As any teacher delivering the national literacy or numeracy strategy knows, new teaching initiatives require resources. Moreover, resource producers, whether professional publishers or local practitioner groups, get them right only after a period of trial and error. So the launch of the Charter 88 website and associated teaching pack is a welcome initiative, arriving more than two years before citizenship becomes a foundation subject in 2002.
The pack offers a series of activity sheets, each with a quiz, a reading list and an exercise based around "sweeping statements". Each sheet addresses a key Charter 88 objective or concern - parliamentary reform, regional government, freedom of information, a bill of rights. They offer useful information and baseline exercises with which to initiate classroom activity.
The website's potential is far greaer. It offers a free interactive forum that promises regular updates and downloadable activities, access to educational videos, CD-Roms, books and games, and a direct link to the 500-page Charter 88 site. It also invites teachers and learners to contribute to the site's development by suggesting a link or event that might support citizenship education.
This encourages the sort of resource and knowledge sharing that ought to be at the heart of citizenship provision, - and of citizenship itself - and would benefit the wider curriculum. Further, the site's early launch enables teachers to pilot activities that may later form part of a comprehensive citizenship programme.
Tony Breslin is general adviser(14-19 education) in the London Borough of Enfield and co-ordinator of the Future Education Network. A pound;5 contribution is requested to cover postage for the activity pack available from Charter 88, 16-24 Underwood Street,London N1 7JQ