Most recently, schools were asked to adopt education for citizenship as one of five cross-curricular themes; but less than 20 per cent are thought to have heeded this advice. As researchers have noted, the history of education for citizenship in England is a curious mixture of noble intentions, which become general pronouncements, which, in turn, are translated into minimal guidance for schools.
This pattern may be about to change now that the Government has indicated that this topic should receive much more attention (see page 3). But the old stumbling-blocks remain: pupils' low interest in many citizenship issues, teachers' understandable reluctance to touch anything that could be construed as indoctrination, and a lack of suitably trained teachers. Citizen Blunkett will need to be patient and determined.