Late last year, the US-based Roosevelt Institute asked the RSA to write a policy memo to support its Next American Economy project. This project ‘identifies the trends and challenges that will shape our economy in the next 25 years to better inform the policy decisions we must make today.’
We were asked to explore how school systems can best be designed to develop all students’ creative capacities during their school years, so that young people are better equipped to succeed in the 21st century economy. Although The RSA’s ‘Power to Create’ philosophy is predicated on a belief that creativity has intrinsic and non-economic value for individuals and communities, this memo was driven by the project’s particular rationale – the economic imperative for a more creative workforce. .
Whilst based purely on desk research, the work, helped by the Roosevelt Institute’s recommended structure of ‘situation-complication-questions-answers’ and short word limit, has helped marshall our own thinking. Although our emerging aim – to close the creativity gap in learning - widens the RSA’s lens beyond schools and young people, it’s been useful to concentrate again on the eternally important and contested role of schools.
This is a guest blog by Ben Gibbs, Director of Restart-Ed
What is efficacy in the context of school improvement? That was the question posed at the second of the RSA’s planning for real impact series, run jointly with Pearson.
It proved to be a thought provoking one. The subsequent discussion was broad, but included a focus on outcomes relating to schools’ moral obligations: helping young people get ready for the complexities of the lives ahead of them; developing a love of learning and a drive to understand the world around them; nurturing students’ agency and engaged citizenship; building resilience and the ability to self-sustain wellbeing. When asked what it is that gives a school efficacy, people talked about having a clarity of purpose, based on a clear understanding both of carefully considered intended outcomes and the changes required to achieve them. People talked about organisational effectiveness: having very clear lines of accountability, transparent governance, a culture of innovation, and distributed power. People also talked about holding the line on the things that are important to them as professional educators; standing firm in the face of policy initiatives that run counter to their own considered intentions.
We are thrilled that our report Everyone Starts with an A, published earlier this year in English and German, continues to be read by people from many corners of the globe.
Just last week we were informed that the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission has a summary of the paper on their website (here for anyone who reads Portuguese).
Image credit: Globes by tup wanders
And in the past few months, our Director- and Associate Director of Education spoke at conferences in Lithuania and Latvia, respectively, about the concepts explored in the paper. Joe attended the Creative Partnerships conference; see an interview with him here (in Lithuanian). Louise spoke at the Education Innovation conference, supported by British Council Latvia, Ministry of Education, Microsoft, and others.
Our RSA Global team is helping to spread the RSA’s key messages. And as the RSA’s audience continues to grow across the globe, we hope to carry on providing thought-provoking work which is accessible and relevant beyond our local borders.
Many thanks to Adriana Rodopolous for informing us about the SEC article. The Everyone Starts with an A report was made possible by support from Vodafone Foundation Germany. The RSA Global team is Natalie Nicholles and Laura Southerland.
Help kickstart increased access to arts and gender equality in the UK theatre – All female Richard III production aims to change the conversation
Filed under: Arts and Society, Fellowship
Fellow Yvonne Murphy guest blogs about her all female production of Richard III. Read about her plans and find out how you can help make it happen.
I am a new RSA & Clore Fellow and I run Omidaze Productions. I am staging an all-female production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in February 2015 and I need your support. I have launched an RSA Kickstarter campaign because we literally cannot afford to pay everyone we want to be involved and make it happen as planned unless we reach our target and I need your support.
Britain has a mobility problem. However, according to new research, the problem is not the one many have come to think it is. The study, conducted by Oxford University and LSE, has found that the political and media consensus on social mobility being in long term decline has been a misdiagnosis. Instead, the problem of mobility is more subtle, with more of us now at risk of moving down the social ladder due to an increasing lack of space at the top – a situation, says co-author Goldthorpe, that has “little historical precedent” with “potentially far-reaching political and wider social implications”. The study further found that inequalities in relative social mobility are significantly greater than thought previously, with a child whose father worked in a higher professional or managerial field 20 times more likely to end up in a similar job than a child with a working-class father.
