Social and moral responsibility is one of the three themes at the heart of citizenship. Potentially it is the most controversial. In the minds of some it is an opportunity for teachers to preach on behalf of themselves or the Government. But it is arguably the most important, informing both "political literacy" and "community activity", the other two strands.
The Citizenship Foundation lobbied hard for a moral dimension. "If you strip out morality from political life, what are you left with? A dry discussion of the constitutional framework without any issues," says the foundation's Don Rowe. "Any account of public policy will have a moral element to it."
The Crick committee, which established the official citizenship guidelines, was partly motivated by the young people's lack of interest in formal politics. But the members also recognised that a return to the dry "civics" approach to constitutional understanding favoured in the Fifties was unlikely to arouse much enthusiasm.
"Social and moral responsibility is not about preaching," says Rowe. "It's helping kids use moral language and moral ideas - about the reasons why we might want certain situations to change and what directions we could take them. …