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Young people are citizens in their own right. They may not all be old enough to vote in general elections or sit on juries, but in almost every other way they have the same rights and duties as older citizens. They have a legitimate stake in society and are entitled to have a say in how it is run.
Citizenship education aims to provide opportunities for young people to develop the expertise and experience needed to use their rights, understand and put into practise their responsibilities and have an influence on what goes on in their communities, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life.
Citizenship education is not about trying to fit everyone into the same mould – creating the ‘model’ or ‘good’ citizen. Citizenship Education is education for citizenship – that is, education which aims to help young people learn how to become active, informed and responsible citizens. Citizenship education encourages young people to take an interest in topical and controversial issues and to engage in discussion and debate. It equips pupils to engage critically with and explore diverse ideas, beliefs, cultures, identities and shared values. It offers opportunities for pupils to become active citizens through participation and responsible action, with young people learning how to play an active role in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and wider society as active and global citizens.
The nature of Citizenship is such that Citizenship lessons are contemporary and interactive. Citizenship is a rich, relevant and engaging subject, and this is part of its attraction. Its aim is to empower citizens, and it is this ‘pro-active’ element that makes Citizenship’s focus, content and approach to learning distinctive.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do all pupils take Citizenship?
Citizenship has been a statutory part of the National Curriculum since 2002, meaning that schools have a statutory responsibility to teach the programme of study for Citizenship at key stages 3 and 4. It is, therefore, a compulsory subject.
At Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Citizenship is taught as a discrete, timetabled subject, year 7, 8 & 9 have two lessons a cycle taught alongside PSHE. Year 10 & Year 11 have one lesson per cycle. We have a full course GCSE Citizenship class. As well as being delivered through the school’s taught curriculum, Citizenship learning also takes place through the culture and ethos of the school and through its links with the wider community. As such, there is a vast range of events and extra-curricular activities taking place in Altrincham Grammar School for Girls throughout the academic year that ensure that pupil entitlement is delivered whilst offering opportunities for pupils to opt into Citizenship-related activities and events.
2. Is there a Citizenship GCSE?
The school offers a Full Course GCSE 9-1 Citizenship course as an option subject. The pupils will follow the Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Full Course in Citizenship Studies which is a dynamic and challenging course. The cohort undertake two examinations. These papers include essay questions, source analysis and an application of real life situations. One examination includes answering questions about their active citizenship projects. The attraction of the active citizenship projects is that it involves the pupils working in a group and enquiring into a citizenship issue of their choice, participating in action and evaluating the impact of their activity.
3. What is the difference between Citizenship and PSHE?
PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education and at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Citizenship is taught alongside PSHE at key stage 3 and 4.Citizenship is distinguished from PSHE by its focus and content. PSHE focuses on personal and inter-personal decision-making, while Citizenship deals with public policy. PSHE concerns pupils’ choices as private individuals, Citizenship with their choices as citizens – e.g. applying for a job is a personal issue, the minimum wage is a citizenship one; drinking is a personal issue, the law on alcohol use is a citizenship one. There is a central core of learning – factual and conceptual – not addressed in other school subjects and therefore unique to Citizenship. Furthermore, Citizenship takes a distinctive approach to learning through its emphasis on active involvement; pupils are given opportunities in Citizenship both to develop their learning and to put it into practice in ‘real life’ situations.
4. Why has Citizenship been introduced to the National Curriculum?
The principle justification for Citizenship education derives from the nature of democracy. Democracies need active, informed and responsible citizens – Citizenship equips young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in public life, at local, national and international levels.
Citizenship both underpins and promotes the aims of the curriculum itself, which recognises the role of education in influencing and reflecting the values of society. The curriculum aims to enable all young people to become successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve as confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives, and become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. Citizenship education is education for citizenship – that is, education which aims to help young people learn how to become active, informed and responsible citizens. More specifically, it aims to prepare them for life as citizens of a democracy.
The Citizenship curriculum targets the development of social and moral responsibility, community involvement, and political literacy. The Educational Reform Act of 1988 describes a balanced and broadly based curriculum as one that promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. The Citizenship department operates within the aims of the school to encourage personal development in its fullest sense, and has significant contributions to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
In summary, Citizenship is a relevant and dynamic subject which equips the young person with the skills necessary for making sense of the world and their role in it.
Opportunities are provided both within and outside the taught curriculum for pupils to contribute to the life of the school community and beyond. There are many examples of active-Citizenship available to pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, including Young Enterprise, Charity Committee, Comenius Project, Sponsored Walk, Year 11 Prefects, Year 11 Buddies, Year 12 and 13 Peer Mentors, to name but a few.
The following activities directly promote Citizenship-in-action. They are on-going activities and are overseen by the Citizenship Head of Department.
School Council is made up of two representatives of each form and allows our pupils to have a say in how the school is run. Within the year group councils pupils allocate roles and work on a focus given by the Miss Mitchell, however often ideas develop and new focuses occur throughout the year. We have a School Council Exec led by our Head Girls and Year 12 reps. The School Council exec brings together two members of each year group to ensure that whole school deliberation takes place. The Exec regularly meets with senior leadership and communicates with the wider community.
Here are some of the things last year’s school council reps achieved:
|You Say:||We Did:|
|The library needs more varied books.||We organised Fandom Day to raise money for lots of new books.|
|The buddy system, implemented this year needs a few tweaks.||Reformed and developed new resources to be used by form tutors next year. Trained up the year 7s to use this resource as they will be buddies next year.|
|We want to celebrate other countries and international days.||Created form time activities to engage year 9 students in international learning days.|
|We want awards for all subjects, not just sports||We brought in a new awards assembly, creating awards for best in subject and most improved for all subjects across the school.|
|How can we bring our school community closer together||We have actively posted on the student voice page engaging the school and wider community in aspects of school life.|
|We want to give students a chance to feedback on changes they want to see around school.||
We created a student voice questionnaire to find out what you think.
|We need an outlet to speak to the canteen staff about food in the canteen.||
We created a food focus group for students to feedback directly to the canteen staff.
Every year, girls from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls stand for election in the UK Youth Parliament. This process starts in December with awareness-raising assemblies, after which girls will put their names forward as candidates. This is a project that is run outside of school but it is something that is promoted in school. If girls want to stand, and want to be supported by the school, then they must make sure they follow school procedures. Electronic voting takes place in January and the ICT department arranges and supervises the voting procedure.
Model United Nations
Model United Nations is a dynamic group of students who are interested in International Relations. They form groups who research specific countries and find out their role in the Global Community and within the United Nations. The groups then enter competitions and debate specific global issues with one another. The hope is to enter local and national competitions by the end of this year. Come and join us if you are good at debating and want to learn more about how the world works.
Oxfam Youth Action Group
Youth Action Group is for our KS3 students, it allows them to participate actively in society and consider global issues that they are passionate about. Pupils work on campaigns to raise awareness within the school of such issues via various campaign methods such as teaching lessons, and engaging the school with the local community using the bookmark appeal.
Citizenship News update and Learning Library
The Citizenship room, room 13 is open at break times for pupils to use the Citizenship learning library. Here you can read newspapers and take out some of the specialist Citizenship books to learn more about this diverse subject.
Are you interested in reading the news, keep the News board up to date by bringing in articles that are of interest to you. Each year has a different focus, find your focus below:
Year 7 – Local news
Year 8 – national news
Year 9 – International news
Year 10 – comparison between newspapers
Year 11 – analysis of an article