In the last six years, the World Innovation Summit in Education, held annually in Doha, has grown into a giant amongst education events, bringing teachers, innovators and other edu-geeks together to discuss, share and provoke practice. Whilst concerned with all aspects of the global education agenda, WISE’s focus remains on the power of innovation in education, and the need to develop broader outcomes in young people.
When a journalist interviewing me at the summit asked the inevitable ‘why Qatar?’ question, my response was that this kind of gathering was needed, partly as a counter to more traditional corporate and governmental convening power of the so-called ‘Global Education Reform Movement’ (or GERM). I didn’t mind who met this need, as long as they met it well. WISE, established by the Qatar Foundation, has become an important, risk-taking player in the global education landscape. As Ralph Tabberer, former Director General of Schools for the DfE, and now boss of Better, Broader, Deeper Education, summed up: ‘A very diverse set of people. Not overwhelmed by the West. Lots of networking, Fewer government people so it was all more applied.’ The Learners’ Voice programme is a key cog in the WISE machine, ensuring that the views of young people are embedded throughout the summit.
How do you know how to approach a brief? How do you do design research? And how do you turn that research into innovation? These are the pressing questions the RSA Student Design Awards tackled with approximately 100 students from across the country as part of our workshop programme over the last few weeks.
As a global curriculum and competition, the RSA Student Design Awards are working to provide increased opportunities for participants to develop new insights and skills to complement their design education. In addition to workshops this year on design innovation (described here), we’ve run workshops on commercial awareness and designing behavior change and our workshop programme is growing.
One of the biggest challenges for designers is not second-guessing the solution before they’ve carried out the research because they want to design a particular product or service or already have an idea in mind.
Our 2014 design innovation workshops, facilitated by Professor Simon Bolton FRSA (an internationally acclaimed designer, innovation consultant and global thought leader for Procter and Gamble as well as Associate Dean for Applied Research and Enterprise at the Faculty of the Arts, Design & Media, Birmingham City University) gave RSA Student Design Awards participants a set of practical tools to help understand a design brief, conduct impactful design research and translate insights into innovative ideas.
Next week the RSA launches its Licensed to Create animation and publication.
Having all been through school, most of us have an intuitive sense of the importance of good teachers. It’s because of bad teachers that I decided to drop the idea of doing computer science at university (lucky escape!?), and it’s largely down to my 6th form history teacher that I am writing this now – having inspired in me a curiosity of how people live, putting me on my first tentative steps towards a job at the RSA.
Over recent years the education world has begun to recognise teacher quality as one of the most important factors through which to improve student outcomes. In Licensed to Create, Dylan Wiliams describes this as ‘a shift from treating teachers as a commodity (ie regarding all teachers as equally good, so that what matters is getting enough teachers at a reasonable cost) to regarding teacher quality as a key element in educational policy.’ Last week’s report by the Sutton Trust and Durham University looked at what makes great teaching and why it is important, demonstrating the damage caused by neglecting the professional development of teachers on social mobility.
While this shift recognises the importance of improving the quality of our teachers, there is little consensus on how we best achieve this goal. Labour’s Tristram Hunt recently proposed a teacher re-licensing scheme as a way to improve quality by encouraging teachers to continue to develop their professional learning and expertise over time. In Licensed to Create, the RSA has brought together a wide range of perspectives to explore this idea; eleven authors offer their unique insight from practice, academia and politics on how we could improve teacher quality. Read more
One month from today, and for the first time, the RSA will be participating in the Children’s Commissioner’s nationwide Takeover Day. 60 students from our five Family of Academies, all based in the West Midlands, will be descending on the RSA to partake in a packed programme of activities and get stuck into some real decision-making. The aim of Takeover Day is to provide children and young people with experience of the world of work, while also giving them the opportunity to have a voice in the various organisations taking part – RSA Academies are very excited to be able to facilitate the active involvement of our academy students with the RSA in this way. 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.