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In Your Network: Sue Horner

Sue Horner has always worked in education and recently became Chair of the RSA Academies Trust.  Find out what motivates her and how Fellows can get involved with the Family of Academies:

1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
My working life has been in education, firstly as a teacher and then in national policy. I now am  able to branch out a bit so I really enjoy being part of charities which seek to encourage creative reading and writing both in and out of school, particularly where their initiatives can make a big difference to young people’s lives. Charities like First Story, Booktrust, Beanstalk and Pop Up. In addition to this, I now have a number of roles, advising governments on curriculum and assessment, being on the board of a circus school (Greentop) and working with friends to support inspiring teaching of English (

2) What did you join the Fellowship for?
I joined a long time ago as a way of finding out about latest ideas in society and the arts, as well as encountering things I would never have thought about otherwise.

3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society/the Fellowship? 
I have just volunteered to be the chair of the RSA Academies Trust. This is a bit of an adventure for us. The RSA and the schools involved want to develop new ways of working in partnership, to give all the students in our schools the best possible chances to succeed academically and in work, and also to develop into positive, cultured and community minded people. RSA has a long tradition of innovative thinking in education and has the tremendous resources of all the Fellows. We hope we will build on this to enhance the learning in our schools.

4) What would you change in society given the chance?
I’d give every child the gift of reading.

5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you? 
At a recent RSA event on Looking for the Heart of English there were 2 teachers. Jenny Lubuska form Hayes School Bromley and Roger Billing from Abbotts Langley Primary School in Hertfordshire. They explained how they are taking their school forward, not by focusing just on targets and results, but by being creative and innovative in how they approach both the curriculum and all the experiences the students have in school. They were inspiring teachers.

6) What did you learn last week? 
After a holiday in Mali I began supporting the charity Plan which works there. Recently they have been supporting girls in Mali to gain education, to work together to bring basic amenities to their villages and to oppose female mutilation. It’s humbling and heartening to hear of the progress being made even in the middle of upheaval and conflict.

7) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows
The RSA schools are very keen to make contact with Fellows to get involved with mentoring students, widening their horizons and developing innovative aspects to the curriculum.  We have particular interest in meeting those in the West Midlands or London who would like to contribute. The person to contact is Richard Pickford - he is Regional Programme Manager for the Academies, working with Fellows and teachers to enhance student opportunities across the Family of Academies and is always looking for new ideas and projects. 

The next Fellows event to be hosted at the Academies will be at RSA Academy on Wednesday 18 April in Tipton where Fellows will have the opportunity to offer their knowledge, skills and ideas to teachers and students during an interactive event after school. You can register for the event online.

Sue Horner

Sue Horner



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