Values added: what the 2016-17 academic year holds for citizenship
Citizenship has an important role to play in post-Brexit England. It is a subject where pupils can research, discuss and learn about the changing relations between the UK and its neighbours, and so should be seen as integral by school leaders.
The subject of the UK’s relations with the European Union and Europe is a teaching requirement in citizenship and forms part of the new GCSEs in citizenship studies available for first teaching from autumn 2016. During 2016-17, pupils will benefit from having the space to explore, discuss and think critically about the issues that the referendum has raised, and consider questions that are fundamental to citizenship teaching.
What you need to consider in the next 12 months
Schools that are developing approaches to British values, character education and building resilience to extremism need to consider the Department for Education’s programmes of study for citizenship at KS1 and KS2.
The DfE non-statutory national framework for primary citizenship provides a rigorous base from which to plan teaching that builds children’s knowledge and understanding of democracy, Parliament, and the role of the UK in the wider world. It also suggests giving pupils opportunities to develop skills of oracy and discussion, and take part in problem-solving, decision-making and voting activities, as well as other forms of responsible citizenship action in class and beyond. This will help with the transition to secondary education.
Citizenship has an essential role in preparing pupils for the challenges of life and work and continuing their learning beyond statutory education. It gives pupils the tools to navigate their way through real and topical issues facing society. The subject should be rooted in a deep understanding of important concepts – democracy, human rights, social justice, identity, diversity and equality.
The reformed GCSEs in citizenship studies require core citizenship knowledge and understanding but also ask pupils to take responsibility for their own citizenship action research project. Successful teaching will go beyond the national curriculum requirements to ensure that lessons are relevant, topical and involve a range of learning experiences.
Liz Moorse is senior manager and programme leader, Association for Citizenship Teaching