Citizenship through Secondary History

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

Chapter 3

Securing a place for citizenship education in the history department

We should like to see a fundamental review of the place of the humanities and social sciences within the curriculum. We believe it to be entirely unsatisfactory that significant elements of citizenship education should be relegated to second class status and left to the mercy of an individual school's curriculum policy.

(Citizenship Foundation, quoted in National Commission on Education 1993)

The many calls for improved attention to be given to citizenship education have now been met, at least to some extent. It is a source of immense professional satisfaction that citizenship education is a National Curriculum subject in Key Stages 3 and 4 from the beginning of the academic year in 2002. The purpose of this chapter is to relate the detailed official guidance that has been provided for the history teacher. By promoting an awareness of the specifics of the guidance for teachers and by stressing some general ways in which departments can act, it is intended that a secure relationship will come to exist between history and citizenship. This chapter provides a brief sketch of policy-related details for the teacher that were not covered in Chapter 1 and suggests departmental strategies that are more focused than those given in Chapter 2. Once clarification has been achieved about locating citizenship within the history department, it will be possible, in the chapters that follow, to provide the guidance needed to tackle specific areas of citizenship.

Of course, this clarification for the purpose of anchoring citizenship is necessary. Some discussion has already been undertaken in this book about the contested nature of citizenship. Beyond these fundamental debates (that are both conceptual and practical) there are issues to do with the appropriate development of a strategy for educational change. The sensible and, some might argue, necessary approach that means that schools should 'choose how they organise their school curriculum to include the programmes of study for citizenship'(DfEE/QCA 1999b, p. 6) highlights the need for proactive, informed and skilful teachers who will develop appropriate frameworks and strategies. The challenges for history teachers are significant. History teachers will have particular responsibilities contained in the History Order for this area. History teachers may even lead the introduction of citizenship education in many schools: this means they will be required to provide a balanced view of citizenship education within their teaching. In

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