The Citizenship Foundation is an independent education and participation charity that aims to encourage and enable individuals to engage in democratic society through citizenship education. Since 1989, they have developed invaluable resources and techniques to introduce students to their legal rights and responsibilities.
A good example of resources available for teachers is the OCR Citizenship Studies for GCSE by Tony Thorpe and Julie Nakhimoff. Details on how to obtain a copy can be found on the Citizenship Foundation’s website here.
More about the Citizenship Foundation's approach to citizenship education is below:
'Our focus is on providing the right education to help young people make their own decisions and take responsibility for their lives and communities'.
Elements of citizenship education
The Citizenship Foundation lists the essential elements of citizenship education saying that it involves a wide range of different elements of learning, including:
- Knowledge and understanding: About topics such as: laws and rules, the democratic process, the media, human rights, diversity, money and the economy, sustainable development and world as a global community; and about concepts such as democracy, justice, equality, freedom, authority and the rule of law;
- Skills and aptitudes: Critical thinking, analysing information, expressing opinions, taking part in discussions and debates, negotiating, conflict resolution and participating in community action;
- Values and dispositions: Respect for justice, democracy and the rule of law, openness, tolerance, courage to defend a point of view and a willingness to: listen to, work with and stand up for others.
Benefits for young people
Some of the things we learn in subjects like maths we won't be using in five years. But citizenship will be in our lives forever.
Student at Newent school in Gloucestershire at lobby to keep citizenship education on the curriculum.
- It helps them to develop self-confidence and successfully deal with significant life changes and challenges such as bullying and discrimination;
- It gives them a voice: in the life of their schools, in their communities and in society at large;
- It enables them to make a positive contribution by developing the expertise and experience needed to claim their rights and understand their responsibilities and preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life.
The Citizenship Foundation advises that the most effective form of learning in citizenship education is:
- active: emphasises learning by doing;
- interactive: uses discussion and debate;
- relevant: focuses on real-life issues facing young people and society;
- critical: encourages young people to think for themselves;
- collaborative: employs group work and co-operative learning;
- participative: gives young people a say in their own learning.
This text is based on Chapter One of the CPD handbook Making sense of citizenship .
Benefits to others
The Foundation adds that citizenship also brings benefits for schools, other educational organisations and for society at large.
For schools and other educational organisations, it helps to produce motivated and responsible learners, who relate positively to each other, to staff and to the surrounding community. For society it helps to create an active and responsible citizenry, willing to participate in the life of the nation and the wider world and play its part in the democratic process.
Studying citizenship in schools has been compulsory since 2002.
More about citizenship education
For those interested in citizenship resources, the British Library also provides some interactive citizenship resources.