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23 October, 2014

The new citizenship GCSE needs improving, and you can help make that happen using our handy forms

There are two consultations on the revised GCSE: the Department for Education is consulting on subject content and Ofqual is consulting on assessment. We need your help to ensure they result in the best GCSE possible.

And we've made it easy for you! In partnership with Democratic Life and the Association for Citizenship Teaching, we have prepared example responses for both consultations, specifically on the questions related to citizenship.

With your help, we can make the new citizenship GCSE much stronger.

When you click ‘submit' at the end of each form, the response will be sent directly to the relevant body (ie DfE or Ofqual) and copied to Democratic Life.

Of course, if you prefer, you can edit, re-write or replace our response entirely with your own.

Our main concerns

100 per cent exam

The GCSE revisions are downgrading the coursework element in all subjects, including citizenship, and moving towards terminal examinations.

The proposed shift from 40 per cent to 100 per cent examination is a fundamental change to the nature of citizenship studies GCSE and a grave mistake.

There is no evidence that citizenship action cannot be assessed reliably and validly through direct assessment nor that examinations are are a more reliable, valid and manageable means of assessment.

We believe this change will penalise good students, and weaken the crucial link in citizenship between learning in the classroom and the opportunity to put that learning into practice in 'real-life' contexts.

Lack of active citizenship

Citizenship action is covered insufficiently in the proposed content and omitted entirely from skills.

'Taking action' needs to be included in the short course citizenship GCSE as well the full course.

Wrong balance

There needs to be a better balance between knowledge, understanding and skills: specifically, greater emphasis on taking citizenship action.

Active ability is not assessed well enough

Assessment objectives should include specific reference to the abilities that students develop and demonstrate when undertaking citizenship action.

The proposed weighting of 15 per cent for reflecting on citizenship action is insufficient.

Please help us argue for a better GCSE. Respond to the GCSE consultations today, using our handy online form. Your response will go straight to the consultation teams, as well as to the good folk at Democratic Life.

Consultation closing dates:

  • Ofqual: 19 November 2014;
  • DfE: 20 November 2014, 5.00pm.


Additionally, Ofqual is running two discussion events for the citizenship GCSE consultation: one in Birmingham on 11 November and one in London on 13 November.

Either way, the more voices that join in, the better. Together, let's make the new citizenship GCSE as good as it can be.


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