Young people lead the campaign for better citizenship education

Friday 11 March 2016

Young people concerned about subject status and the future of the A level in Citizenship Studies are leading the campaign for better citizenship education in schools.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 09.25.17Kenny Imafidon is campaigning to persuade Department for Education Ministers that urgent action is needed to improve the quality of Citizenship and political education in schools.

Despite a series of education policies (British Values, SMSC and the Prevent duty) where the subject makes an important contribution, it is thought many schools are failing to provide high quality Citizenship education for their pupils.

Kenny has already secured some 25,000 supporters for his campaign from concerned pupils, teachers, parents and organisations.

Last week, students voiced their opinions via blogs written for the Crick Centre about the subject and the A level in Citizenship Studies which is currently offered by AQA. Amelia offered her insights to improving the qualification and questioned the plans to abandon the qualification after 2018:

I was pleased in year 10 to get away from normal classes to undertake an AS level in citizenship…Both the AS and A2 syllabuses were engaging and interesting, forcing me to think logically about issues, for instance, why do so many young people support pressure groups rather than political parties and the roles and organisation of the judicial system.

There are signs of some positive growth in Citizenship teaching with schools coming back to the subject to offer the new GCSEs in Citizenship Studies. The inclusion of Citizenship in the new DFE Progress 8 measure of school performance is one reason for this as well as the continued demand for the subject from pupils.

However, information from the DfE workload survey published in the summer of 2015 shows there has been a decline in numbers of teachers, teaching Citizenship.

Providers of initial teacher education are also concerned about the difficulties of attracting graduates to train as specialist Citizenship teachers and of finding good teaching placement schools, and have called on the DfE to provide a training bursary to help recruitment and raise the profile of the subject.

Last month Lord Blunkett of Brightside and the Association for Citizenship Teaching, a Democratic Life partner, met with Minister Nick Gibb to discuss these and other issues affecting Citizenship and how the DfE could act to address the status of Citizenship education in schools.

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