Tag Archives: RSA

Risky business

Why do I take some risks and not others? I suppose it’s about how well I can foresee a potential positive outcome against a negative result, and the severity and likelihood of each. But that makes the whole subject sound like an entirely rational calculation, which is not what it feels like in real life. Personally speaking, my judgements are often intuitive, and shaped by past experience.

We seem to think ever more about the risks facing children and young people. But how can we think about them usefully?

It’s a subject that is perhaps particularly important to Opening Minds schools. Learning centred around the development of competences will usually have a greater emphasis on experience and independence – developing the ability to understand and to do. Our thoughts and feelings about risk can shape the learning experiences we design, and the judgements and choices young people are able to make.

Equally, the degree of inequality in Britain means that some young people will have very different risks to manage in their lives, and differing resources to help them excercise good judgement.

So, how do we help young people develop the best understanding of how to handle risk in their lives?

This is a question that the RSA have been thinking hard about.  The Risk and Childhood report, launched in October, helps us consider the risks children and young people face in everyday life and how we should respond.

Now, we are developing a fun, interactive Online Psychometric Tool that can be used by young people to help them understand the risks in their lives, how they can approach them wisely, and where they can go to get help.

 We want to involve schools and young people in this development process, and particularly schools working with the Opening Minds competences for Managing Situations.

If you want to find out more, leave a comment or drop us a line.



Filed under RSA Risk

Networks of knowledgeable people

In the last post I mentioned that we visit schools a lot.This means each of the team are in schools every week and have the opportunity to talk to staff and students (though probably not as often with students as we should, and our conversations with staff aren’t as ongoing as we would like).Being in a school is a constant reminder that so much knowledge is created by schools taking some pretty raw ideas and making them work in practice. There’s a close knowledge that only comes from being directly involved in delivery. There are often questions asked by schools thinking about Opening Minds, for example, to which I don’t know the answer. However, I will tend to know someone who does. Almost invariable, they will be people who have had to work through a similar issue in detail to implement change in their school. There’s nothing new to practitioners having tonnes of knowledge that others need.But, what is new is RSA Networks. The RSA is making a major effort to understand how we can create networks which, on their simplest level, mean that you have a connection to the people who you really want to ask questions, and whose questions you can answer. Hopefully it will go beyond simple questioning to sharing ideas and resources, and ultimately making a difference to our schools together. About 90% of you said you would when we surveyed you last term…What will this mean? Well, one of the main things is that the RSA Education team is working to create an online platform for some of this sharing to happen in the Spring. In slightly different ways we hope it will support both Opening Minds, and our RSA Future Schools Network.  

We’ll be meeting the web developers again in a few days. Tell me what you think about these ideas, and anything about what you want to see the new site.


Filed under Future Schools Network

Welcome to the RSA Education Blog

Welcome to the RSA Education Team’s new blog. Let me try to explain why I hope it will be useful.

The point of this blog is to have a more regular conversation about what is on our minds with regards ideas and practice. We don’t want to meet you and then be out of touch for months at a time. This blog will keep you posted with what we are thinking about, how our work is developing, and enable you to share your thoughts and opinions. It’s only a first step down a road that I hope means we can we can shape each other’s work as we go.  

Most think tanks worry about being at the cutting edge of thinking, and about shaping government policy. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. The RSA is a bit different – for a start I’m not really sure I’d call us a think tank, though some people do.  Anyway, while we too worry about being at the cutting edge of thinking, we are preoccupied with the direct connection between ideas and action. That is something that defines our Education programme, and increasingly all of the RSA’s work. So alongside engaging with theory, we worry about classrooms.

The people that influence students’ experience of education most are teachers, school leaders, parents and students themselves. Some of the schools that have used Opening Minds (over 150 and counting!) are proof of that. They have taken that core idea, and reshaped the aims, content, and process of learning in their schools pretty dramatically. It is perhaps surprising how little policy has got in the way (and some credit for that must go to the people shaping it every day).

An important theme for the blog over the coming months will be the RSA Future Schools Network. We will be regularly covering our progress towards getting the Network up and running, the ideas that Network members will be thinking about, and some of the practical details. We want to keep people in touch, and help you shape it as we go.

My next blog post will go into a bit more detail about this new phase in RSA Education’s workWhat do you think? Is there anything else you would like the blog to cover?


Filed under Future Schools Network, Opening Minds, Uncategorized