'We did it together! Citizenship remains – but we still need your help'

Friday 1 March 2013

Democratic Life would like to thank you for your support in securing Citizenship in the secondary National Curriculum. This is a significant achievement. However, there is more work to do to ensure the new curriculum is the best it can be. We still need your help!

The announcement made in the House of Commons on 7 February 2013 confirms this government is committed to Citizenship in every secondary school. The curriculum proposals are now subject to a full public consultation until 16 April 2013. Final versions of the curriculum are due in schools this autumn for first teaching in September 2014. Democratic Life is preparing a full consultation response which we will publish soon.

Key points

Citizenship will remain statutory with programmes of study that set out what must be taught at key stage 3 (for 11-14 year olds) and key stage 4 (for 14-16 year olds). The GCSE Citizenship Studies will continue to count in school performance tables.

However, we believe that further improvements to the draft programmes of study are necessary to ensure there is clarity about what must be taught and to set appropriate standards for the subject. Essential changes are needed, to:

  • Include a clear requirement to teach about human rights
  • Clarify active citizenship is not just volunteering but involves pupils taking part in genuine social and democratic action in their schools and communities
  • Enhance the new requirement for financial education to include economic understanding and public finance
  • Ensure key stage 3 is not solely focused on the UK but includes the European, international and global dimensions of the subject
  • Improve the subject aims and show appropriate progression between key stages 3 and 4, especially in key aspects such as the law.

How to find the DFE consultation documents

The consultation documents are available from the DFE website using the links below:

National Curriculum Consultation document – 18 pages setting out the details of the consultation

National Curriculum Consultation framework document – 221 pages setting out the proposed general requirements and subject programmes of study for the secondary National Curriculum

Citizenship Programmes of Study at key stages 3 and 4 – 6 pages containing the proposed Citizenship curriculum.

We urge you to respond. To do so you will need to upload your comments using the DFE consultation response form. We are developing are a Democratic Life response and will share it soon.

Primary citizenship

In addition, we are very concerned that there are no plans to update the primary Citizenship curriculum. The current non-statutory curriculum framework is now more than ten years old. It bears little relation to the proposed secondary curriculum and this will cause confusion in schools and between phases of education.

Initial Teacher Education for Citizenship

We believe that the government now needs to demonstrate its commitment to high quality Citizenship by strengthening the teacher training available for the subject.

All children deserve great citizenship education and the best citizenship teaching!

We hope our supporters will continue to take action for stronger Citizenship in England.

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