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Despite wide support for the introduction of National Curriculum ...
Despite wide support for the introduction of National Curriculum

citizenship, many schools need to do more to ensure effective

planning and implementation of the subject, says a report published

by the Office for Standards in Education today.

A significant proportion of the 25 schools inspected for the report

National Curriculum citizenship: planning and implementation 2002/03

have not understood the full implications of citizenship as a

National Curriculum subject, and this has resulted in an often

low-key response to the citizenship initiative.

Implementation has generally been most effective when a strong lead

from senior management has given the subject the necessary status and

profile. However, despite the two years' notice before citizenship

was made a statutory subject in September 2002, many of the schools

in this sample have not done enough to incorporate citizenship

development into policy and planning.

Inspectors found that schools have been most successful in developing

National Curriculum citizenship where they have regarded it as

something new, even though parts of their existing curricula may have

already promoted good citizenship. However, many schools confused

National Curriculum citizenship with the 'cross-curricular themes and

dimensions' approach of the early 1990s, or with a general use of the

word 'citizenship' to summarise their aspirations and ethos.

The citizenship curriculum is well developed in a minority of

schools. There is also some very good teaching, although overall the

quality varies widely.

Publishing the report, chief inspector of schools David

Bell said:

'There is a wide consensus in schools, in parliament and the wider

community that citizenship is a positive addition to the National

Curriculum. While this support was generally evident in the schools

we visited, some are not clear about the aims of this subject and its

place in the curriculum. As a re sult, many schools have not planned

and implemented the introduction of this subject as well as they

might have.

'It is important to note that we were inspecting a small sample of

schools at a very early stage of a major initiative, so it was

encouraging to find examples of good practice and plans with

considerable potential. However, the report identifies issues that

must be addressed if schools are to meet National Curriculum

requirements while equipping their pupils to play an active part in

our democracy and community.'

Among the main findings in the report, inspectors noted that:

- management of the introduction of citizenship was unsatisfactory in

over half of the schools visited;

- in most cases, citizenship has been set mainly within existing

personal, social and health education (PSHE) programmes. Generally,

this arrangement is proving unsatisfactory;

- sensible decisions have been made about the leadership of

citizenship in about half of the sample of schools;

- the citizenship curriculum is well developed in one in five


- most schools have provided key staff with training opportunities

but some training has been ill-informed or had little effect;

- standards in citizenship are too often unsatisfactory and written

work is generally weaker than it should be.

The inspectors recommend that schools address a number of issues,


- considering whether they have properly recognised and understood

National Curriculum citizenship and its aims;

- establishing a clear definition of citizenship and recognising what

distinguishes it from PSHE and other subjects;

- ensuring they put in place a broad, coherent and progressive

curriculum with scope for work in depth;

- addressing how they will assess and report on pupils' progress in


- establishing high standards for citizenship comparable with those

in other subjects.


1. The report, National Curriculum citizenship: planning and

implementation 2002/03, ref HMI 1606, is published on the Ofsted website.

2. This report is based on visits by Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI)

to 25 schools in the autumn term of 2002 and the spring term of 2003,

to evaluate provision of citizenship as a statutory National

Curriculum subject. HMI evaluated the management of the subject's

introduction, as well as the citizenship curriculum and its

assessment. Where possible, they also made judgements on standards,

achievement and the quality of teaching.

3. National Curriculum citizenship became a statutory subject in Key

Stages 3 and 4 from September 2000. It is made up of three

inter-related strands, 'knowledge and understanding about being

informed citizens', 'enquiry and communication', and 'participation

and responsible action'. It includes topics such as legal and human

rights and responsibilities, the diversity of identities in the

United Kingdom, central and local government, the electoral system

and voting, the work of voluntary groups, the media, the world as a

global community and topical issues.

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