Family of Academies
The RSA is an influential organisation, with a strong history of education initiatives. Its mission is the realisation of human capability, and it prides itself on combining thought leadership and action. The RSA's first sponsored Academy, the RSA Academy in Tipton, opened in September 2008, and in 2011 was rated by Ofsted as good with outstanding capacity for further improvement. As the next step in this long tradition the RSA Trustees have established a new charitable company, RSA Academies, to take forward this work. As well as bringing benefits to the children in the schools served by schools joining the RSA Family of Academies, the RSA's involvement in this area will give both the RSA and RSA Academies a more powerful voice in shaping future education policy. It is hoped that schools within the RSA Family will contribute to and participate in the wider work of the RSA education team, and help ensure that policy development informs and is informed by practitioners.
The purpose of RSA Academies is to give learners the broad range of skills, qualifications, and experiences they need to thrive in their continuing education and the world of work. We will achieve our aims by creating a mutually supportive partnership between schools within the family and with the RSA which will focus on four key areas:
- Improving teaching and learning through purposeful partnerships between schools
- Enabling learners to achieve a broad range of qualifications, skills and competences
- Supporting innovation in teaching and learning and a spirit of open-minded enquiry
- Connecting teachers and learners to people, places and issues beyond the school gate
We also wish to secure the further growth of the family, and put in place the necessary infrastructure and support arrangements to enable RSA Academies and the schools within the partnership to realise our ambitions. Our approach and values in tackling each of these four areas is described in a little more detail below.
Improving teaching and learning through purposeful partnerships between schools:
The head teachers, senior staff and teachers at schools within the Family are responsible for leading school improvement within their own school and also across the Family as a whole. Our school improvement model recognises that all schools, irrespective of Ofsted category, have both strengths and areas for development and will therefore be both offering and receiving support and advice from other schools. Any school that is less than securely ‘good’ will also receive structured support from one or more other schools within the Family. Schools within the RSA Family value the contribution that staff, learners, parents and the wider community can make to developing teaching and learning in school. Schools encourage collegiate approaches to decision making amongst staff, and parents are valued as equal partners in their children’s education.
Enabling learners to achieve across a broad range of qualifications, skills and competences:
Our academies promote learners’ academic achievements alongside a wider set of outcomes that are important to young people themselves, their parents and future employers, and RSA Academies will seek opportunities to celebrate and measure achievements across a broad range of outcomes. RSA Academies empower and involve young people through student voice and leadership opportunities. Young people will develop a broad range of skills and competences, including self-reliance, creativity, research techniques, teamwork and managing change, which build on the principles of Opening Minds.
Supporting innovation in teaching and learning and a spirit of open-minded enquiry:
RSA Academies encourage teachers and learners to investigate ways to improve practice and school life, to evaluate possible alternatives, to reflect on lessons learned and to consider how these might be applied across the school. Teachers and other staff will collaborate, reflect and engage with evidence as a key element of their professional identity. They have opportunities to work with colleagues across the Family and participate in the wider work of the RSA to develop new ideas and interrogate practice.
Connecting learners to people, places and issues beyond the school gate:
Learners will experience a broad curriculum which includes high quality arts provision, opportunities for practical learning, and experience of social and commercial enterprise. This reflects and utilises the RSA’s historic focus on arts, manufacturing and commerce. RSA Academies are part of their local community and make a positive contribution to it. The RSA will support this by connecting pupils and teachers to Fellows and other professionals through the RSA network as an integrated part of the curriculum across all subjects to inspire and encourage learners.