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Curriculum: Citizenship

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what response he plans to make to the recommendation of the National Foundation for Education Research Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study that the statutory citizenship curriculum be strengthened in (a) status, (b) credibility and (c) visibility. (159647)

Citizenship is a statutory part of the national curriculum for all pupils aged 11-16 and part of a joint non-statutory framework in primary schools alongside personal, social and health education (PSHE). The recent review of the secondary school curriculum undertaken by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) gave new impetus to the citizenship curriculum by adding a new strand entitled “Identity and diversity: living together in the UK”, following the recommendation in Sir Keith Ajegbo's review of diversity and citizenship. The DCSF, in partnership with CfBT and the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT), is running a national support programme to help schools implement these changes. From January to April 2008, there will be one day regional training events targeted at subject leaders. A national subject lead for citizenship has been appointed, who will work with 27 new regional advisers to support local networking.

We are also working with the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) to raise the status of citizenship with head teachers, providing a fully subsidised continuing professional development course for citizenship teachers to improve their skills, and developing a new, full GCSE and A-level in citizenship studies, in response to demand. In addition, guidance on the new duty for schools to promote community cohesion, which came into effect on 1 September 2007, makes clear that good citizenship education can make a significant contribution to this area and demonstrate schools' compliance.

We will continue to work with the NfER and use the findings of the Citizenship Education Longitudal Study to inform future policy.