Ofsted rallies to the aid of Citizenship
The Citizenship Foundation endorses the views expressed today by the Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, that citizenship education is vitally important but many schools need to improve their delivery.In a speech to the Hansard Society today, Mr Bell said:
"The high level of unsatisfactory teaching of citizenship is unacceptable when one considers the important role this subject has to play in providing an opportunity to discuss the public dimension of pupils’ development, including their rights and responsibilities. The government and school managers must take urgent action to address this."
Citizenship is still a very new subject, without the heritage of English, history, maths etc. That it is being delivered to a high standard in a quarter of schools is an excellent start from which to build good practice in other schools.
However, pupils’ lack of knowledge and interest reported by Ofsted demonstrates just how necessary and important citizenship education is.
To make a success of citizenship education, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) needs to provide clear political momentum. This must be coupled with real increases in funding to support teacher professional development, increase the number of specialist teachers being trained and provide training for new headteachers.
As it is a subject that affects all aspects of school life, the Citizenship Foundation would call on Head Teachers and senior managers to support citizenship co-ordinators in implementing effective citizenship education in their schools.
Research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has also found that pupils’ political and citizenship knowledge is patchy where teaching is patchy; conversely, where citizenship education is well-taught pupils are well-informed and enthusiastic.