Citizen guide is 'psychobabble'

15th December 2000 at 00:00
DAVIDBlunkett has distanced himself from a new citizenship guide aimed at schools.

The Education and Employment Secretary said elements of the Community Service Volunteers Aid to Citizenship were too "touchy feely".

"I have heard parts of it described as "psychobabble" and I have never been in favour of that," he said.

Citizenship has to be taught in secondary schools from September 2002 and is billed as the Government's antidote to the "yob culture". But there is confusion about how to teach the programme and its place in the curriculum.

Some teachers claim it is further proof that they are expected to solve the ills of society.

The difficulties surrounding how citizenship should be taught were brought home this week when Mr Blunkett made the comments about the CSV publication during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The book is described by publisher as a "one-stop-shop" for citizenship teachers. A quote on the back cover from Mr Blunkett, a former CSV trustee, praises the work of the organisation but the Department for Education and Employment insisted the book has not been endorsed by him.

The publication covers the criminal justice and political systems, and suggests how pupils can get involved in community action.

It also encourages pupils to find a song or poem with positive values, such as Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love of All.

John Potter, director of CSV education, defended the publication, saying pilots at 24 schools had led to improvements in behaviour.

The Secretary of State's comments were made hours before he helped launch the Young Citizen's Passport, a Government-funded guide produced by the Citizenship Foundation which sets out rights and gives advice on issues including health and drugs.

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