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Primary Youth Social Action

Students benefit from helping their local community. Can we extend the positive impact of volunteering to primary schools?

The RSA and RSA Academies are working in 10 primary schools helping Year 4 students take part in ‘social action’.

What is social action? 

Social action is something done for the benefit of the community. For example, fundraising for a local charity or helping in a local park.

We want to find out how we can create opportunities for primary school students to take part in social action with a ‘double benefit’ – that’s where social action that is good for the community, but also benefits the students themselves. 

Why primary schools?

Social action isn’t common in primary schools. Surveys show most teachers either don’t know what social action is or haven’t thought about it. But we think social action in primary schools is important.

Research shows that young people who take part in social action before they’re 10 years old are more than twice as likely to keep participating in the community. (This is called a ‘habit of service’.)

What will this project be doing?

With the support of the Pears #iwill Fund (made possible with joint investment from Pears Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), we’ll be working in primary schools that are part of the RSA Academies family and other local schools in the West Midlands for two years.

Then our work will be independently evaluated by the Behavioural Insights Team. Based on their findings and our research, we will publish a report in 2021.


Related Events

  • Friday Conversations: Social Justice in Education

    Fellowship Event

    The Steps at Rawthmells

    Join Laura Partridge, Senior Researcher in the RSA’s Education Team, for a discussion on social justice in education, as part of the RSA’s new Friday Conversations programme. Hosted online and in person on The Steps at Rawthmells.

  • Beyond Education By Numbers

    RSA Event

    Durham Street Auditorium, RSA House

    Julian Astle, Daisy Christodoulou, Peter Hyman and David Laws consider how to reform education so that it prepares young people not just to write a good exam, but to live a good life.

  • RSA Reimagining Education Workshop

    Fellowship Event

    Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

    This event will combine the screening of the film "Most Likely to Succeed" with a panel discussion exploring how we might change the future of primary and secondary education.

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