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Those who criticise the government for using citizenship as a political football will not be surprised to find a large chunk of the new curriculum dedicated to "identities and diversity: living together in the UK".

This was one of the recommendations of Sir Keith Ajegbo's report into citizenship earlier this year, which said that the subject needed to foster "core British values". However, right-wing sociologist Professor Frank Furedi has argued that such moves threaten to turn the curriculum into a vehicle for "fashionable prejudices".

But many, including the Citizenship Foundation, vehemently disagree. "It's something young people want to talk about," said a spokeswoman. "But it tends to be a topic teachers are wary of, because it's so complex."

Less controversially but perhaps more radically, schools are asked to involve pupils in real-life citizenship by getting them to take part in school elections, charity and voluntary work.

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