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Taste of citizen-chips

Hundreds of teachers are using a new citizenship website which explores the debate about what it means to be British. Supported by Chancellor Gordon Brown, it provides lesson materials and suggestions of activities for students sged 11 to 16.

Mr Brown met pupils to discuss what it means to be British when he launched the website recently at a school in east London. He asked the teenagers about British icons and heroes, fish and chips and pie and mash.

Private Johnson Beharry, an Iraq war hero, was singled out by pupils as a great Briton of 2006. They also identified Britain's tolerance and its protection of freedom of speech. Among the questions they asked the Chancellor was how Britain's relationship with Europe was affected by links with the United States. Mr Brown said: "We have a lot in common with the US as well."

The interactive website is tied to an annual competition run by the financial company Morgan Stanley to award Britons in seven categories: arts, business, campaigning, creative industries, public life, science and innovation, and sport.

The winners for the 2006 awards, the third to be held, will be announced in January.

Baldev Singh, a teacher and former national teaching awards winner who helped set up the website, said: "This is an important resource for teachers as it will give them guidance on how to approach a potentially very difficult subject."

* www.greatbritons.orglearning

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