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Citizens;Interview;Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe, headteacher of Prince William School, Oundle, Northamptonshire, for 28 years, talks to Alan Combes about promoting citizenship

The SCHOOL

Prince William has 960 pupils aged 13 to 18, including 254 sixth-formers from a 400 sq km rural catchment area.

WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT CITIZENSHIP IN YOUR SCHOOL?

We take part in the European Personal Effectiveness Programme Initiative (the Europepi). This pervades the curriculum, targeting less academic pupils especially by focusing on skills and qualities central to personal development and required by major companies - presentation, communication, organisation, time-management, problem-solving, decision-making, research and data analysis and interpersonal skills.

IS IT PRACTICAL?

Definitely. We spend six weeks on presentation skills during Year 9, with practical work such as helping out at a parents' evening. In the sixth form we move on to research skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills and link-ups with local business. pupil planners record participation.

HOW ELSE IS CITIZENSHIP TAUGHT?

PSHE is taught for one hour a week - when we look at health and sex education, family values and careers - plus the 20 minutes of registration time. Pupils also gain knowledge of important institutions such as the police, law courts, local councils, Parliament and elections.

ARE THERE STUDENT ELECTIONS?

These are an integral part of school life. Each form has a meeting, and each form rep meets his or her year group reps. Then there is a whole-school student council. Instead of having a head boy or girl, we have a president and vice-president, both elected.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

OFSTED congratulated us on our youngsters' self-esteem and confidence. Last year, I persuaded a reluctant pupil who had been in more than his share of trouble to enter a local business competition. To his amazement, he won. Now, whenever he sees me, he asks if I know where the trophy is that he won for me.

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