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23 February, 2015

Campaign to save A level citizenship gathers pace

Momentum is building in our campaign to save the only A level in citizenship studies, and we have hit our first target! Over 500 people have so far told exam board AQA to re-think its decision to ditch this examination.

Exam board AQA is the only awarding body to offer A level citizenship studies, and now they're going to drop it. We want them to change their minds.

Since we launched the campaign with Democratic Life just over a week ago, we have had a written response from AQA and our online petition has hit its first target of 500 signatures.

In their response, AQA reiterated the reasons for their decision but also offered to speak with us. We are taking them up on that offer.

We shall point out that uptake in the full-course citizenship GCSE increased from 12,000 to 20,000 last year and that those students need a proper, active, citizenship A level to progress to: not Sociology or Government and Politics, as they suggest.

We shall also remind them that Cambridge University, LSE and others refer explicitly to citizenship as an A level they look to when recruiting to a number of degree courses. And we shall point out that Ed Miliband has promised more citizenship education, not less if Labour gets into power after the general election.

In the meantime, our public campaign gathers pace. The British Humanist Association put their weight behind it and leading education magazine TES covered it online. And then there are people like Alastair Campbell and AC Grayling who have been re-tweeting us.

All sorts of people want to keep A level citizenship, from teachers and academics to parents and students. 'When done well, it's the most important subject you can study. We need socially and politically aware and empowered young people,' says Jessica from London.

Paul, a teacher in Leicester, says the course is essential for students at his school. 'It has changed the lives of many young people: by giving them a solid A level leading to a university place, but more importantly by creating a space to explore the world around them. It is a brilliant A level.'

'I believe strongly that it is crucial that A Level Citizenship continue as a method of nurturing more rounded and better informed participants in our local, regional and national communities,' says Andrew from Helmsworth.

'Skewed radicalised views and positions are an ever present and increasing danger in our shrinking global world community and Citizenship is a key way of counter-balancing that.

'It is breathtaking that at a time when the government is driving on British values and preparing young people for life in a diverse and multicultural nation that AQA is withdrawing A Level Citizenship,' he adds.

'Every opportunity to engage with being an educated citizen should be supported,' says Jane from Stockport. 'We need to encourage the young to take part in politics and citizenship, not repeatedly tell them it doesn't matter.' 

And that's just the start: we will keep working hard to convince the good people at AQA to change their minds.

But we won't stop there: we are also encouraging other exam boards to step in and fill the gap.


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