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Citizenship Foundation's response to the UK National Curriculum Review 2011

Citizenship Foundation's response to the UK National Curriculum Review 2011

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Published by: Citizenship Foundation on Apr 14, 2011
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Citizenship Foundation response tothe National Curriculum ReviewCall for Evidence
Introduction
As one of the founding members of Democratic Life and the organisation thatprovides the secretariat support to that campaign,
the Citizenship Foundationrequests that the Democratic Life submission is viewed as oursubstantive response.
In this submission we will cover areas that were either not addressed byDemocratic Life or that could be further expanded on, drawing on the CitizenshipFoundation’s unique experience.This submission will cover these main points:
The Citizenship Foundation: a brief introduction to our work;
Response to the citizenship education questions (15a, b, c and e) from theCall for Evidence;
Further evidence from our experience of supporting citizenship educationin schools;
Further evidence taken from our research in the PRU setting.
The Citizenship Foundation
The Citizenship Foundation is an independent education and participation charitythat aims to encourage and enable individuals to engage in democratic society.Founded in 1989, our particular focus is on developing young people’s citizenshipskills, knowledge and understanding of the law, democracy and public life. We dothis by:
championing civic participation;
supporting teachers, schools and colleges with the delivery of citizenshipeducation;
working with young people in community-settings on issues that concernthem.
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Our work includes the development of citizenship resources, nationwide trainingprogrammes, national active learning projects for primary and secondary schoolsand community-based projects. The Citizenship Foundation also contributes topolicy debates and in 2002 was part of the cross-party movement thatsuccessfully advocated for the inclusion of citizenship as a statutory subject inthe secondary school curriculum. The Foundation continues to champion thevalue of citizenship education, and its constituent parts, by taking part indeveloping policy discussions and by working closely with policy-makers.
Response to specific call for evidence questions: Citizenship(section E)
Question 15a)
 
Citizenship is currently a compulsory NC subject, with astatutory Programme of Study, at KS 3 and 4. In future, do youthink citizenship should continue to be a NC subject?
Yes. We are convinced that citizenship must remain a compulsory NationalCurriculum subject at key stages 3 and 4. Significant progress has been made inschools since its introduction. Citizenship should also be a compulsory NationalCurriculum subject at key stage 2.Citizenship is a unique subject combining academic knowledge of politics, lawand the economy with practical social action. No other subject addresses theseareas of knowledge or skills. Citizenship teaches students knowledge of democracy including political institutions, parliament and government; justiceincluding the operation of the justice system, the law and the courts; rights andresponsibilities including political, legal and human rights; identities and diversityincluding how British society is changing; how devolved government and politicswork; and the role of the UK internationally. This essential knowledge iscontextualised and brought to life through the critical exploration of contemporary local, national, European and international issues and examples.The National Curriculum should not only prepare students for further educationand employment, it must also equip them with the knowledge, understandingand skills they need to play an effective role in public life. As 2010’sIEA study of Civics and Citizenship (ICCS) shows how knowledge underpins participation:students with higher civic knowledge reported greater likelihood to participate inelections and in society now and in the future.
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 Citizenship knowledge istherefore essential to developing politically literate, responsible and activecitizens who can make a positive contribution to our economy, communities anddemocratic society.
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 The ICCS surveyed over 140,000 students in more than 5,300 schools from 38countries including Finland, Korea, Taipei, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Spain and England.Student data were augmented by data from more than 62,000 teachers in those schools.ICCS published an International Report and a European Report in late November 2010.
(See
IEA (2010).
ICCS 2009 International Report: Civic knowledge, attitudes andengagement among lower secondary school students in thirty-eight countries
.Amsterdam.)
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Question 15b)
 
If yes, at what stages should this apply.
 Citizenship must be retained as a National Curriculum subject at key stages 3and 4. Citizenship should also be made statutory at key stage 2 to enhance theprogress made by children at key stages 3 and 4, to ensure more children reachthe expected standards in the subject and in recognition of the fact that manyeducationalists and primary schools agree that citizenship is an essential part of the curriculum they teach. Where primary schools teach about rights andresponsibilities, such as through the UNICEF Rights Respecting SchoolsProgramme, behaviour and engagement in learning improve.
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 Indeed, our experience delivering Go-Givers, the Citizenship Foundation’sflagship programme for primary schools, has convinced us of the benefitscitizenship education brings to the primary school setting. This Cabinet Officefunded programme has conducted research inquiring into the attitudes andbehaviours of Key Stage 2 pupils, which has shown that they are remarkablyempathetic, aware of social issues and ready to mobilise, but with littleopportunity to do so.
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The success of Go-Givers (to date nearly 15,000subscribers and over 25 per cent of primary schools in England have registeredwith the programme) demonstrates not only the potential for citizenshipeducation in primary schools, but also the demand from teachers and schools forthis learning.Citizenship at key stage 2 will ensure all children benefit from the very best startin primary education. It will give them a grounding in knowledge andunderstanding of the way our society is organised and help them make sense of our complex world. A secure basis of citizenship knowledge and understandingon which children can build and make progress will be significant in improvingoutcomes through their secondary education. Indeed, the final report of theCitizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS) found that students in the CELScohort were more likely to have positive attitudes towards civic and politicalparticipation if they attended a school where citizenship education is taughtregularly throughout their educational experience.
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This CELS evidence supportsour view that students should have more citizenship education, not less, toimprove outcomes.Maintaining statutory National Curriculum citizenship education at key stages 3and 4 will also provide invaluable preparation for the National Citizen Service andpost 16 citizenship education.
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Professor Judy Sebba & Dr Carol Robinson (2010).
Evaluation of UNICEF UK’s RightsRespecting Schools Award
. London: UNICEF UK. p18.
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Attitudinal research from 400 pupils in 10 schools in Hampshire and West Berkshire.(Summary of report available online: Care to Make a Difference?: Survey of Key Stage 2Pupils’ Attitudes and Behaviourshttp://www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/main/resource.php?s405).
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National Foundation for Educational Research (2010),
Citizenship education in England2001-2010: young people’s practices and prospects for the future: the eighth and finalreport from the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS)
, London, Department forEducation.
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