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7 April, 2006

Citizenship Foundation to give evidence to the Select Committee inquiry

The Citizenship Foundation has been called to give oral evidence at the Education and Skills Select Committee inquiry into Citizenship Education on Wednesday 26th April.

The Inquiry is looking into the current state of play and recommendations for Citizenship Education. The Citizenship Foundation submitted a written response at the end of March outlining its observations on the current situation and has issued 27 recommendations to the Committee.

The inquiry is looking into attitudes towards citizenship education, training, the relationship between citizenship education and debates about identity and Britishness, the potential of citizenship education in contributing to community cohesion, and the implementation of active aspects of citizenship.

The Citizenship Foundation’s submission:

• Urges Ofsted to give special attention to the status accorded to citizenship when inspecting schools,

• Urges Ministers to ensure that a higher status is given to citizenship education.

• Outlines the need for every secondary school inspection team to include a trained specialist inspector by 2008 and for every secondary school to have at least one trained citizenship specialist by 2010.

• Stresses the need for a central Strategy for Teaching and Learning in citizenship.

• Highlights the role of the citizenship curriculum in nurturing a proper concern for how local, national and international communities operate.

• Requests that school activities based around volunteering and charitable activities should be positioned in relation to the citizenship curriculum.

• Urges caution in response to possible links between citizenship education and issues of identity and Britishness, stressing the need for an understanding of citizenship as an active, engaging process, rather than a form of nationality.

The Citizenship Foundation’s written submission states “While a significant number of schools are engaged in excellent practice in delivering a “subject-plus” model of citizenship, [teaching time plus a range of school and community involvement activities], there is still much to do.

Too many schools are delivering the Citizenship curriculum in a literal sense but are perhaps less committed or confident in letting students develop their Citizenship skills through participation in the community and the life of the school. Still others are facilitating community participation but are not pulling this together through a clearly signposted and well-taught Citizenship programme on the timetable. And studies concur that a declining group - perhaps fifteen or twenty per cent - are doing little, perhaps hoping that Citizenship is a passing initiative that will go the way of others. Strong political leadership, consistent messages about the permanence of Citizenship in the curriculum and clear inspectorial intent are needed if we are to convince this group to change their ways and if we are to support others.

The submission states “Teachers and those who support them deserve praise for what has been achieved in the past three and a half years.” But continues, “Citizenship has been introduced on a shoestring. There has been no coherent, strategic approach that embraces the training of current and new teachers, the establishment and sustainability of support networks and the preparation of inspectors and school leaders. The result is that too many teachers have had little or no support in delivering a new and complex subject and that access to such support, save for the excellent work of the Association for Citizenship Teaching and the established Citizenship NGOs, has been defined by the school and/or Local Authority that the individual teacher finds his or herself working in.”

Further information

To find out more please email:

Notes for editors:

Contact: Catherine Dawson, Press and PR Officer catherine.dawson@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk Tel: 020 7566 5034 Mobile: 07813 035788

The full text of the submission can be downloaded from our website, or can be requested from Catherine Dawson, details above.


About the Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no.801360) which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society, Founded in 1989, it focuses on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. Its work includes resources, training, active learning programmes, community projects and research. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

The points of the inquiry

• Teachers' and leaders' attitudes to citizenship education; workload implications.

• Initial and in-service training.

• Role of local authorities in supporting school staff.

• Continuity of citizenship education between primary, 11-16 and post-compulsory stages.

• Quality of citizenship education across the full range of schools, including faith schools.

• Relationship between citizenship education and current debates about identity and Britishness.

• Citizenship education’s potential to contribute to community cohesion.

• Implementation of 'active' aspects of curriculum – i.e. community involvement and involvement in the running of the school.

• Design of citizenship curriculum and appropriateness of other DfES guidance.

• Practice in other countries.

