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Background to the Citizenship Foundation

In 1984 solicitor Andrew Phillips (now Lord Phillips of Sudbury) persuaded the Law Society to fund an experimental project in association with the National Curriculum Council. This was the Law in Education Project.

Introducing students to the law

This landmark project developed teaching materials to introduce students to their legal rights and responsibilities and the role of law in our democratic society. Although being a citizen necessarily involves knowing one's legal rights in everyday situations and something of the legal principles underpinning them, it had not been common practice to teach law in schools as part of a basic social education.

Besides developing knowledge and understanding of the law, the materials expected students to engage critically with the content and purpose of the legislation, encouraging critical thinking and democratic discussion. Concepts such as rights, duties, responsibilities, justice, law, power, and authority were introduced.

Establishing the Citizenship Foundation

Based on the achievement of the Law in Education Project, the Citizenship Foundation was established in 1989, and began by broadening its emphasis on law-related education into mock trial and youth parliament competitions. New projects were begun, looking at primary citizenship, moral education, political literacy and work with alienated groups such as young offenders.

Inclusion of citizenship on the National Curriculum

The Foundation lobbied with others for the inclusion of citizenship on the National Curriculum, convinced of its fundamental importance in underpinning all areas of public life. It recognised that 'citizenship education' is sufficiently different from 'social education' and must include every aspect of public life, such as law, politics, morality, philosophy and economics.

Today, the Citizenship Foundation's work is recognised both nationally and internationally.

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