RSA Academies

Our mission

RSA Academies’ mission is to provide an inspirational and creative education for all pupils which relates their learning to the wider world, provides experiences which broaden horizons, and enables children and young people to develop the skills needed for success and personal fulfilment and wellbeing.

In our classrooms young people are asked to be creative, imaginative and practical, are challenged to be the best, and are encouraged to show initiative, enthusiasm and leadership skills.

We will achieve our ambitions by securing:

  • Excellence in learning
  • Pupils who are creative and turn their ideas into action
  • The development of skills and networks for the future
  • Creative, resourceful teachers providing challenging and stimulating teaching
  • Increased impact, locally and nationally

RSA Academies and our schools are focused on three commitments:

These are important statements of our intent to develop our work in these areas. All schools and their governing bodies have signed up to the commitments and we are working with the schools to support and facilitate these goals as part of what makes an RSA education distinctive.

Introducing our schools

The schools currently in the RSA Family of Academies are all in the West Midlands.  We are founded upon principles of democracy and collaboration and see ourselves as a ‘Family’.  Our schools cover the complete age range from 4-18, giving an RSA Academies’ influenced education to some 5000 pupils and 700 staff. Our schools are:

Abbeywood First RSA Academy

Arrow Vale RSA Academy

Church Hill Middle RSA Academy

Holyhead School

Ipsley CE RSA Academy

Oldbury Park Primary RSA Academy

RSA Academy, Tipton

St Stephen’s CE First RSA Academy

Sutton Park Primary RSA Academy


The relationship with the RSA

In 2011 the RSA established RSA Academies to create a unique relationship with schools in order to contribute to the RSA’s social mission and the impact of RSA’s wider education and research programme.  Working directly with schools gives the RSA insight into which areas of policy need exploring, providing the RSA with both inspiration for, and reality checks on, new ideas and thinking. For schools, working with the RSA offers a chance to participate in research, in collaborative projects and access networks that brings benefits to students and teachers.  There is also a huge opportunity for schools to influence education beyond their own school through the RSA networks and public events and on-line platforms.

How we work

Our approach is based on a partnership between the RSA and the schools in the RSA Family of Academies.  The RSA Academies team sits at the heart of a powerful network of people and organisations who, by collaborating effectively together, have the potential to improve the life chances of children attending our schools and influence education policy more widely.

RSA Academies’ use this network to support our objectives in three key ways:

  • Directly deliver programmes
  • Facilitate school to school support, challenge and networks
  • Trial new approaches and share our findings

We work with our academies in delivering various activities and projects in relation to each of the Commitments. The RSA4 project, for example, gives Year 4 pupils the opportunity to engage in community action. Some projects are externally funded, for which we source grants. Evaluations take place for each project and the findings are shared so as to disseminate good practice.  In addition, there are various events throughout the year such as Artsfest (in which pupils work on a “scratch” performance) and Takeover Day, on which pupils enjoy a visit to RSA House and pitch a social action project idea. We aim to bring our pupils together whenever we can so that they can learn from one another and feel part of a larger community. We meet with Commitment Leads from each school each term to share good practice.

All RSA Academies, RSA staff, RSA Fellows and partners working on projects with pupils from the RSA Family of Academies should familiarise themselves with the RSA/RSA Academies safeguarding policy.

How we operate

RSA Academies is a charity established in September 2011 that operates as an umbrella trust (we are not a multi-academy trust).  Formally constituted in April 2012, RSA Academies’ charitable objects are “to advance the education of the public including but without limitation through assistance in the establishment and operation of academy schools”.

RSA Academies’ role as an umbrella trust is two-fold. Its governance function is to appoint Members and/or Trustees into each of the trusts, but its central purpose is to be a special purpose vehicle by means of which the values of the RSA are mediated through practical support into the individual trusts and academies.

The RSA Academies Board is made up of eight trustees and meets quarterly. Membership contributions from the schools and a grant from the RSA form RSA Academies’ core funding. We also seek funding from trusts and foundations. If you would be interested in supporting our work please contact Georgina Chatfield, Programme Manager, RSA Academies.

Read our Annual Report 2018-9.

Teacher training

The schools in the RSA Family of Academies are all members of the RSA Academies’ Teaching School Alliance. If you are interested in training to be a teacher in one of the RSA schools please contact Matthew Purslow, Director, RSA Academies’ Teaching School Alliance.

Find out more

Do you already work in or govern an RSA school? Found about the special rate of RSA Fellowship that is available to you yet? Don’t miss out.

The RSA provides a strong values proposition unique in the academy landscape. RSA Academies is a sponsor dedicated to powerful social change underpinned by educational research and innovation. We wish to work with school leaders who are on a real mission, not those who simply wish to service a set of standardised metrics.

John Towers, Chair, RSA Academies