Accessibility links

Education History

The RSA: innovators in education since the 19th century

The RSA has a long history of innovative educational practice, which began with many great achievements during the 19th century:

  • 1855: The Society held its first examination for artisans

  • 1856: We became the first organisation to launch national examinations

  • 1859: The Society launched its music examinations

  • 1870: The Society launched inquiries into the state of education, the findings of which were published in the RSA Journal

  • 1872: We helped to establish the Girls' Day School Trust

  • 1876: We established a National Training School for Music, which later became the Royal College of Music

And in the 20th century:

  • 1978: We initiated the RSA Education for Capability movement to counteract the academic bias of British education and promote the value of the practical and co-operative skills

  • 1988: The RSA Education for Capability project is expanded to include Higher Education

  • 1994: We launched the Start Right campaign for Early Learning, which called for the availability of nursery education for all four-year-olds

  • 1996: We launched the Campaign for Learning, to encourage life-long learning

  • 1999: The RSA launched Opening Minds, a competence-based school curriculum

  • 2008: The RSA Tipton Academy opens

  • 2011: The RSA established RSA Academies, a family of schools in the West Midlands 

Find out more about the history of the RSA.