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It’s Nine Years Since Citizenship Became a Compulsory Subject in Schools

Tuesday 18th January 2011

The Guardian reports today that the education secretary, David Blunkett, who first made citizenship a compulsory subject in secondary schools, will tomorrow try to persuade the current government not to drop it from the curriculum.

Citizenship education runs across key stages 3 and 4, and is part of the non-statutory framework for primary schools. The citizenship curriculum has three main headings, democracy and justice, rights and responsibilities and identities and diversity, and aims to give pupils "the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in society".

More than half a million students have achieved either a GCSE or A-level in citizenship. Many legal and human rights groups including the Law Society, the Citizenship Foundation, the Public Legal Education Network, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights are supporting the campaign organized by Democratic Life.

Law is an integral part of the citizenship curriculum and helps students understand the current legal and justice system in a positive light. It does this by giving police, magistrates, prison officers and lawyers the opportunity to come into schools and engage directly with students. Other work also educates 11- to 16-year-olds about CPS decision-making and how the service can help them as young witnesses.

The argument for keeping citizenship as a compulsory subject in schools is very strong with many teachers and organizations supporting the fight to keep it.

Article source: The Guardian - Neil Rose is the editor of


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