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19 June, 2007

NFER publish latest report in Citizenship longitudinal Study

The National Foundation for Educational Research has published its fifth annual report of the DfES-funded Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study. This report, titled ‘Vision versus pragmatism: citizenship in the secondary school curriculum in England’ has found that:

• "36 per cent of schools surveyed recorded high levels of student efficacy, student participation and a well defined and implemented approach to citizenship within the curriculum.

• Schools ultimately balance vision and pragmatism to adopt a model of delivery for the citizenship curriculum that best suits their particular strengths, weaknesses and circumstances: a one-size fits all approach is unrealistic and impracticable. Yet, given the right circumstances, resources and support, the current variation in delivery models need not undermine the quality, breadth and depth of citizenship education provision in schools.

• Any model of delivery, whether it be in a discrete timetable slot, through PSHE modules or cross-curricular, is likely to be effective if a number of factors are present:

o a small, dedicated teaching team

o strong and clear leadership and direction

o support for the teaching team through up-to-date, accessible lesson plans and resources.

• The onus to turn this into reality cannot simply be placed on schools. Unless a number of structural challenges are addressed at the policy level, it seems unlikely that more schools will become ‘citizenship-rich’ as citizenship becomes more embedded in the curriculum over time. Challenges highlighted in the report include:

o the general lack of status and visibility of citizenship education

o the lack of trained specialist staff

o competing policy priorities."

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