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National Curriculum

Citizenship, personal development and Every Child Matters

Personal development is a vital part of the key stage 4 curriculum and citizenship has a distinctive contribution to make in this area. The citizenship programmes of study provide opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that support personal development through the five Every Child Matters outcomes.

Enjoy and achieve

Students enjoy being able to tackle real and topical issues of concern and they value participation in decision-making. They relish the opportunities to work with others for change through lobbying and campaigning for those in power to review or change decisions.

Students are motivated to take part in debates and to find out about more about local and global issues of concern. They enjoy using ICT or media such as film, drama and art to present and express their ideas to others. Students value the ways in which citizenship helps them to develop their ability to communicate effectively. This helps students to achieve not only in the subject but also across the curriculum and in the world beyond.

Be healthy

Citizenship encourages students to be open about their own ideas and concerns about issues and challenges facing society. They learn to respect views that are different from their own, to voice their opinions, to challenge discrimination or injustice and to do something constructive about their concerns.

Participation increases students’ sense of wellbeing and gives them a sense of purpose. They feel empowered to try to change things in their communities or to take action that contributes to the wellbeing of others. Celebration of all types of participation is important to ensure that students feel that their contribution is valued and appreciated, even when the outcome is not as successful as desired.

Citizenship provides opportunities for students to learn about the politics of everyday life. For example, they may investigate how local spending decisions affect resources for health or education in their community; consider whether decisions that determine medical treatment availability are fair and equitable across the nation; or explore the role of the UN in an international conflict or human rights situation. Developing knowledge and understanding of issues of this kind helps students to make informed and responsible decisions about their own lives and to consider how their own choices and actions can affect others.

Stay safe

Citizenship gives students the confidence to ask questions, rather than taking things at face value. Through researching a wide range of political and social problems, students develop the skills to evaluate the validity of what they are told, to identify bias, to compose informed opinions and to make responsible decisions.

Citizenship provides a safe environment in which to explore controversial issues, situations and dilemmas. For example, students learn ground rules for handling sensitive discussions, and become aware of how to use ICT safely as they research or consult on issues.

Some topics in citizenship explore specific aspects of safety and risk-taking. For example, when learning about the law, crime and the criminal justice system students examine the consequences of different courses of action and their impact on individuals, communities, society and the environment.

Students are given opportunities to work in a range of situations where there are difficult choices to make; perhaps where rights and responsibilities compete or conflict, or where there are risks of harm or discrimination. Learners become practised in using skills to weigh evidence and to make informed decisions. Students learn how to seek appropriate help and advice, and how to reduce risks for themselves and for others, when working in the wider community.

Achieve economic wellbeing

Citizenship plays a central role in contributing to young people’s long-term economic wellbeing by developing skills and attributes that are essential for any job. Citizenship encourages students to ask questions; to be resourceful and enterprising in finding creative solutions to problems; to plan and prepare to put their views and ideas across for maximum effect; to negotiate; to influence others; to take effective action; to make decisions; and to work effectively and cooperatively in groups and teams. All these skills and attributes are valued by employers.

Citizenship provides opportunities for students to learn about the economic dimensions of political and social decisions, and about the impact of those decisions on individuals and communities locally, nationally, in Europe and in the wider world. Students explore the difficult choices that governments (local and national) encounter when determining taxation and public spending priorities, and when endeavouring to secure value for money.

Students learn about the law relating to employment and to consumer rights and responsibilities. Students examine the impact of spending choices on individuals, groups and communities, including the global community. They also examine the role they can play in contributing to a healthy economy.

Make a positive contribution

Citizenship equips students to play an active, informed and critical role as responsible citizens in public life. Citizenship provides many opportunities to get involved and contribute positively in addressing real issues and problems facing individuals and communities.  Students work with others to try to have influence, make change or resist unwanted change.

Through different forms of individual and collective action, students develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to participate effectively, responsibly and democratically in society. Courses of action take many forms, from raising awareness, through lobbying or campaigning on issues, to training others in democratic processes or skills. Citizenship helps students to learn about ways in which individuals, groups and organisations can influence decision-making through action. Students develop skills of critical thinking, informed action, advocacy and representation. Students learn evaluative and reflective skills that enable them to consider the impact of their actions and the actions of others.

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