The Innovative Education Network

We have everything we need to have the best systems of learning on the globe in this country. So why is it broken?

Learning is what we all do, every day, in our attempts to survive, thrive and cope with whatever life throws at us. Education is the organised system in which we seem to think the learning should happen most – and it is a system in the UK built on universalism and standardisation – not necessarily to level the playing field, but to ensure that everyone learns the same thing in the same way at the same time. The problem is, as Ken Robinson says:
if you run an education system based on standardisation and conformity, which suppresses individuality, imagination and creativity, don’t be surprised if that’s what it does.

Best or broken?

We have one of the best-educated, caring, hard-working and curious education workforces in the world. A healthy number of people feeling compelled to teach and to support others to learn as a life ambition. But we have a system that feels hell-bent on micro-managing output, leading to a very unhealthy number of people leaving the system in droves. They are worn out and fed up.

We have everything we need to have the best systems of learning on the globe in this country – there is money if we choose to spend it, imagination if we choose to use it and a creative and diverse economy – reliant on both knowledge and skills – with opportunities for anyone to be who they want to be when they’re ready to take or make work. So why does it feel so broken?

One of our missions

always possible CEO, Richard Freeman, is working with the Royal Society of Arts over the next few months to interrogate the idea of life-readiness in education. Together we are challenging the systemic obsession with exam-readiness, work-readiness and the compartmentalised approach to learning. Can we be more accepting that all experiences, successes, failures and opportunities are integral to our capacity to lead fulfilled lives? And what role can the education system have in placing more value on lived experience than on assessment?

Our work spans formal and informal education, supporting schools, colleges, universities, charities and youth services to measure impact and support planning decisions. See our education and learning clients here.


If you want to find out more, and hear from some extraordinary education pioneers who have got some ideas on this – then join the RSA Innovative Education Network (you don’t need to be a Fellow to join).

You might also enjoy our interviews with education, learning and skills pioneers who have been telling us about their missions:


always possible

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