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15 July, 2014

Teachers tell new Education Secretary to take citizenship more seriously

On Thursday, we asked teachers to tell us if they agreed with government ministers that citizenship had 'been strengthened' in the new national curriculum. The answer was a pretty resounding 'No'.

Initially, we were going to take the results to education minister Elizabeth Truss yesterday. Unsurprisingly, that meeting was cancelled amid the cabinet upheaval that saw her appointed as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and her boss, Michael Gove, appointed as Commons Chief Whip.

This, then, is a great opportunity to show the new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan MP, that the new citizenship curriculum needs more support from government if it is to be worth the paper it's written on.

94 teachers responded to our online survey. 60% disagreed (17% ‘strongly’) that this government had strengthened the citizenship curriculum, whereas 20% agreed. 23% believed that nothing had changed.

Of those that agree the government has strengthened the curriculum, only a third record that citizenship is now better delivered in their schools.

49% say citizenship provision has got weaker in their school over the last three years (13% say it is ‘falling apart’) and 29% say it is about the same. 25% report that it has strengthened, though half of these connect it to their own commitment and that of the school headteacher. The other half connect it to the school’s delivery of the citizenship GCSE.

Those who see citizenship in decline associate this with the subject's marginalisation through emphasis on the Ebacc and prioritisation of other GCSEs; to the associated loss of specialist staff and absence of signals from Ofsted and the Department for Education, with the result that it is not prioritised by Heads and other senior teachers.

Download the full report [pdf] 

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