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15 June, 2007

Commission recognises role of effective citizenship education in creating stronger communities

The final report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, published today, calls for the Citizenship curriculum to be strengthened and underlines the role of good Citizenship education in the development of stronger communities.

Tony Breslin, chief executive at the Citizenship Foundation said “we welcome the focus the report brings to Citizenship education and the role that effective Citizenship can play in developing stronger communities.

“Schools are in a unique position to promote community cohesion and strong relationships between people from different faiths and backgrounds, both within school and in the wider community, but appropriate support is essential. We are pleased to see that the report call for more resources to be made available for continuing professional development (CPD) to equip teachers with the skills and confidence to handle sensitive or controversial areas and to provide suitable spaces for students to develop their own critical thinking in this area.

“The call to provide information packs for young people when they reach 18 is a positive move and offers to build on National Curriculum Citizenship in providing young people with the information they needed to engage in the democratic process. While we believe that it is worth further exploring the possibility of Citizenship ceremonies for 18 year olds, we remain to be convinced that it is wise to attach their coming of age as citizens with success in formal examinations such as the GCSE in Citizenship Studies.”

In a number of recommendations the Commission supports Sir Keith Ajegbo’s report on Diversity and Citizenship, published earlier this year. In particular the report calls for extra training for teachers and promotes the idea of twinning schools with differing intakes. In addition, it asks schools to consider creating their own Citizenship Manifestos, an approach developed at the Citizenship Foundation.

Notes for editors:

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 citizenship manifesto is a project being developed by the Citizenship Foundation, and funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. It is a concise public document that outlines a school’s citizenship values and the opportunities for student participation and citizenship learning that occur in both the taught curriculum and in the everyday processes and structures of school life. Developed through consultation with students, teachers, parents and community partners the citizenship manifesto is intended to be innovative, inclusive, participative and reflective.

http://www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/main/page.php?259

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