Schools involved in Opening Minds have led the way in showing how an imaginative competence-based curriculum can meet the needs of their school, engage learners and excite staff. They have been able to do this while still meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum, examination boards and improving attainment.
But like any new and creative initiative there has been a wide variation of approaches between schools and within schools. This has provided the basis for innovation and learning, but, it has also brought with it a challenge to ensure that Opening Minds is always associated with high quality practice.
An independent review of Opening Minds in 2010 recommended the introduction of an accreditation system to assure quality and strengthen the support available to schools.
The charitable body that has been established by the RSA to oversee development of Opening Minds has decided to phase in accreditation over the next two years. All schools, whether already implementing Opening Minds or new to using the framework, can now apply to become accredited RSA Opening Minds schools.
For schools by schools
Accreditation will be led by Opening Minds schools for Opening Minds schools. It will also enable teacher-to-teacher and school-to-school support to be properly resourced and organised. This will provide a catalyst for further development, creativity and innovation as every time Opening Minds schools come together it results in the generation of new ideas.
Flexibility and quality
By introducing accreditation we are not looking to provide one single vision or template of the Opening Minds curriculum. We recognise the need to take account of a school’s context and we want to maintain the creativity and innovation that has been at the heart of the initiative. It is important that in implementing Opening Minds schools develop a curriculum that is appropriate to their own circumstances and meets the needs of their students. Accreditation is a means of supporting this journey, providing assurance that rigour and quality are at the heart of what Opening Minds offers to young people and extending the scope of Opening Minds to more areas of the curriculum.