Give Crick's proposals a chance;Letter

29th May 1998 at 01:00
There is a serious danger that citizenship education will become a battleground between the requirements of central government and the autonomy and professionalism of the teaching profession.

Bruce Douglas made a strong case for citizenship education, but warned that a centrally imposed citizenship curriculum will be rejected by teachers as "another state tax on school teaching time".

Now is the time to seek a consensus that serves the best interests of all concerned, particularly the young people in our schools.

CSV Education for Citizenship has worked with schools to promote good citizenship through positive community action for more than 30 years. Our experience offers two simple lessons.

First, the quality of citizenship education in schools depends on the vision and commitment of the headteacher and the senior management team.

Second, the great majority of schools are driven by statutory priorities. "Citizenship" was earlier a cross-curricular theme, but without statutory support it withered on the vine.

Furthermore, there are no clear inspection criteria for citizenship education and it is often patchy, poorly regarded and uneven in quality.

Professor Bernard Crick'sadvisory group is developing a framework to give clarity, purpose and priority to a citizenship curriculum that embraces "social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy".

There should be clear learning outcomes across the key stages, but it will be left to the teachers to decide how they wish to promote these outcomes.

No set of recommendations will please all the people all the time; but the Crick proposals offer our best chance to make senseof quality education for goodcitizenship.

John Potter. DirectorCSV Education for Citizenship. 237 Pentonville Road, London N1.

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