The life 'n' stuff debate

11th July 2008 at 01:00
What do teachers think about citizenship and the way it's handled in schools? Virginia Hunt looks at your views on The TES website

What do teachers think about citizenship and the way it's handled in schools? Virginia Hunt looks at your views on The TES website

Citizenship - call that a subject? It's a question that even citizenship teachers are asking on The TES forums.

Bluenose says: "I heard one of my own staff tell her Year 11s not to worry as it `wasn't a proper subject'."

Opalfeet adds: "It is hard work to get the kids to think differently about it as it's often not valued by the senior management team or other teachers."

HumptyDumptyEgg strikes a brighter note: "Taught well it can be pupils' favourite subject. A number of my Year 7s claim that it's in their top three."

Bluenose has also had positive feedback: "A Year 7 told me last month that it was ridiculous they only had one lesson a fortnight as `it's where we learn the stuff that really matters, like life `n' stuff'."

Opalfeet thinks that the new GCSE, which will include a new strand on British national identity and diversity, will help. "More schools may take it seriously as it will now affect our league tables." (

Elsewhere, Jetbur wants advice on combining citizenship with the teaching of creative arts.

InControlithink suggests "looking at protest music and graffiti art, but I think it would be difficult to deliver the whole curriculum this way - not sure our friends at Ofsted would like it".

They've brainstormed some great ideas, such as "collages from different newspaper cuttings about particular stories, showing how facts can be misleadingmisconstrued and how different papers have different opinions".

Another idea is to do with graffiti: "You could look at the Billy Cox mural, a tribute to a boy stabbed on a council estate that the council wanted to remove but the residents protested."

Eek, after talking with other staff, concludes that: "For this to work, you would need a citizenship specialist who could work with other teachers to plan and deliver the content."

Rlj27 says: "The main concern is that the pupils are clear about what they are doing and the learning outcomes," and recommends consulting the pupils on how citizenship issues could be tackled in a creative arts lesson.

"Big brownie points to all concerned if you can say that the kids had input into the teaching."


Virginia Hunt is the TES website deputy community editor


- Passport template. A great way to get to know your class, easily adapted for different year groups.

- Hello 300 - how to say hello in 300 languages.

- New citizenship levels in pupil speak.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today