Rachael Warwick, Headteacher for Didcot Girl’ Schools has written to Democratic Life about her thoughts on citizenship education, stressing the importance of the subject in creating a Big Society. The full letter is copied below.
‘If the Big Society has any prospect of becoming a living reality in our country, then citizenship must remain a mandatory element of every school’s curriculum. In my own school, I see the value, on a daily basis, of citizenship being taught by specialists in discreet curriculum time: our students are actively involved in their local community as they lobby for change and take responsibility for implementing these changes. The spirit of active citizenship which lives in our school is key to the ethos of engagement and participation which is fundamental to our core values, and to the skills and motivations young people will need to be successful in their future lives.
Whilst I applaud moves to allow schools to become more autonomous about how they structure and fill their curriculum time, any proposal to remove citizenship from the mandatory curriculum provision is disingenuous. Schools are under increasing pressure to deliver exam-based outcomes: without its mandatory status, citizenship will be lost from the curriculum in many schools simply through pressure to meet a continual barrage of assessment targets.
Citizenship within the curriculum, with mandatory status, has to remain in order for schools to deliver education in its truest sense which is, surely, to provide young people with the skills, competencies and personal qualities needed to engage, participate and succeed in an unpredictable and changing society.
For these reasons, I would ask that you listen to the views shared through this petition, that citizenship must retain its mandatory status within the secondary curriculum.’
Headteacher, Didcot Girls’ School