How do we pay for them? These are among the citizenship issues for
young people addressed in a new schools initiative, including an
interactive website, launched by treasury chief secretary Paul
'The Red Box' teaching pack and website will help pupils to
understand the role of public services and the priorities and choices
involved, with the opportunity to set their own budgets and balance
demands on public spending in an imaginative exercise in community
It will stimulate interest and discussion of what young people
believe is important in their own communities while delivering
components of the citizenship and personal and social education
curriculum, and developing literacy and numeracy skills in a real
Welcoming the initiative, Mr Boateng said:
'This is an excellent informative and entertaining package which will
help young people understand the choices that we are required to make
in order to provide schools, hospitals, roads and other public
'Understanding crucial public service issues and the decisions that
have to be taken are central to democracy and citizenship.
'As adults, we all have to consider these questions and their impact
on the quality of life for our families and communities. 'The Red
Box' initiative will help young people prepare in the classroom to
deal with the issues when they leave it.
'It is essential that we help our children to become informed,
thoughtful and responsible members of society, aware of their duties
as well as their rights. That is why citizenship is now being taught
as part of the national curriculum. This pack is intended to give
teachers another resource to help them teach it effectively.'
Named after the chancellor's famous Budget Box, 'The Red Box'
initiative will help school pupils aged between 7 and 16 years to
understand the importance of public services and the funding of
It comprises: an interactive website; a budget box pack containing: a
48-page pack for teachers; worksheets for classroom use; case studies
and background information; classroom posters; and 'Jack's Guide To
Life', a video that looks at public services in a series of scenarios
involving 15-year old Jack and his family.
The pack has been designed for educational use throughout the UK,
primarily for teaching citizenship-related subjects, but it also
supports the teaching of literacy and numeracy and information and
'The Red Box' was developed jointly by the Treasury, Inland Revenue
and Customs & Excise, working with educational consultants. During
its development, Paul Boateng hosted a workshop at No. 11 Downing
Street where a class of primary school children from a north London
school tested the materials and suggested their own ideas to make
sure that 'The Red Box' reflects their classroom needs.
Inland Revenue chairman Nick Montagu said:
'People pay taxes as their contribution to the UK's needs. Taxpaying
is a vital element in citizenship. So I am delighted that we are
providing this pack for schools: I hope it will stimulate young
people to think about the relationship between taxes and providing
the public goods that a civilised society requires.'
Customs and Excise chairman Richard Broadbent said :
'The schoolchildren of today are the citizens of tomorrow, and
Customs and Excise are pleased to be part of this valuable initiative
to improve understanding of vital citizenship issues. 'The Red Box'
is an excellent opportunity for agencies at the forefront of the
public sector to give pupils an insight into the workings of the
sector in an informative, interactive and fun way.'
1. 'The Red Box' was developed in conjunction with citizenship
experts and teachers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland. Citizenship and Personal and Social Education (PSE) is
taught throughout the UK, in varying forms; the pack has been
designed to be applicable to all the national curricula and includes
an at-a-glance reference for teachers showing the areas of the
relevant curriculum it supports. In addition to citizenship and
related subjects the pack can be used in teaching numeracy, literacy
and information and communication technology and the teachers' notes
provide guidance on this.
2. The website www.redbox.gov.ukoffers users the opportunity to run
'The Square', an animated series of mostly public buildings and
services that cost a minimum amount to maintain. Players aim to raise
the money for it by collecting information on revenue and budget
issues and answering questions as they tour The Square. Each correct
answer raises funds for these public services, while additional money
can be made by completing interactive games. Users can then see the
effect their decisions have on public services in, e.g. health,
education, the arts.
3. The Treasury, the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise were assisted
in the development of the initiative by Educational Communications
(Edcoms), a leading educational consultancy which develops and
manages sponsored educational programmes for commercial, government
and charitable organizations. Following pilot trials, almost half UK
secondary schools - around 3000 - have placed orders for 'The Red