Opening Minds

Visit the Opening Minds website

The Opening Minds website features complete information on the curriculum, how to apply as well as a learning community. 

What is Opening Minds?

RSA Opening Minds promotes innovative and integrated ways of thinking about education and the curriculum. Teachers design and develop a curriculum for their own schools based round the development of five key competences:

   1. Citizenship
   2. Learning
   3. Managing information
   4. Relating to people
   5. Managing situations

A competence based approach enables students not just to acquire subject knowledge but to understand, use and apply it within the context of their wider learning and life. It also offers students a more holistic and coherent way of learning which allows them to make connections and apply knowledge across different subject areas.

Opening Minds was developed and supported by the RSA and is now being used in over 200 schools across the country. Learn more on the Opening Minds website.

The RSA sponsors the RSA Academy in Tipton in the West Midlands which is dedicated and practising a curriculum based on Opening Minds. Whitley Abbey Community School, a business and enterprise college based in Coventry, became the first member of a new RSA Family of Academies that share best practice, work for school improvement and promote social justice in education.

Opening Minds redesign

Opening Minds has been undergoing an exciting phase of redesign throughout 2012 and we are now ready to unveil our plans for how we hope to engage a greater number of schools in real curriculum innovation.

A 2012 literature review carried out by the RSA provided evidence of the worldwide demand for a rigorous, competency-based education. Additionally, recent DfE announcements and hints about the future of the national curriculum from 2014 (and the space to develop a 'whole curriculum' outside the national curriculum) are predicted to be a key moment of opportunity for RSA Opening Minds to influence practice.

With these in mind, we have been looking at ways that we can reach ever more schools on a variety of levels. Our new approach will consist of three key areas of support available to schools;

1. A 'Grand Curriculum Designs' CPD leadership programme for senior teachers and others who wish to transform their curriculum. This will be delivered as a partnership between the RSA, the Institute of Education and the Curriculum Foundation with funding the NAHT, OCR and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. OM will be a key feature in this programme, although participants will learn from a number of different approaches. The pilot will start in January 2013 with twenty primary and secondary schools and FE colleges.

2. An RSA Opening Minds Training Centre, based at RSA Academy Tipton, and led in partnership with other OM Training Schools. This Training Centre will act as a consultancy and CPD hub for schools who wish to implement OM across their school, and as an emerging 'community of practice' for schools wishing to innovate collaboratively to take OM practice further.

3. An online toolkit, used to support both programmes, but also available to schools and teachers who wish to understand OM fully, and may wish to 'go it alone' in developing OM in their schools..

All three programmes are currently undergoing development and we hope to pilot them from January. In light of these changes we have decided to close the accreditation scheme to new schools but are continuing to support those who are still on their accreditation journey whom we hope will also continue to engage with use through our new programmes.

If you would like further information on any of these new developments please contact

Opening Minds Reports

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An evaluative literature review

RSA Opening Minds commissioned the University of Sussex to conduct a literature review. The aim of the review was to collate an evidence base with regards the effectiveness of competence based curricula in secondary schools both generally and with specific reference to the RSA Opening Minds competence framework.

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Teaching, Learning and Assessment on Competence Based Programmes

The latest Opening Minds Action Research explores the connections between planning and delivery for OM lessons, and achieving an outstanding lesson. The project illustrated a range of approaches to balancing content and skills, and also that OM based research and professional development activity has the power to surface important issues and to demonstrate how issues can be overcome in their own and in other OM contexts.