What is voice, action and agency?
Youth voice is defined as ‘views of children that are actively heard and valued as a substantive contribution to decisions affecting their lives’ (1). Researchers argue that ignoring youth views may have a detrimental effect on their academic achievements, as autonomy, self-regulation and critical thinking are some of the important factors associated with academic achievements that are strengthened with considering youth voice (2). Therefore, listening to children’s views about matters which directly affect their lives becomes pertinent for their immediate academic outcomes and is also key in building skills and confidence for their future.
Research evidence suggests that ignoring to consider children’s voices negatively affects their well-being, identity and development as citizens. It excludes children from the sense of belonging that they gain when they grow up and are recognised as citizens in contexts where individual views are considered important. Needless to say, bringing children’s views into mainstream activities not only helps to channel their potential but also shape their interpersonal development to grow into responsible adult citizens. This participation provides them with an opportunity to develop social networks, learn new skills and gain experience, enhance their self-confidence, and understand how organizations function making way for them to influence decisions that affect their lives.
Why is it important to Ormiston Trust?
Ormiston Trust believes that young people have the potential to bring transformative change to the world. Our mission is to nurture their skills, energy and ideas by helping them find their voice and utilise their agency over their lives. Ormiston Trust is actively working towards making this mission part of the school’s ongoing agenda by creating opportunities for young people to channel their agency which results in improving their overall life outcomes and building a better future by allowing students to develop solutions to the biggest challenges the world is facing today.
Grant programme examples: Student councils, student surveys and consultation, social action, young people on boards, alumni programme etc.
(1) Elspeth Brooks and Jane Murray, 2016. “Ready, steady, learn: school readiness and children’s voices in English early childhood settings”. The University of Northampton. http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/8556/3/Brooks20168556.pdf
(2) Lin-Siegler, Dweck, and Cohen 2016; Hu et al. 2016 cited in Elspeth Brooks and Jane Murray, 2016. “Ready, steady, learn: school readiness and children’s voices in English early childhood settings”. The University of Northampton. http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/8556/3/Brooks20168556.pdf