Ofsted chief inspector of schools Chris Woodhead was not trying to veto proposals to introduce lessons and activities on citizenship, MPs were told yesterday.
Junior education minister Charles Clarke said the government would ensure citizenship has a key place in schools - drawing on the advice from the advisory group on education for citizenship and the teaching
of democracy in schools, chaired by Professor Bernard Crick - one of the groups in the current review of the national curriculum.
Andrew Rowe, Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent, who has promoted youth parliaments and other approaches to teaching citizenship, asked the minister to encourage the growing number of
schools that are taking seriously ideas from their pupils about the running of their schools and the works they can do in the community.
But shadow education secretary David Willetts declared: 'Is not citizenship just one of a range of new curriculum topics that ministers want to impose on schools? When will they stop? There are a host of them, including 'values' and 'environmental awareness'. When will the government stop their remorseless flow of instructions and directives to teachers and schools - what the secretary of state
has just called partnesrhip? Does not the minister understand that the 322 communications sent from his department to schools and LEAs last year represent and impossible burden which is distracting
teachers from delivering the national curriculum and raising standards in schools?'.