Just a reminder that the deadline to respond to the proposed new curriculum, including the programmes of study for Citizenship ends on April 16th.
You can respond directly HERE or use the guide created by Democratic Life / Association for Citizenship Teaching HERE. If you haven’t yet read the draft programmes of study for Citizenship, you can download the document HERE.
If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s my response to one of the questions:
Do you have any comments on the content set out in the draft programmes of study?
While I support slimmed down programmes of study in principle, I do not agree with how the Citizenship draft programmes of study have been slimmed down.
The most significant problem is the omission of the Citizenship skills of critical thinking, enquiry, advocacy, communication and taking action. Without these skills, the whole point of Citizenship education is undermined. It becomes a theoretical subject about institutions and processes, rather than a practical subject about learning how your community, country and world works, in order to change it for the better. The draft programmes of study only encourage ‘know-about’ learning (know about Parliament, know about the criminal justice system etc.). ‘Know about’ is important, but only if it is taught through ‘know-how’ learning (know how to build a strong argument, know how to plan and run a campaign etc.). It’s the ‘know-how’ that is missing from the draft programmes of study.
When Citizenship was established, its aim was to “change 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.”
You cannot learn to be an active citizen from a textbook, you can only learn about it by being active – by debating, asking good questions, being persuasive, analysing information for bias and then acting to make a difference. You need knowledge to do this effectively, but without these skills this knowledge will be of little interest and use to children.
You don’t feel politically powerful, unless you have had a powerful experience of acting politically. That is why these Citizenship skills must be retained in the new programmes of study.
In addition to this; human rights should be retained, global issues should be included at KS3, and the references to volunteering should be removed (not that volunteering is not important, but it is not central to Citizenship education). Furthermore, personal finance education has very little to do with Citizenship, whereas as public finance education (the economy, the Budget, global finance etc) certainly does, and should be included.