Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) has today announced that it 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.

Ormiston Academies Trust 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 OAT’s 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 the leading Multi-Academy Trust to ensure that the 28,000+ students across its network of primary and secondary schools 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. Ormiston Academies Trust 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 the OAT network.

To ensure that the project has a lasting impact and legacy, OAT 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. 

OAT has 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. 

OAT already has a strong focus on social action through its Enrichment Charter, launched in 2016, which commits all Ormiston Academies Trust secures landmark £2 million funding for social action projectsOAT academies to enriching the lives of students, by raising their aspirations and broadening their horizons.

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.”

Luke Bowers, National Strategic Lead for Enrichment, Ormiston Academies Trust said:

“We are extremely excited about the scope of this project and potential impact. We will be investing in projects that allow us to truly embed social action both in the curriculum and day-to-day life of our academies, to deliver lasting benefits for all our students over the longer-term.

“I look forward to working closely with the new #iwill leaders, individual academies across the network and the Ormiston Trust to achieve this.”

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 are delighted to have secured and matched this investment for OAT and their students, and the focus of the project on creating sustainable, embedded impact at scale.”




Students & Teachers from Ormiston Academies Trust

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