Home Curriculum Humanities Citizenship Dept

Director of Teaching and Learning: Mrs N Bell

Head of Subject: Miss M Lewis


Citizenship education is about enabling people to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for their own lives and their communities. 

"Citizenship is more than a subject. If taught well and tailored to local needs, its skills and values will enhance democratic life for all of us, both rights and responsibilities, begninning in school and radiating out." Bernard Crick, National Curriculum Citizenship, 1999

It is not about trying to fit everyone into the same mould, or about creating 'model' or 'good' citizens. 

There are elements of citizenship education in many subjects - such as English, history and maths - as well as in a school's SMSC outcomes.

But citizenship education is more than that. 

Democracies need active, informed and responsible citizens; citizens who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves and their communities and contribute to the political process.

Democracies depend upon citizens who, among other things, are:

  • aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens;
  • informed about the social and political world;
  • concerned about the welfare of others;
  • articulate in their opinions and arguments;
  • capable of having an influence on the world;
  • active in their communities;
  • responsible in how they act as citizens.

These capacities do not develop unaided. They have to be learnt. While a certain amount of citizenship may be picked up through ordinary experience in the home or at work, it can never in itself be sufficient to equip citizens for the sort of active role required of them in today's complex and diverse society.

If citizens are to become genuinely involved in public life and affairs, a more explicit approach to citizenship education is required. This approach should be:

  • Inclusive: An entitlement for all young people regardless of their ability or background;
  • Pervasive: Not limited to schools but an integral part of all education for young people;
  • Lifelong: Continuing throughout life. 
And, as Democratic Life points out, citizenship is the only subject in the national curriculum that teaches about the way democracy, politics, the economy and the law work.  

Citizenship issues are:

  • real: actually affect people's lives;
  • topical: current today;
  • sometimes sensitive: can affect people at a personal level, especially when family or friends are involved;
  • often controversial: people disagree and hold strong opinions about them;
  • ultimately moral: relate to what people think is right or wrong, good or bad, important or unimportant in society.

How does it benefit young people?

  • It helps them to develop self-confidence and successfully deal with significant life changes and challenges such as bullying and discrimination;
  • It gives them a voice: in the life of their schools, in their communities and in society at large;
  • It enables them to make a positive contribution by developing the expertise and experience needed to claim their rights and understand their responsibilities and preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life.

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