One month from today, and for the first time, the RSA will be participating in the Children’s Commissioner’s nationwide Takeover Day. 60 students from our five Family of Academies, all based in the West Midlands, will be descending on the RSA to partake in a packed programme of activities and get stuck into some real decision-making. The aim of Takeover Day is to provide children and young people with experience of the world of work, while also giving them the opportunity to have a voice in the various organisations taking part – RSA Academies are very excited to be able to facilitate the active involvement of our academy students with the RSA in this way.
The purpose of RSA Takeover Day is to give pupils a better understanding of how the RSA works towards its aim of turning ideas into action and to enable the pupils to do the same, by offering them the chance to bid for funding for their own school projects. In the morning, students will be encouraged to think about the similarities and differences between the RSA and their own school to help them understand how an organisation like the RSA functions, and to give feedback on how we could improve. During this time, the students will meet staff through an interactive icebreaker as part of our staff meeting, receive a tour of the grade-listed RSA building and be involved in consultation workshops across our departments. For these workshops, we plan to cover topics ranging from the art of good writing, culminating in a blogpost, to improving youth engagement at the RSA.
In preparation for the afternoon’s activities, we have asked for each of the five school groups to develop an idea for a project that would benefit their school or local community. These groups will then pitch their project on the day to an RSA Dragons’ Den-style panel of judges, who will award a cash prize to the best one, enabling the project to be transformed from idea to action. This is based on our Fellowship’s catalyst bids, where RSA Fellows can apply for small grants to kickstart projects that aim to have a positive social impact in a sustainable manner. The students will be expected to present on projects in a similar vein, though will be given time to hone their presentation skills beforehand with the help of workshop facilitators (volunteering RSA staff and some of our Centenary Young Fellows).
By the end of the day, we hope that all 60 pupils will leave with a concrete understanding of what the RSA does and the feeling that they provided us with a genuine insight into what we could do better. We also hope that, in line with the Children’s Commissioner’s statement on Takeover Day, the day has a ‘lasting effect’ on our Family of Academies and that students return to school with the motivation to bring their own ideas into reality.
We would love to hear from any RSA Fellows who also plan to take part in Takeover Day on behalf of their organisation – if you’re getting involved, let us know!
Roisin Ellison is the RSA Academies Intern