In our very first report, Metro Growth: The UK’s economic opportunity, the City Growth Commission presented an evidenced case arguing that economic growth is driven by cities. We’ve since set out to identify the ways in which cities in the UK can fully exploit their economic potential, whether it’s through investing in the progression of the low-skilled and low paid, or evolving our infrastructure for example. If there is a key takeaway here it’s that city-regions (metros) should have greater autonomy to do what’s right for them locally. More powers should be devolved to metros with a proven track record of good governance – and these should include new freedoms and flexibilities over immigration policy.
I’m not going to bury you in numbers or shout about all of the ways in which immigrants in the UK contribute to economic growth; these arguments are often drowned out, but are legitimate and should be taken as given. Also, while the numbers are important, the Commission considered more than just the math and the money when thinking about where we stand on immigration.
In creating prosperity across the UK in coming decades, universities need to be front and centre of strategies for growth and competitiveness.
Universities produce research which stimulates commercial and social innovation. Universities generate spin-outs and entrepreneurs among their students, and provide adults with a range of high level skills which are increasingly in demand in the workplace.
Our university sector in the UK is a gem. With six universities ranked among the top 20 globally, the UK has the best publicly-supported system of higher education in the world. Research activities achieve significant bang for the buck against international comparison. One third of the productivity gains made between 1995 and 2004 were down to the rising number of graduates. Read more
Over the last few weeks, London buses have been adorned with adverts for secondary schools, vying for parents’ attention. Parents and their children have until the end of this month to state their preferences for schools. The tangle of oversubscription criteria that vary by school make this, by all accounts, a stressful process and something of a strategic game.
Yet for those who miss the ride and apply after 31st October, or try to move to a new school during the year, gaining a place at the right school may be much harder. I’ve been thinking about this group since handing in my Masters dissertation last month. Although my research was not focused on in-year admissions, in the process of answering a different question I unearthed evidence regarding what happens to these pupils in the admissions merry-go-round. As a non-expert on in-year admissions, I found the results both surprising and very worrying.
This guest blog is from Dr Elizabeth McClelland, who became a Fellow in January 2014. Elizabeth has been working with RSA Education on plans to expand her programme Move4Words to many more schools in England. You can contact her at www.move4words.org.uk where you also find out more about the research evidence.
I was a research scientist in a former life – Royal Society Research fellow for 10 years at Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, then University Lecturer and Director of the Palaeomagnetism research laboratory at Oxford between 1997 and 2003. In 1998, I suddenly became very ill with an unknown virus which temporarily robbed me of the ability to speak coherently, to understand speech or written language or to control my muscles properly. All my facilties came back over the following couple of months, except my ability to read fluently. I could read single words, but couldn’t make sense of a paragraph. I was still lecturing at Oxford, I could do my numerical research, gave talks at conferences and even touch-typed a couple of papers (although was unable to proof-read them). It was incredibly frustrating. Eventually, I found a private physio who used a physical activity programme to help children with dyslexia, and she showed me that I’d lost the ability to control my eye movements, and had lost some cross-body muscular control. She showed me some simple physical and visual exercises, which I practised several times a day, and, remarkably, my reading started to improve after a couple of weeks, and within 2 months it was back to my original rapid reading. It was so dramatic, I vowed to find out more and to do what I could to help others in the same way.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education is back on the political agenda. Best defined as “…the training of good human beings, purposeful and wise, themselves with a vision of what it is to be human and the kind of society that makes that possible”, politicians in a post-Govian world are waking up to the idea that churning our children through an exam factory system of schooling may not be the best way to develop well-rounded citizens. And so SMSC is now in vogue, with the Lib Dems wanting Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education to include content on mental health and sexting, Nicky Morgan’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference commenting on the need for ‘character’ education and Labour recently reiterating their long-held view that Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) should be made mandatory (and you can also read the RSA’s own recommendations on SMSC education here). Read more
Filed under: Education Matters, Fellowship, Innovation
Many of the RSA events are live-streamed, aiming to reach those unable to make the regular trip to London. A great example of an organisation that uses this feature is the GTA University Centre, a not-for-profit training provider based in Guernsey, who regularly overcome the distance barrier and bring the RSA to their local community. Marketing Manager, Duncan Spencer, tells us about his experience.
“Guernsey may be a small island but it has a diverse economy and does business on an international scale, and we have found that there is a real desire to hear the latest ideas in business, technology and societal development.”
GTA began hosting livestream events from the RSA at the beginning of this year as a means of introducing new ideas to the Island’s community. We aim to provide opportunities for Guernsey audiences to listen to high quality, innovative and educational speakers and participate in a lively discussion on the subject, but with a local focus. RSA livestream programmes are available to all online, but we believe we can add extra value by bringing people together to share the experience and enjoy a stimulating debate and discussion prompted by the RSA speaker and the Q&As. Read more
Filed under: Education Matters, Enterprise, Social Economy
The UniverCities report will be published 14 October with a launch event in Cardiff. If you’d like to attend, register here.
The UK’s higher education sector is worth over £73 billion to the economy. As many as 757,268 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs have been created by the sector, of which 320,000 are staff directly employed by universities. In 2011, higher education contributed 2.8 percent of UK GDP. Reeling off these stats together it is clear that the higher education sector already plays a strong role in economic growth. In our upcoming report, UniverCities: the knowledge to power metro growth, we will propose ways that universities can enhance their economic impact at a local level.
Filed under: Arts and Society, Design and Society, Education Matters, Fellowship, Innovation
Support the UK’s next creative generation
This is a guest blog from the team at National Saturday Club. They’re looking for Fellows in the design, architecture and engineering industries who may be able to offer masterclasses, visits or creative career guidance, as well as Fellows who can introduce young people to their cultural institutions.
The National Art & Design Saturday Club provides young people aged 14-16 with the unique opportunity to study art and design every Saturday morning at their local college or university for free. Now in its sixth year, the Saturday Club runs in 41 locations across the UK, in colleges, universities and at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Read more
Guest Blog Column: Vikki Heywood, chair of the RSA, argues that a strong cultural education is vital for the UK’s social and economic future. This article was originally published on the Royal Opera House website.
It should, in the UK and in this day and age, be the case that education in arts and culture is something to which every child should be entitled, and enabled to access. Who would disagree that this is a basic human right – it is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children have a right ‘to participate fully in cultural and artistic life’. However, the fact remains that cultural education remains the privilege of some, but not all our children.
So why aren’t all children accessing great arts and culture? Research provides irrefutable evidence that the benefits of cultural education extend far beyond opening students’ eyes to the vast array of the UK’s cultural riches. Music lessons, drama groups and art classes enhance academic achievement across the curriculum. Add to that improved self-esteem and self-confidence, and you have a pretty potent and proven combination. Read more
In case you missed Tristram Hunt’s speech to Labour Party Conference yesterday, here’s a brief recap of the main points (and indeed much of the substance of what was a fairly brief speech). As is now a contractual requirement for Labour’s resident historian, Hunt opened with a bit of history, reminding the party of its proud historical association with the workers’ education movements that originated in civic Manchester and the industrial north. The speech also linked to wider Labour themes, notably standing up for ordinary workers, epitomised in the pledge to support the ‘hidden army’ of support staff in our schools by re-establishing a negotiating body to ensure fair pay for these low paid and lowlier status education workers.
The main substance was based around three main themes that will define Labour’s manifesto pledges on education as it goes into the next election.