Teaching Citizenship?




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Peer reviewed



Citizenship appears to be one of the new buzz words, not just in education, but covering many aspects of our lives. Typing the word ‘citizenship’ into the Google search engine, for example, results in over 1.7 million pages being returned. Within the context of education, it is now a compulsory element in the English education system up to the GCSE level. Thereafter, it is an option, and the AQA Examination Board are introducing a full new ‘A’ level in the subject area from 2010, with the new A/S component starting from 2009. Further, citizenship is also taught at the tertiary level, with Surrey University offering a degree in the subject area. Added to this, any non-British nationals have to sit a citizenship test as part of the process in obtaining UK citizenship. Then there are the citizenship ceremonies, where foreign nationals receive awards for passing their British citizenship exams. Thus citizenship is a key element in our education system and beyond.

The problem is, how, if at all, can citizenship be ‘taught’? What is included in a citizenship syllabus? How does that which is taught in schools and colleges differ to that which is taught to immigrants seeking UK citizenship? There is a feeling that the whole concept of teaching citizenship is fundamentally flawed – and that is even before any thought goes into the assessment procedures. Despite this, the government appears willing to pump money into the teaching of citizenship at the primary and secondary level.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


Citizenship, curriculum, teaching


Jones, A. (2007) Teaching Citizenship? Teaching Public Administration, 27 (2), pp. 1-13


Research Institute

Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)