What is voice, action and agency?
Voice, action and agency refers to empowering youth voice and providing them with agency to make a difference in their lives and others. Student voice is authentic student input or leadership which promotes meaningful change; this empowers students to reach their full potential. Students have the greatest stake in their education but little to no say in how it is delivered. This lack of agency represents a lost opportunity to accelerate learning and prepare students for a world in which taking initiative and learning new skills are increasingly paramount to success. When it comes to student engagement, there is a predictable and well-documented downward trajectory as students get older. Increasing student voice is particularly important for historically marginalized populations.
Youth voice is also strongly linked with issues of engagement and participation. When student voice is empowered in turn they are empowered to take action on causes they are passionate about. This motivates youth social action in particular. Social action is about people coming together and using their voices or action to deliver some benefits to their local communities or the wider world.
Why is it important to Ormiston Trust?
Ormiston Trust is committed to empowering youth voice and supporting young people to engage in youth social action to improve their communities. One of OT’s core values is empowering others and we believe through empowering young people to take action on issues they care about deeply they can make wide-ranging and sustainable impacts on their local community and the world more broadly. When young people engage in social action and their voices are heard and empowered in schools and other organisations they also develop practical skills for the workplace such as planning and decision-making skills and schools and organisations are better equipped to serve young people effectively.
Grant programme examples: Student councils, student surveys and consultation, social action, young people on boards, alumni programme etc.