Citizenship education is being integrated into curriculum planning across the UK. The following ‘steps to success’ come from Norfolk LEA, which worked with Norfolk and Suffolk schools on the Developing Citizenship project.
Step 1. Meeting with the Headteacher to plan the overall delivery of citizenship in your school
Plan ahead and be ready to negotiate the following:
- Both yours (management responsibility points) and the school citizenship budget. It may be useful to have a draft project plan drawn up which costs events/books/visiting speakers etc.
- Do you need discrete time for the citizenship lessons? If so, how much?
- Do you need all year groups/the whole school timetabled at the same time? Different times?
- Who will be delivering it – form tutors or a specialist team?
- Do you need a Curriculum Enhancement Day? Whole school/year group?
School Development Plan
- Try to encourage the Head to include your citizenship plans in the SDP. This will ensure that it remains high on the school’s agenda and progress will be reviewed regularly.
(Diss and Chantry High Schools are applying for specialist status, which includes citizenship.)
Step 2. Staff Briefing
- A slot in a staff meeting or training day is essential. Invite all staff, including cleaners, caretaker etc.
- Introduce the national curriculum requirements and prepare them for any Curriculum Enhancement Days you may be organising.
- Inform department heads of the audit you will be asking them to complete to help identify any cross-curricular citizenship.
- This is the time you will be able to identify your (absolutely essential) allies within the school.
- An excellent resource to help brief staff on what citizenship is and how it will affect them is Citizenship education: what’s it got to do with me?
- Available from the citizenship foundation (www.citfou.org.uk). However, do not put this in pigeonholes and expect it to be read!
(An effective staff briefing was held at Hethersett High. An INSET activity was also developed through the project which shows how all subject areas can contribute to the delivery of Citizenship.)
Step 3. Audit
- Be careful here – only audit the Knowledge and Understanding Strand (1) and request references to skills used to deliver this knowledge and understanding.
History may help deliver 1e in key stage 3: the electoral system and the importance of voting.
Through skill 3a: use their imagination to consider other people’s experiences and be able to think about, express and explain views that are not their own.
However; English may think they are delivering 1h in key stage 3: the significance of the media in society.
But do not use any of the skills mentioned in strands 2 and 3. This cannot be classed as citizenship.
Similarly, delivering skill 3c on its own: reflect on the process of participation Cannot be classed as citizenship without any knowledge and understanding being delivered.
Step 4. Curriculum Planning
Use the results of your audit to plan where, when and how the citizenship Programme of Study should be delivered.
Unfortunately, citizenship is not a statutory subject in key stages 1 and 2. It appears as a strand in the Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) framework. This results in pupils arriving at secondary school with a variety of citizenship experiences. A needs analysis will need to be conducted to aid planning. This could occur during a Curriculum Enhancement Day – ‘Introduction to Citizenship’. (See step 5). School Councils can be included as part of the citizenship curriculum delivery as long as all pupils were involved in the voting process and continue to feed into and receive feedback from the school council representatives.
Be careful with cross-curricular planning in key stage 4. Core subjects can only be used to ensure entitlement for all.
GCSE short course is an option for key stage 4. Coursework contributes 40% of the overall grade and involves some form of school/community participation. Some schools deliver it alongside the Religious Studies short course (to make a ‘whole’ GCSE). Other schools do not agree with the principle of rating the citizenship’ness’ of pupils or do not have any discrete citizenship lessons in which to deliver the syllabus.
(Chantry High School has developed an excellent cross-curricular scheme of work for year 7.)
Step 5. Curriculum Enhancement Days
These should be used as the name suggests – to enhance (or possibly introduce) the citizenship curriculum and NEVER as a replacement.
These days take an enormous amount of organising and ideally pupils should be involved in the planning and may contribute on the day. They are usually well received but don’t forget to evaluate the day for assessment purposes or future planning.
(Diss High School has produced a guide to planning and running a ‘One World Week’, Hethersett High ran a Black History Month – both of these these involved all staff and pupils. Flegg High and Stoke High also have experience running curriculum enhancement days. Notre Dame and Benjamin Brittan trained their sixth formers to deliver the trading game to pupils lower down the school.)
Step 6. Parental Involvement
Parents can (and should) be involved in a variety of ways:
- ‘Introduction to Citizenship’ evenings
- Curriculum and Policy Planning
- Providing Participation Opportunities
- Celebration Events following a Curriculum Enhancement Day/Week.
(Diss High ran a very successful parents evening during their curriculum enhancement week.)
Step 7. Focus Groups and Links with Other Schools
Although School Councils are generally thought of as the main focus group linked with citizenship, there are many others that can be formed. Some organised by staff, others by pupils.
(Kirkley High is working towards Eco-schools status and Notre Dame have won awards for theirs. Diss also have pupil-led Fair Trade and Human Rights focus groups, Flegg High are nationally recognised for their peer support scheme.)
It is also becoming increasingly popular to link with other schools – both in the UK and out. The benefits for the schools are numerous and exchange visits between schools are increasing. (Notre Dame has a lot of experience with this.)
Step 8. Recording, Reporting, Assessment and Evaluation
Recording individual progress of pupils is difficult in citizenship – especially if it is delivered through a variety of modes. However, an assessment for each pupil has to be made at the end of key stage 3.
The assessment should demonstrate whether or not each pupil is working towards, at, or beyond the level descriptor provided in the National Curriculum. This is broadly equivalent to levels 5/6 in other subjects. Evidence should be provided to explain how the decision for each pupil has been made.
(Examples of assessment can be found at www.ncaction.org.uk)
Annual reporting on citizenship to parents is statutory for all pupils.
The citizenship provision in the school should be monitored and evaluated by staff, pupils, parents and all those involved on a regular basis.
(Diss High, Stoke High and NEAD have some good examples of evaluations conducted with pupils and Notre Dame have produced a classroom activity to enable the pupils to annually monitor their own progress using their own ‘mission statements’.)