DfES challenged to make a success of citizenship lessons
As the Department of Education and Skills DfES gears up to its official launch of the citizenship curriculum on 27 September, the Citizenship Foundation is calling upon the government to make three simple commitments to ensure that these new compulsory lessons are a success.The Citizenship Foundation has campaigned since 1989 for high quality political, legal and social education as an entitlement for all young people, and warmly welcomes the new citizenship curriculum. However, it warns that without training for teachers and the involvement of young people, the opportunities afforded by these new plans will be lost. To ensure the success of the curriculum the Citizenship Foundation would like to see the government make three simple commitments to teachers, pupils and parents: to continue working towards raising the status of Citizenship as a distinct and intellectually challenging subject in its own right; to provide all teachers with the opportunity for Continuing Professional Development in Citizenship and to promote distance learning in citizenship; to create a youth board that would review and evaluate the curriculum as it develops through the next academic year. Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation said: 'We believe the opportunities the new citizenship curriculum affords are enormous. Pupils returning to school this autumn now have the opportunity to develop a rigorous social, moral and political understanding of contemporary society, which is not covered by any other foundation subject. But they and their teachers need assurances that government is committed to making this curriculum work. 'Having dedicated lessons to explore such issues will not only equip children with the critical faculties necessary to reason, and debate complex moral issues, but will provide a means to make current affairs and the world around us into a learning opportunity.'