RSA Opening Minds

Opening minds

"RSA Opening Minds promotes innovative and integrated ways of thinking about education and the curriculum."

What are the key principles of this approach to the curriculum?

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:

  • citizenship
  • learning
  • managing Information
  • relating to people
  • managing situations.

A competency based approach enables students not just to acquire subject knowledge but to understand, use and apply it in the within the context of their wider learning and life.

Opening Minds was developed and supported by the RSA.

What are the main benefits of this approach?

It offers students a more holistic and coherent way of learning which allows them to make connections and apply knowledge across different subject areas.

There is a focus on employability skills such as self-management, team working, problem solving and communication which are valued by prospective employers – Opening Minds is designed to develop and build these.

The longer lessons and thematic learning employed by many Opening Minds schools has also allowed for a deeper understanding of subjects because they have more time to get behind their subject matter.

What does this mean in practice?

Opening Minds supports the statutory aims of the National Curriculum, but enables schools to deliver the content of the national curriculum in a creative and flexible way.

It is not an alternative to the teaching of subject knowledge – rather it is an alternative way of delivering it and provides a framework for the whole school curriculum.

RSA Opening Minds is not an ‘off the shelf’ curriculum. School leaders and teachers need to relate the competences to the context of their own school and to their vision for developing and educating their students. They need to listen to students’ views and ensure that that the competence based curriculum they develop and use reflects the broader priorities of the school.

What does this mean for teachers?

Although curricula differ between schools, Opening Minds schools share a number of characteristics in terms of teaching, learning and assessment, including:

  • using a mixture of self, peer and teacher assessment
  • using reflective practice and action research in order to further develop and    continually improve both the content and delivery of Opening Minds
  • putting teachers’ professional learning and development at the heart of the school in  terms of valuing the development, delivery and review of the curriculum
  • encouraging staff to work collaboratively across subject areas
  • utilising a wide repertoire of teaching and learning approaches .

How can I find out more?