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Citizenship: Education

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of training for teachers on the teaching of citizenship in the last three years; (275907)

(2) whether any recent assessment has been made of the consistency of the standard of citizenship education in schools;

(3) what steps have been taken to improve the teaching of citizenship in secondary schools following the finding by Ofsted in September 2006 that one in four secondary schools failed to offer pupils adequate citizenship teaching;

(4) what recent assessment he has made of the quality of teaching of citizenship in schools; and what steps he is taking to improve the standard of such teaching;

(5) what steps his Department has taken in response to the finding in the February 2005 Ofsted Report, Citizenship in Secondary Schools: Evidence from Ofsted Inspections that the provision of citizenship education was unsatisfactory in one in four schools.

The Government are committed to providing high quality training for teachers of citizenship.

In 2006, we introduced a nationally funded programme of continuing professional development for teachers, including a ‘Certificate in the Teaching of Citizenship’, which is available to all citizenship teachers.

The certificate is designed to help serving teachers improve their knowledge, skills and understanding of the citizenship curriculum Ofsted has recently evaluated the national CPD programme. Its report, published in February 2009 commented on the high quality of the training, but noted a shortfall in recruitment. We have appointed the university of Plymouth, a specialist provider of Citizenship education, to develop and promote improved take up of the programme better to meet the needs of teachers and schools.

Ofsted’s next report on Citizenship as a subject is due to be published in the autumn.

A three-year package of support for the effective implementation of the new secondary curriculum, including Citizenship, has been made available to all secondary schools from September 2008.

The Training and Development Agency TDA has designed a Self-Evaluation for providers of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. Information from providers’ self-evaluation, including those offering the Citizenship postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), is used to inform Ofsted inspections.

13 Higher Education Institutions provide secondary Citizenship ITT. 11 of these have been categorised as good or very good by Ofsted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what training is available for (a) primary and (b) secondary school teachers on the teaching of citizenship; (275908)

(2) what plans he has to encourage the recruitment of specialist trained citizenship teachers by secondary schools;

(3) what guidance his Department gives to local authorities on (a) the recruitment of specialist trained citizenship teachers by secondary schools and (b) specialist training for secondary school teachers in the teaching of citizenship.

Since the introduction of citizenship education in 2002, over 800 teachers have completed initial teacher training courses to become specialist citizenship teachers. We have maintained the number of places available for citizenship secondary initial teacher training, for 2009/10 academic year, despite the decline in the number of pupils in schools. In primary initial teacher training, Citizenship is addressed as part of the full spectrum of the primary curriculum. The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) also supports the quality of Citizenship ITT by providing access to specialist subject knowledge for ITT tutors, mentors and trainees.

The Department has funded, since 2006, the national Citizenship continuing professional development (CPD) programme designed to help teachers deepen and broaden their knowledge and confidence in delivering the citizenship curriculum effectively.

The TDA is also supporting the continuing professional development of citizenship teachers by enabling them to identify appropriate training and development. They are currently piloting a CPD database—designed to be a first port of call for anyone looking for CPD opportunities, from teachers and support staff to those who search for CPD on their behalf, such as CPD leaders and local authority coordinators.

The Department does not provide guidance on the recruitment or training of Citizenship teachers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps have been taken to ensure effective teaching of the Identity and Diversity: Living Together in the UK strand of citizenship education in all secondary schools. (275911)

We have strengthened citizenship education to ensure that young people explore their own identity and issues around diversity. Schools are encouraged to embed citizenship across the school and to integrate themes such as cultural diversity in all subjects. A three-year package of support for the effective implementation of the new secondary curriculum, including the new Identity and Diversity strand of the Citizenship curriculum, has been made available to all secondary schools from September 2008.

Last year, the Department supported a project to develop identity and diversity resources for schools to help them to develop this aspect of the curriculum by taking part in “Who Do We Think We Are” week. The week, which took place in June 2008, encouraged schools to help their pupils to explore shared values and what it means for different religions, cultures and ethnicities to live together in an inclusive British society. Around 500 schools across the country took part in the project and we are encouraging all schools, to participate in the “Who Do We Think We Are” week in June 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what guidance his Department provides to maintained faith schools on the teaching of citizenship; (275914)

(2) what proportion of maintained faith schools teach citizenship.

Citizenship is part of the statutory national curriculum for secondary schools. All maintained secondary schools, including maintained faith schools, are required to teach the issues set out in the key stage 3 and 4 programmes of study.

The Department does not provide guidance on teaching Citizenship, but the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) provides a range of guidance on all curriculum subjects, including Citizenship, to support schools.