‘good Samaritan. All students include the disadvantaged are provided with the opportunity to take part in social action. Over the last three years of pushing social action students have become more aware of the world around them, aspiration has rocketed and grades have really improved.
We encourage all our students to make #ican or #iwill pledges that encompass character work and promotes youth social action. We run weekly enrichment afternoons around employability skills and encourage students to become peer mediators rewarded though our ‘Futures Award’ scheme. In year 9 students become ‘leaders’ and design and deliver a wellbeing program.
Within our students we hope to develop the five pillars of sustained well-being and happiness (adapted from Dr Martin Seligman’s PERMA model). Building character means taking pupils out of their comfort zone, working with local and national partners to impel them into activities they didn’t even know they could do and then rewarding those contributions.
One of our key strategies is to get parents involved. To achieve this we’ve launched a credit system ‘Bank of Star’ – where parents earn points from their engagements with the academy to be redeemed against the cost such as uniform and educational visits. Amongst other things we’re also developing a junior leadership team to focus on learning behaviours and enrichment programmes.
Since engaging with #iwill we’ve seen our learners gain in confidence, awareness and aspiration, while developing character and problem-solving skills. An assistant principal is now responsible for ensuring social action happens across the curriculum and we’ve developed an agenda to involve more local companies and map how we can work with them.
Every student will have participated in a volunteering experience before they leave us. We embed youth social action into the structure of the school through a framework with the acronym PLEDGES. We find this structure provides focus and recognises achievements, we have targets for the end of each term when students can receive either a bronze, silver or gold badge.
This year our pupils are all making #iwill pledges that will be proudly displayed on bunting around the school. Student ambassadors guide the causes we support and how we will support them, with what we feel is crucial autonomy. Using tutor time really works too as students use the time to write letters to MP’s, plan fundraisers and organise school events.
Our social action has come, to a large extent, from participation in the ‘Furness Leaders Academy’ which develops academic ability, life skills and aspiration through a fun-packed three week programme of off-site and on-site learning, team building and outdoor activities. The children are in the driving seat and during the programme every child has the opportunity to develop as a leader.
Our school’s social action centres on close partnership with the 1st Fressingfield Scout Group. Both students and staff are encouraged to join and we like the whole school to be engaged in the scouting ethos. We’re mindful that students should not be prevented from joining by financial circumstances so we use pupil premium money to fight exclusion.
In our school social action is not an ‘add on’ and pupils know that. There isn’t a curriculum area that social action hasn’t covered. Our school currency started in Maths – now we have a bank run by children directors who monitor earning’s and what they should do with it whilst our new ‘Me Zone’ is for practicing the art of relaxation and yoga as a form of moral and emotional grounding.
Our school reputation has been transformed since we began teaching students how to respect and care for their environment and their home. We turned our field into a garden and a farm and now 50% of students are involved in a gardening scheme with many choosing to arrive an hour early to maintain the gardens. We feel the school is now a much calmer and more organised place.
The school has invested heavily in ensuring all students are able to take part with Duke of Edinburgh as an umbrella programme for this work. Our charity committee allows the students to gain experience of business meetings and democratic decision-making. We run activities outside of curriculum hours as we feel it’s important that students willingly give their own time to help others.