POLITICS: After Citizenship Lessons, Teenagers Mistrust Politicians

Article excerpt

After five years of compulsory citizenship lessons teenagers still mistrust politicians and political institutions and most do not support a political party, researchers said today.

Researchers have been following the first set of pupils to have the lessons since 2001.

The lessons were intended to address the "democratic deficit"- a lack of political participation - in British society.

But researchers said: "Should current student attitudes and intentions remain unchanged by Year 13 there is concern of a continued 'democratic deficit' within British society."

Now in Year 11 the young people interviewed have become less, not more, attached to their communities and feel less able to change the world around them.

Researchers noted a "considerable fall" in trust in police compared to the students' responses five years ago.

Girls, Asian pupils and those from wealthy homes had the most positive attitudes to civic participation.

But boys, white British and black pupils and those from deprived backgrounds had the least positive attitudes.

Despite this the study found that 16-yearolds do take the responsibility of voting seriously and have a strong sense of considerate behaviour in society.

They are not politically apathetic and increasingly aware of politics and current affairs.

The study will finish in 2010 and has been commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. …