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25 February, 2013

Gove keeps citizenship in the curriculum but the new, condensed proposal needs refining

We are delighted that Michael Gove ignored the Curriculum Review Expert Panel's advice to drop citizenship from the school curriculum.

We are pleased the Secretary of State is keeping citizenship in the new National Curriculum. (See below for our downloadable guide.)

We are also pleased that the overall National Curriculum now explicitly 'provides pupils with an introduction to the core knowledge that they need to be educated citizens' (our emphasis).

However, there are gaps. But the draft citizenship curriculum is a baseline, which we can all build on together to give our young people the very best citizenship education that we can.

Gaps and opportunities

Personal finance is now included but the economy is no longer explicit. Learning about the economy is implied by the public nature of citizenship.

Human Rights, too, is no longer explicit. Something called 'precious liberties' has been added: the government may consider this to be the same thing, but others won't.

Active citizenship also needs work: we all know it's more than volunteering.

Transition between key stages needs care. For example, the draft curriculum has little legal literacy at key stage 4 (the Vicky Pryce jury case is a timely reminder of the importance of this).

Citizenship in primary schools needs review. We need to ensure continuity to the draft citizenship curriculum at key stages 3 and 4.

Implications for citizenship: a free guide

David Kerr has written a guide to implications for citizenship of the draft curriculum. You can download it for free.

David has considerable expertise in the citizenship curriculum. He played a key role in getting citizenship on the National Curriculum in 2002 and in its revision in 2007.


But remember, the curriculum is still in draft; so please do tell Michael Gove of any concerns you have. 

You can respond to his consultation on reform of the National Curriculum until 16 April.

Campaign group Democratic Life will soon have online help for those responding to the consultation, so keep an eye on their website.

The Citizenship Foundation will be clear that this curriculum proposal is not nearly enough. Mr Gove must back citizenship with resources to re-energise it and ensure it is delivered well and universally.

Headteachers, the Teaching Agency, Ofsted, Ofqual and the Department for Education must all give citizenship the support it needs to flourish back into a rigorous, nourishing and respected subject.

That's what we will tell the consultation. If you believe in citizenship education, please add your voice too.


Your comments

From Fran - Norwich
The Government will be asked to provide evidence this year to the UNCRC Monitoring Group. In 2008, the UK was criticised for not fully embedding Article 12, which gives children the right to participate in decisions that affect them. I therefore fully support the need to include the study of Human Rights - and active citizenship - across all key stages.

From Adam Hopley - Leicester
Many thanks.

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