Citizenship is a relatively new area of the National Curriculum, and was included in the curriculum of all secondary schools from September 2002 onwards. A fundamental aim of the subject is developing politically literate, active and informed citizens.
The aim is for children should develop as successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. The Citizenship curriculum is based on key concepts (democracy, justice, rights and responsibilities, identities and diversity) that children need to understand and key processes and skills (critical thinking and enquiry, advocacy and representation, taking informed and responsible action) they need to develop. The National Curriculum for citizenship sets out teaching requirements that address a wide range of content including politics, parliament and government, the operation of the legal system, how the economy functions, the role of the media, human rights, Europe and international relations. Teachers use topical political and social issues to bring citizenship content to life and to help pupils develop key citizenship skills of research, discussion and debate, as well as to represent the views of others, think critically, evaluate and reflect. The Citizenship curriculum aims to develop student’s ability to participate in communities and wider society as informed, critical and responsible citizens. The purpose of “active citizenship” is to teach students to work together and take practical action, using their Citizenship knowledge and understanding to contribute to a better society. For example, after learning about human rights, diversity and inequality, students might decide to set up a project to address racism in football. Other examples of active Citizenship projects include starting recycling programmes, setting up student action groups to address bullying or promote fair trade or campaigning to lower the voting age to 16.
Our Citizenship Curriculum is supported by our Co-ordinator of PSHEE, Miss Rushton who incorporates many aspects of citizenship into the Respect Days for students. The manner in which our curriculum at St. Joseph’s has been organised means that citizenship has been incorporated into the schemes of work of many subjects, including Religious Studies, Physical Education, History, English and the Creative Curriculum.
In Year 7 students have a Citizenship Day at the start of their journey at St. Joseph’s, to learn more about the community they have joined. Year 7 students also have an Evidence Day, which is a chance to learn about issues of police and justice.