Making citizenship work

12th September 2003 at 01:00
Despite a slow start for citizenship and a gloomy report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate published in July, there are plenty of schools that already teach the subject effectively. Bourne Community College at Emsworth near Portsmouth, for example, has been praised by the DfES for its work.

Bourne teaches citizenship through a joint PSE and citizenship department, employing specialist staff with plenty of backing from the school management. The two subjects share a 50-minute weekly lesson, with the citizenship component taught largely through project work. At Year 9 this concentrates on global issues, looking mainly at conflict resolution and the role of international organisations. The history of the United Nations is normally covered, using press and television coverage as well as textbooks. Pupils are encouraged to identify a specific area of conflict from around the globe, study it in depth and present the research. There is also a practical element because they are challenged to engage with the conflict they have studied by raising funds for an aid organisation working in the area. They are expected to draw up a strategy, get in touch with potential donors and liaise with the aid organisation.

Citizenship is not compulsory at primary school, but some of the most effective teaching takes place there all the same. Six years ago another Hampshire school, Marchwood Junior School near Southampton, established strong links with the parish council. Forming what it calls the "Good Citizens Partnership Project", the school has deliberately placed itself at the heart of community life, opening its doors to village activities, while the pupils and parents are encouraged to contribute to council decisions where possible, and to the Village News Magazine. Each year the school and parish jointly run a competition with a citizenship theme. The topics have included vandalism, litter and the environment. Entries can be made through poetry, art and project work. It is supported in the school with assemblies and discussion, before the competition is judged by councillors and teachers. Many of the pupils' projects have led to actual change, from thoughtfully designed and placed litter bins to tree planting programmes.

These and other case studies can be found on the DfES website at

Further help is available from: * The Association of Citizenship Teaching

Tel: 020 7367 0510

* The Citizenship Foundation

Tel: 020 7367 0500

* The Citizenship Institute

Tel: 020 7935 4777

* The QCA

Tel: 020 7509 5556


Tel: 020 7278 6601

The CSV and HMI reports

"Citizenship in The Curriculum One Year On" is available on the CSV website. Printed copies are free from CSV headquarters.

The HMI report on "National Curriculum Citizenship - Planning and Implementation" is on the Ofsted site No printed copies are available.

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