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8 March, 2007

Select Committee Report Welcomed

The Citizenship Foundation welcomes the Report of the Educational and Skills Select Committee on the current state of play in Citizenship Education. In particular we welcome the call for a coherent, joined-up National Strategy for Citizenship Education addressing primary, secondary, further and adult education, as called for in our submission to the Committee last year.

Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation said “The message is getting through that if we want our democracy and our communities to function successfully we have to ensure that our education system sees education for effective Citizenship as a key priority. Such a strategy needs clear political leadership, committed school leadership, appropriately trained teachers and sufficient resourcing. If Citizenship Education is to fulfil its potential and its purpose, it cannot, be delivered on a shoe-string, or at the edges of the curriculum.

“The Select Committee’s call to strengthen initial teacher training and continuing professional development in this area needs to be addressed, and with urgency, if we are to ensure that the excellent practice now in place in some of our schools is to be the norm in all our schools. In terms of Citizenship across the school, we welcome the Committee’s strong support for School Councils and their recognition of the role that pupil participation plays in the development of effective Citizenship skills among young people. In addition, we trust that the National College of School Leadership will respond positively to the Committee’s suggestion that its leadership programmes should be revised so as to incorporate a clear school-wide Citizenship dimension.

“The report is right to recognise that less than 5 years after its introduction, Citizenship education remains a work in progress. Policy makers, statutory agencies and funding bodies now need to ensure that teachers and school leaders are given the tools to finish the job.”

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