OAT secures £2 million funding for social action projects

We are pleased to announce the Trust has secured £2 million funding, thanks to the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign - to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.

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OAT has been awarded £1m through the #iwill Fund, made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Another £1 million comes from our parent body and national charity, the Ormiston Trust (OT), which is dedicated to improving the life chances of children and young people. The funding presents huge opportunities for our 28,000+ students across the network of primary and secondary academies to all engage in meaningful youth social action and develop key new social, emotional and life skills learning (SELS).

The investment will enable young people to give back to their communities and help to deliver an even more inspiring curriculum. Getting disengaged and disadvantaged young people involved in social action and creating a legacy that lasts well beyond the life of the fund, are key priorities for the funding. We will also be looking to engage students from across its network in a national student council and in country wide social action campaigns.

Between 2018 and December 2020, the funding will be used to embed and integrate social action as part of the core and broader curriculum in academies across our OAT network. To ensure that the project has a lasting impact and legacy, we will invest in social action as part of existing Careers Advice, Information and Guidance, PSHE, Student Voice and Literacy priorities. The funding will also be used to support existing initiatives such as peer mentoring, primary transition, the Duke of Edinburgh Award and National Citizen Service.

OAT academies will benefit from the funding, but they will also be invited to apply to become ‘lead’ academies to co-design social action curriculum models, with expert external advice. Successful projects will then be rolled out across the Trust.

We have already recruited two full-time #iwill leaders working with the central senior leadership team and staff across the Trust, to maximise the impact of the funding. Two deputy leaders will also be hired to support the academies across the four key areas of focus.

The programme evaluation will enable the Trust to identify the most effective social action activity and provide practical examples for others about how to further embed meaningful social action in schools.

Nick Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Ormiston Academies Trust said:

"We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding and would like to thank the #iwill Fund partners – and of course our parent body, the Ormiston Trust, for their continued support.

"OAT was founded on the Ormiston Trust’s guiding principle of improving children and young people’s life chances. This significant funding will allow us to build on our strengths as a Trust, specifically our focus on raising aspiration and broadening horizons – which already sees many students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, engaging in social action – and to take this to the next level."

James Murray, Chief Executive of the Ormiston Trust said:

"We are delighted to have been able to match fund this fantastic initiative. Getting young people involved in social action from a young age at school can deliver a ‘triple benefit’; for the young people – improving key practical and life skills, for the school - in terms of learning and attainment, and for the wider community.

"OT is delighted to have secured and matched this investment for OAT and its students, and the focus of the project on creating sustainable, embedded impact at scale."


Picture caption: Students and #iwill team at Ormiston SWB Academy