#iwill at OAT

In 2018, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) secured £2 million of funding from the #iwill fund and national charity Ormiston Trust. Across our network of over 30,000 pupils, the OAT network of schools will use the funding to support the aims of the pioneering #iwill campaign in making meaningful social action a regular part of life for young people, allowing them to develop key new social, emotional and life skills learning (SELS).

What is youth social action and why does it matter?

Social action for young people may include activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering for good causes or things in need of support/development in their local areas. By identifying these causes and working to promote change as part of a team, these activities not only help to build the skills, character and wellbeing of the young people taking part, but also assist the communities they live in to become healthier, more integrated and socially mobile. By enabling our young people to give back to their communities in a meaningful way that they have identified, it also helps us to deliver an even more inspiring and well-rounded curriculum.

“Participation in social action transforms character and improves well-being, developing the kind of 21st Century Skills that employers are calling for, as well as boosting access to and success in further and higher education and employment. Getting involved in high quality social action opportunities … improves character qualities such as empathy, cooperation, resilience, problem-solving and a sense of community … all of these help promote social mobility.”

Source: Celebrating the character of young people taking action to help others, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and the #iwill campaign, 2016, p.5.

How is it going to work?

The project will provide young people in each participating academy with meaningful opportunities, through social action, to understand how to be respectful, active citizens, contributing positively and regularly to their school and wider communities/society. Through these activities, these learnings will becoming a valuable habit for life for the participants. The OAT #iwill programme will provide funding to each participating academy to affect a positive change in their local communities, led by the pupils with assistance and guidance from industry experts.The programme will build on our strengths as a Trust, specifically our focus on educating the whole young person – alongside this focus, each social action project will provide a ‘triple benefit:

  • For our young people – in developing and improving character, life skills and wellbeing and going on to understand how to be respectful, active citizens, contributing positively and regularly to their school and wider communities/society.
  • For the wider communities in which we are rooted – strengthening and building relationships, staying connected and engaged, investing in community links and encouraging social cohesion.
  • For our schools – in developing a broader and deeper curriculum which enhances learning and attainment.

Where can I find out more?

For more on the #iwill campaign and their work around the UK, click here to visit their site. For more on the #iwill activities in academies and the work our pupils are doing, follow on social media via Twitter and Instagram.

You can also see a full list of all #iwill news stories on our website here.