For details see: www.tinyurl.com/pca7m

The Citizenship Foundation’s recommendations:

1. OFSTED should give special attention to the status accorded to Citizenship, especially by school leadership teams, when inspecting schools and this should be reflected in a range of inspection tools such as the Evidence Forms used by inspectors and the School Self-Assessment form;

2. Ministers need to ensure that a higher profile is given to Citizenship Education, especially in addresses, announcements and policy papers;

3. A centrally coordinated and resourced National Strategy for Teaching and Learning in Citizenship, akin to the National Literacy Strategy and the Key Stage 3 Strategy, with a central focus on CPD, is required if the current deficit in teachers’ skills and confidence is to be addressed;

4. Schools should be encouraged to undertake staff audits so as to identify those who may have academic experience especially pertinent to the teaching of Citizenship, especially those with backgrounds in humanities and social science subjects not represented in the current National Curriculum;

5. Schools should be issued with curriculum advice that clarifies the distinction and the relationship between Citizenship and PSHE and strongly discourages them from delivering the two subjects in an undifferentiated joint framework through non-specialist tutor based teams;

6. By 2010, every school should have at least one trained Citizenship specialist, qualified through either a PGCE in Citizenship Education, the National CPD Certificate in Citizenship or an agreed performance management process that takes account of their academic and professional experience;

7. The proposed reduction in the 2006-07 training target for Citizenship PGCE entrants (trainee teachers) should be reversed and affirmative action should be taken in respect of meeting the target set in Recommendation 6 (above) and in light of the high demand for course places;

8. By 2008 every secondary school inspection team should include at least one inspector who has undertaken specialist training in the inspection of Citizenship;

9. We commend the national roll out of the National CPD Certificate in Citizenship from 2006-07 but ask for a commitment to the further roll out of the programme through to 2009-10 in light of the target set in target 6 (above) and that the Certificate be positioned in terms of the National Strategy called for in Recommendation 3 (above);

10. The National College of School Leadership should be asked to explore the development of a module focused around leadership in the Citizenship-rich school for its Leading from the Middle and National Professional Qualification for Headship programmes and the accreditation of the National CPD Certificate in Citizenship within these programmes;

11. By 2008 every LA should have a designated adviser who has undertaken specialist training in Citizenship and who has a remit for the establishment of local support networks for Citizenship practitioners working in partnership with ASTs and the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT);

12. The DFES should commission QCA to begin work on the development of proposals for a statutory curriculum for Citizenship in primary schools with a view to piloting from 2008 and implementation from 2010;

13. The current Key Stage 3 review should be used as an opportunity to develop, sustain and enhance Citizenship as a Foundation Subject in the secondary National Curriculum;

14. The parallel review of 14-19 Education should be used to strengthen and clarify the entitlement to Citizenship learning opportunities, especially for those in education and training in the 16-19 phase;

15. The DFES should commission QCA to undertake development work on the relationship between assessment, progression in learning and the development of social, moral and political thinking;

16. The DFES should revisit the concept of establishing a National Centre of Excellence in Citizenship Education as part of the National Strategy set out in Recommendation 3 (above);

17. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and other appropriate bodies should be commissioned to undertake research into the delivery of Citizenship Education in state and independent faith based schools and in state and independent schools where a single minority faith is predominant;

18. Independent schools should be required to deliver the Citizenship curriculum;

19. Through the Citizenship curriculum schools should nurture a proper concern for how local, national and international communities operate, an understanding of what this country has contributed to political and legal frameworks internationally and an understanding of what role individuals can play in British public life;

20. Further research into teaching about complex matters of identity and multiple identities and how young people engage with these should be encouraged;

21. QCA should be encouraged to look at the relationship between the content and approach of National Curriculum Citizenship and ‘Citizenship’ Education programmes offered to adults seeking naturalisation as part of the current curriculum review;

22. The School Self Evaluation Form that schools complete as a part of the recently introduced OFSTED process should be revised so as to position student, parental and community engagement activity within the broader framework of Citizenship provision;

23. The Citizens’ Day model piloted in four local authority areas by the Home Office with advisory support from the Citizenship Foundation and the earlier work by the Citizenship Foundation should be reviewed as to their potential for national roll out;

24. All primary and secondary schools should have a student council, or some other demonstrable form of student participation, in place by 2008;

25. All primary and secondary schools should seek to position their volunteering and charitable giving activities in relation to the Citizenship curriculum, such that this curriculum informs such activity;

26. The government should reflect urgently on the resources allocated to the Citizenship Education teams at the DFES and in agencies such as OFSTED, TDA, QCA and LSDA with a view to increasing the support that they are offered;

27. The British Council and government departments and agencies concerned with international issues should ring fence funding for overseas work around the theme Education for Democratic Citizenship and should work with NGOs and other advisory and practitioner bodies to establish mechanisms by which these resources can be accessed.


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