Having been such a misery about the world yesterday I can today be a ray of sunshine about the RSA.
The Academies Commission (independent but established and sponsored by the RSA) has had great media coverage. In some quarters there was a bit too much emphasis on one element – the concerns about admissions – but generally our position as a friendly critic of Academisation has come across (something helped by us having our own family of Academies).
Then today we have had nearly a hundred people drawn mainly from Suffolk, but also from among the great and good of education policy, discussing the Raising the Bar Inquiry (sponsored by the County Council but being undertaken independently by the RSA) into school standards and young people’s progression in Suffolk. There was huge energy in the room and lots of good ideas. The tough tasks of winnowing these down into our final report and recommendations starts now but we have certainly got a lot to go on.
The other things were smaller, but in a way even more gratifying. A colleague from our Social Brain team has been asked to appear on a national news outlet tomorrow to discuss today’s fascinating report on food waste. It’s important to get coverage for our own work but in some ways it is a greater compliment when you are seen to have the breadth of insight to comment usefully on other people’s work. We have tried over recent years to invest in building in depth expertise in key areas here at the RSA. Behaviour change is one of those so it is great that the broadcaster wants to get our views on how we might persuade and incentivise people to be less wasteful with food.
Finally, back in the Suffolk conversation, someone mentioned a research and action project they are running. They said in passing that they were doing it with RSA Fellows. So, intrigued, during the break I asked to know more. ‘Oh’ she said ‘I needed a group of bright people who would be interested in exploring innovation and change and RSA Fellows just seemed like the natural people to ask’. What a great thing to hear.
So as I prepare to chair what will be a packed Great Room launch of the Academies Commission, the question nagging away at me is this: is it that good and bad news travels in convoys or that my temperament leads me to only see bad things one day and good things the next? But why am I asking – anyone who reads this blog will know all about my mood swings …