Citizenship through Secondary History

By James Arthur; Ian Davies et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Citizenship education and educational policy making

Introduction

Citizenship education has never been far from the top of the political and educational agenda in England. This chapter concentrates on the latest policy review of citizenship education, that undertaken by the Advisory Group on Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools (QCA, 1998). This review has led to a historic shift in educational policy making in this area. As a result of the work of the Advisory Group, citizenship is to be included, for the first time ever, as an explicit part of the school curriculum. It is a new foundation subject for pupils aged 11 to 16, from August 2002, and part of a non-statutory framework alongside personal, social and health education (PSHE) for pupils age 5 to 11 from August 2000 (DfEE/QCA, 1999a, 1999b). This chapter sets out to explain how this historic shift has come about. It begins by outlining a number of lessons from past policy approaches to citizenship education in England. These were absorbed by the Citizenship Advisory Group and had a major influence on the shape of its terms of reference, membership and working practices. The chapter goes on to explore the main debates about citizenship education within the Advisory Group and their impact on its definition of and recommendations for citizenship education. It then sets the work of the group within the wider frame of current educational policy. Finally, key challenges are identified which need to be tackled if the latest policy proposals for citizenship education are to lead to effective practice in schools and elsewhere. A number of these challenges raise questions about the potential for stronger links between history and citizenship education.


Citizenship education: lessons from past policy approaches

The history of approaches by policy makers to educating for citizenship in England is well documented (Batho, 1990; Brown, 1991; Heater, 1990, 1991; Kerr, 1999, 1999a; Oliver and Heater, 1994; Annette, 1997). There are a number of lessons that emerge from these past approaches, and it is important to understand them because they have had a major influence on the latest attempt by policy makers to review citizenship education. That attempt has been made by the Advisory Group on Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools (hereafter referred to as the Citizenship Advisory

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