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
'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
'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.