The Young Leaders Award (YLA) is a leadership and character education programme developed by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust. The programme helps children and young people to develop leadership skills such as: teamwork, communication and creative thinking and character virtues such as resilience, compassion and patience and empowers them to make a difference to their communities through social action projects.
Explore our interactive map below, which displays the locations of the fantastic schools currently running the Young Leaders Award. Blue icons represent primary schools partners and red stars represent secondary school partners.
Since its launch in 2011 over 120,000 pupils from over 1000 schools have taken part in the Award which is now available from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4/+16. The YLA offers clear links for schools with Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC),British Values, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE),Character Education, Citizenship, Religious Education and the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS).
YLA schools receive comprehensive resources to explore themes such as leadership skills, inspirational leaders, justice, faith and community and to facilitate their pupil’s social action.
“The resources were thorough and relevant and allowed children to really think about themselves and the difference they wanted to make. The children learnt key skills for working in a team, trusting their peers and communicating appropriately to come to a common ground. They were able to think about what is right in the world and look to do the right thing, make the right choices and support those less fortunate than themselves.”
KS2 YLA Teacher
Central to the Award is providing pupils with meaningful opportunities to put their learning into action, and to develop their skills, through leading their own social action projects to serve others and transform their communities. Schools are encouraged to give pupils ownership over decision making, planning and carrying out their action projects, helping them to look outwards and gain a deeper understanding of community and some of the challenges or issues affecting others and how they might be able to help.
“I have been involved in lots of opportunities through the Young Leaders Award, we help the community around my school which I have really enjoyed doing. I have a great future that I don’t think I would have been able to achieve before.”
KS3 Young Leader
For many teachers allowing pupils to take the lead is a different way of teaching and one which they have found to be very rewarding as pupils become more independent and develop better cooperation with their peers. Teachers have also noted that the YLA provides away to draw out strengths and passions of pupils in a way that the rest of the curriculum often doesn’t.
“We find it such an incredibly valuable part of our school life and we have found that the children's leadership skills and sense of community and Global responsibility really shines through.”
KS2 YLA Teacher
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, at the University of Birmingham, write about the ‘double benefit’ of social action to both those being supported by the action and those who carry it out. Since 2011 pupils taking part in the YLA have collectively completed over 460,000 hours of social action which equates to an amazing 52 years spent volunteering and benefitting communities, causes and charities. Young leaders have led a huge range of social action projects, including environmental projects, those that support people in the community, projects supporting charities and those campaigning for causes.
Read stories of Young leaders’ social action here: abyyt.com/news
These experiences can be extremely meaningful and formative for pupils as they develop in leadership and character and grow in confidence, teamwork, resilience and care for others.
"Since doing the Young Leaders Award, I have learnt that every small action can make a big difference to others' lives. My role is important in our community just as much as everyone else’s."
KS1 Young Leader
“Having compassion is very important when spreading hope messages in community and helping people. Compassion helps us to reach out because it’s that voice inside that tells us that we need to help others.”
KS3 Young Leader
The Young Leaders Award supports schools to educate pupils’ hearts and minds and to help them to flourish and realise their potential as unique individuals, who have a vital role to play in our society.