In parliament on Tuesday (17 March), ACT President the Rt Hon David Blunkett MP led an event to share the latest findings from a 12 year research study into the impact of Citizenship Education.
The Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS) project began when David Blunkett was Secretary of State for Education and was intended to measure and evaluate the impact of the subject of citizenship that he introduced into the National Curriculum in 2002. Citizenship remains a statutory National Curriculum and GCSE subject in secondary schools today.
The latest research findings draw on the first cohort of young people who experienced citizenship education in secondary schools in 2003. The young people are now aged 22-23 years old and have been interviewed on six occassions between 2003 and 2014. The findings show:
Citizenship Education boosts political engagement and young people who have experienced good citizenship education in and beyond school have more postive attitudes towards voting and other political activities
Voting remains the most frequently reported political activity with 50% of young adults surveyed saying they are ‘very likely’ to vote in May and a further 25% saying they are ‘fairly likely’ to do so
Young people get more interested in politics and voting as they progress through teenage years to adulthood particularly between the ages of 16 and 20 highlighting the need to strengthen post 16 citizenship education.
A panel of experts including Dr Avril Keating of the Llakes Research Centre, David Kerr former Research Director of the CELS project at the NFER and Associate Director of Citizenship Foundation, Mike Sani from Bite the Ballot and Professor Andy Green, Direct of the Llakes Research Centre joined David Blunkett for a lively discussion about the findings in a packed room at parliament.