Build confidence to tackle citizenship

16th March 2001 at 00:00
Build confidence to tackle citizenship With citizenship due to appear in schools by August 2002, there is ample time for new resources to be launched. It is all very well to advise school citizenship managers to hold fire before investing in materials, but they are unlikely to have any more money available.

There are two basic principles to be observed, which impact on both staff and pupils. The early days of citizenship may resemble the arrival of PSE in secondary schools, when many unwilling teachers were recruited to help and some staff are likely to feel insecure.

Helping them gain confidence by providing good resources is essential. Look for materials which reinforce the notion that schools are already teaching citizenship, and which fit snugly into the school curriculum as it stands. Two new books from Kogan Page, based on the practice of Wellsway school in Bristol, by deputy head Patricia Baker and an educationl consultant, David Turner, Developing Citizenship and Activities for Citizenship. These will be invaluable for staff training.

Citizenship is a new subject for pupils, and they will receive an annual report and be offered a short-course GCSE, so it is important to establish its legitimacy.

Teaching from photocopied material is not the best way to do this. A textbook with the subject name in the title says clearly to the pupils that citizenship is here to stay.

Some outstanding material is being produced which is lively, colourful and encourages active learning.

At the moment, more of it is targeted at the non-statutory key stages 1 and 2, where organisations such as the Institute for Citizenship, Oxfam and the Scottish DEC are worth a visit on the internet. Fortunately, many resources recommended for key stage 2 by these organisations are just as valid at key stage 3. STAND PV35

Alan Combes

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