Reggie Yates: 'Citizenship education matters'
The campaign to keep citizenship on the National Curriculum gets a welcome boost, as a call to protect the future of political education is backed by Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates and a £1.25 million cinema promotion.
The future of citizenship in schools is uncertain while the government undertakes its review of hte National Curriculum. However, a new initiative by campaigner Danny Bartlett hopes to change that.
Hands Up Who's Bored is Danny's campaign to protect young people's right to 'proper political education' in the National Curriculum, using social media and other techonologies to 'make political education more appealing and relevant'. He wants young people to leave school 'as informed citizens, with knowledge of their rights, duties and responsibilities'.
Danny started Hands Up Who's Bored after running politics and citizenship workshops in schools around the country. He wants to demonstrate that 'the majority of young people care about their political education at a time when an entire generation is being cast as disinterested and disengaged'.
'As a subject, citizenship has the power to equip young people with the skills, knowledge and motivation to play an active and positive role in society.
'We consistently hear our politicians critisise young people for their perceived failure to positively ‘engage’ with public and community life, yet we face the very real possibility of losing from the National Curriculum the one subject which teaches political literacy and motivates young people to take action on local issues and play a positive role in their communities.'
Radio DJ and TV presenter Reggie Yates has joined Danny to promote the campaign to young people.
'Throughout my life I’ve worked closely with young people and what’s clear is that they want to have their say and they want their opinions to count,' says Reggie. 'Citizenship education is [a] great way to engage young people and give their views and opinions a platform. But more than that, it gives young people an opportunity to understand their rights in our society as well as their responsibilities.
'That’s why I’m backing Danny’s campaign 100%. We need young people to come together, support Danny’s picture petition, and show the decision makers that citizenship education matters.'
Danny’s campaign has won the backing of Democratic Life, a wide coalition of organisations and committed individuals who have come together to champion citizenship education. Kate Allen of Amensty International said:
'At Democratic Life, we’re delighted that Danny Bartlett has picked up the gauntlet and is campaigning hard to promote the importance of effective citizenship education for all young people. We will be working closely with him over the coming months to try and meet our shared goal.
'Citizenship is the only subject on the national curriculum that currently teaches all pupils in England about their rights and responsibilities, the legal system, democracy and human rights in the UK and in other parts of the world. As such, the potential loss of the subject in the Curriculum Review would be a tragedy for school children in England.
'All the evidence shows that when the subject is taught well students’ motivation to become involved in their communities improves. What the subject needs is expansion and more investment, not to be put under threat."
Hands Up Who's Bored is backed by O2’s Think Big programme, which is 'committed to investing in young people to help them take positive action in their communities'. To date, O2 has backed around 900 youth led projects.
A short film is being shown in cinemas across the UK documenting Danny's story and his campaign to keep citizenship on the curriculum.