DFE confirms reforms to GSCE Citizenship Studies for 2016

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Michael Gove has announced today (9 April 2014) further reforms to GCSE and A level qualifications. Citizenship Studies will be in the first group of GCSE qualification subjects to be reformed.

Mr Gove said,

“We are introducing more rigorous content into reformed GCSEs and A levels to be taught from September 2016 and 2015 respectively. Our changes will make these qualifications more ambitious, with greater stretch for the most able; [and] will prepare young people better for the demands of employment and further study.”

The reforms to Citizenship Studies are intended to update subject content to reflect the revised National Curriculum programme of study for key stage 4 and improve assessment approaches. The reformed GCSE in Citizenship Studies will be available for first teaching from 2016. Democratic Life partners, the Citizenship Foundation and the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) are being consulted about the changes.

Andy Thornton, CEO of the Citizenship Foundation said,

“We are delighted that there is now absolute clarity around the status of citizenship education in schools. This puts the lid on a lingering myth that it was being dropped from the curriculum, or decreasing in value as a subject. At the same time as the Cabinet Office promotes youth led social action, this exam compliments a call for schools to offer the knowledge and skills and practical experiences to become active, informed and effective citizens.”

Liz Moorse of ACT and chair of the DFE Expert Group for Citizenship said,

“These reforms should help to reinvigorate the subject and improve its status in the eyes of schools, pupils and parents. Many schools recognise the important role citizenship plays in a broad and balanced curriculum and in providing students with essential preparation for higher education and employment. These qualification reforms present an opportunity to clarify the key citizenship knowledge, concepts and skills that should be assessed and recognised through the GCSE qualification. Active Citizenship should remain a key part of any new GCSE qualification.”

Citizenship has been retained in the National Curriculum at key stages 3 and 4 and the GCSE Citizenship Studies is listed as one of the subjects that can be used in the ‘Progress 8’ performance table measure alongside Ebacc subjects.

The GCSE Citizenship Studies qualification was first introduced in 2002 when Citizenship became a National Curriculum subject. In 2009 almost 100,000 students a year achieved the qualification.

The A level for Citizenship will also be reformed and ready for use from 2017.

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