National Action Plan – Citizenship for All launched

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Children and young people today are growing up in a complicated world where technological, political, social and environmental change is affecting us all. Many young people are concerned about the future and find it difficult to navigate through the many forms of information they access. Some feel excluded and question whether our political system and democratic values are working for them and their communities and some are being drawn towards extremism.

Citizenship is a subject that teaches children and young people about how democracy, politics and law work in practice and develops understanding of how society has developed and is changing. Citizenship helps young people make sense of the world around them by giving them the concepts and knowledge to think critically about challenging political and social issues and space to explore difficult and sensitive topics. The subject builds understanding, critical literacy and practical skills to think, question, explore and debate, to speak out on issues of concern and take action with others to address problems and contribute positively to democratic life.

Citizenship has been a part of the National Curriculum in England since 2002 and was retained by the government in the recent review of 2014. Yet since 2010 there has been a decline in the provision for Citizenship and quality of teaching in too many schools. There has been some ambiguity about the role and status of Citizenship and this together with pressure to focus on a narrow, academic core of subjects that excluded Citizenship has led to some schools dropping the subject altogether.

Every child deserves high quality, well taught Citizenship as a guaranteed part of a broad and balanced curriculum that properly prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of life and work.

With this in mind the Expert Subject Advisory Group for Citizenship and a range of citizenship organisations have come together to call on the DFE to support A National Action Plan for Citizenship – ‘Citizenship for all’ with five key objectives to strengthen the subject:

  1. A Curriculum Guarantee for Citizenship in every primary and secondary school and clear progression to further Citizenship education post 16 to support the National Curriculum for Citizenship
  2. Make Citizenship a priority subject in teacher training with bursaries
  3. Establish Beacons of Excellence in Citizenship linking University Politics departments and schools teaching citizenship
  4. Benchmarking best practice to highlight effective Citizenship education with a special subject survey by Ofsted
  5. Stimulate the production of high quality teaching resources to meet gaps and support high quality teaching.

The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP has received a copy of the National Plan which can be read in full here.

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