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More power to the pupils

The message on the posters is striking and explicit. "Don't be a tosser" is the greeting from the billboards at Warwickshire College, the slogan printed over an image of piles of litter.

Students on a citizenship programme came up with the slogan to forcefully drive home the message throwing litter mucks up everybody's lives.

It is part of their campaign to tackle vandalism, graffiti, and litter problems that mars life in their college and local community.

One project they carried out was to investigate the number of chairs that had been broken throughout the college, and to calculate the cost of repairing them.

Students on an Entry to Employment course at Warwickshire College with Zenith Partnership, the work based training unit, spend half a day a week learning citizenship during the two days a week spent at college. The other three are on work experience.

When two students on the E2E programme found themselves homeless, the citizenship programme found ways to deal with the problem. They got involved with the local Connexions office and set up meetings to resolve the crisis. They are also involved in preparing leaflets for a Connexions campaign on how being homeless affecting young people.

Patsi Spicer, the E2E programme tutor, said: "Citizenship is all about empowering young people with the confidence to change things about their lives.

"Citizenship projects seem to make them develop more and become more supportive, and to see things happening in a different way than before. You can see a tremendous benefit from it."

She added: "Some tutors are against the citizenship programme because they feel they are being used as a political tool.

"I believe we cannot afford not to teach our young people this subject.

Citizenship is taking the place of religion. Without religion, and so few people believe in it, where does it come from?"

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