Citizenship's stature needs to be raised

15th April 2011 at 01:00

Joe Hallgarten's point that citizenship and other subjects should not be hankering after statutoriness ("What's in or out of the national curriculum isn't the point", 8 April) would have more potency if the consultation proposals had more coherence behind them.

Yes, many subject communities, including ours, will welcome the policy direction of liberating schools; yes, we look forward to the end of delivery discourse and compliance culture.

Yet we also ask what sense it will make to speak of pupil entitlements without an effective machinery to ensure them. So, for example, "pupils are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum" cuts no ice with the headteacher whose subject preferences, staffing budgets or pursuit of the English Baccalaureate urges them along a narrower road.

Mr Hallgarten's assertion that citizenship education has "never quite taken off" ignores the evidence of success in Ofsted's survey report of 2009 and the National Foundation for Educational Research's longitudinal study completed in 2010. It is precisely to build on that progress that the Citizenship Foundation is working with others to spread the case for citizenship education.

Mark Chater, Director of programmes and education, Citizenship Foundation.

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