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Education - citizenship
"Education for citizenship equips young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in public life. Citizenship encourages them to take an interest in topical and controversial issues and to engage in discussion and debate. Pupils learn about their rights, responsibilities, duties and freedoms and about laws, justice and democracy. They learn to take part in decision-making and different forms of action. They play an active role in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and wider society as active and global citizens."(Reference Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Programme of Study, Importance Statement)
So what is Citizenship Education?
Citizenship aims to give your child the skills, knowledge and understanding required to play an effective role in their community and country. It is not about making your child courteous and respectful or giving them a sense of shared values and a sense of 'Britishness'. It is the only subject within the National Curriculum where your child will learn about the democratic and legal processes in the UK and their rights and responsibilities as citizens and have the opportunity to investigate, advocate and take action on issues that are of concern to them. This could involve your child investigating local, national or international issues for example campaigning for a reduction in the speed limit outside their school or a new pedestrian crossing to more global issues of sustainability and climate change.
"We aim for no less than a change in the political culture of this country, for people to think of themselves as active citizens... willing, able and equipped to have an influence in public life..." The Crick Report, 1998
Citizenship makes a significant contribution to schools' statutory duty to promote community cohesion.
Since September 2002 there has been a statutory requirement for schools to provide citizenship education to all secondary school students (Key Stages 3 and 4). Parents should receive an annual report, showing the progress their child has made in this subject. Some schools chose to enter students for a short or full course GCSE in citizenship.
Your child is expected to learn about:
and develop the skills of:
From September 2008 secondary schools have been implementing the new secondary curriculum which has an enhanced focus on personal development included in the three main aims of the curriculum to enable all young people to become:
In the primary schools citizenship is a non-statutory subject. Programmes of study for citizenship can be found within the non-statutory Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and citizenship programmes of study. Your child is expected to learn about preparing to play a role as an active citizen. They will do this by taking part in discussions on topical issues, learning about topic such as democracy, the impact of negative behaviours on others and how the media presents information.
The best citizenship learning occurs when what is taught in the curriculum enables students to have an impact on the wider community and reinforces (and is reinforced by) the culture of the school. Youth councils give young people opportunities to develop their critical skills, consider a range of political, social and moral problems and explore opinions and ideas other than their own. The councils support students in evaluating information, make informed judgements and reflect on the consequences of their actions now and in the future. Students also learn to argue a case on behalf of others as well as themselves and speak out on issues of concern. These skills are key to the Personal, Learning, Thinking and Skills aspects of the new national curriculum