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11 March, 2008

The Goldsmith Review: Citizenship Foundation welcomes Citizenship debate

Education and participation charity the Citizenship Foundation today welcomed the debates on citizenship, identity and integration prompted by “Citizenship: Our Common Bond”, the findings of the Citizenship Review led by Lord Goldsmith QC. The Citizenship Foundation particularly welcomes the proposals on primary education, volunteering and mentoring.

Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation said:“We need to see beyond the furore around swearing allegiance to the monarch and work towards a less legalistic and much broader definition of citizenship: effective, engaged and confident. The challenge is to build citizenship-rich communities rather than simply driving people through a formal process. 

“Citizenship education in primary and secondary schools provides the bedrock for this.  We are pleased that Lord Goldsmith has responded positively to our call for citizenship to hold the same statutory status in primary schools that it does in secondary schools. We need a National Strategy for Citizenship Education, akin to those for numeracy and literacy, that delivers the profile, resources and expertly trained teachers that  this area of the curriculum needs. 

“We also argue strongly that citizenship education in schools should be augmented by adult education provision that enables those who might be community leaders or local activists to fulfil their potential.” 

Lord Goldsmith will elaborate on his Review at the Citizenship Foundation’s 2008 Hooper Lecture, to be held this evening at Sixty One Whitehall (6.00pm for 6.30pm)

Further information

To find out more please email:

Notes for editors:

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent educational charity that exists to encourage and enable individuals to play an effective role in democratic society. Its vision is of a just, inclusive and cohesive society in which individuals have the knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation to engage effectively in their communities.

Advocating statutory Citizenship Education in primary schools

Amongst other proposals, the Citizenship Foundation urged Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship Review to strengthen the place of Citizenship Education in the Primary School and we welcome his support on this. Our position is set out in summary at this link:

Supporting volunteering

The Citizenship Foundation works with circa 1300 adult volunteers in the delivery of its programmes. It runs a number of employee engagement programmes for corporate volunteers around core areas of the Citizenship Curriculum – Law and Economics. These allow volunteers from both the legal and the financial services sector to engage with young people in areas which they have an interest in and experience of, giving them the opportunity to interact with young people from a range of backgrounds in their local community while delivering a fun and exciting way for students to think critically about how Citizenship isseus apply in an everyday context.

Promoting social action as a key element of Citizenship

The Citizenship Foundation is a leader in the development of programmes for social action through effective citizenship, and was last year recognised for this through the international Bertelsmann Prize, which commended Citizenship Foundation programmes including Go-Givers (for primary schools) and Giving Nation and Youth Act. Giving Nation (G-Nation) is a platform for young people, via their schools, to give a voice to new and existing charitable activities they undertake and aims to boost young people’s awareness and understanding of the role of charity within the UK. www.g-nation.co.uk. The Giving Nation Challenge is a financially supported active learning programme. It aims to boost learning about charities, social enterprises and individual giving. It does this by providing a unique new curriculum-based active learning resource and a cash grant to help schools get going, please see: http://www.g-nation.co.uk/gncmovie/ The award winning Youth Act programme supports groups of young people, working with adults, who want to achieve social change in their school, youth club or community. It offers training in the skills of problem solving, team building and cooperation, influencing decision makers, communication, fundraising and campaigning. Groups choose their own issues: gun crime, mobile phone theft, teen pregnancy, anti-social behaviour, bullying, improving their housing estates, improving relations between young people and the police and lack of youth provision. http://www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/youthact

Citizenship Manifestos

The Citizenship Foundation has been piloting these in 12 schools since March 2006. A citizenship manifesto is a short, public document setting out a school’s vision for citizenship education – rather like the manifesto of a political party. To date, the project has found that the emphasis in participating schools has been to develop a more positive citizenship identity within their school community. Creating connections with community partners has been a central part of the programme, but has been one of the most challenging elements of the Manifesto process. We are pleased to see the approach highlighted in the Review.

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