Why do we teach Citizenship?
We teach Citizenship because it gives our pupils the knowledge and skills to understand and engage with society in modern Britain. We also recognise that we are global citizens and encourage moral and cultural understanding of the wider world.
We want our pupils to explore our democratic society, including politics, the media, the economy and the law. We help our pupils to recognise what it means to be an active and responsible citizen and to understand their rights and responsibilities. We encourage compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility and courage, and assist pupils in developing skills such as communication, teamwork, initiative and research skills.
Citizenship places British values at its core: democracy, tolerance, mutual respect, the rule of law, and individual liberty. We explore tolerance and mutual respect through discussion and exploration of aspects of citizenship such as diversity and discrimination. We recognise that we are global citizens, and that we can all have a positive (and negative) influence on issues such as the environment, human rights and the impact of the media. We encourage our pupils to interrogate the evidence, evaluate different viewpoints and present reasoned arguments.
We consider how to engage positively within the communities which we are part of, in particular our school and our local community. We facilitate pupils to consider the impact of their actions on these communities and how they can integrate and feel a sense of belonging. We hope pupils will broaden their horizons and consider a world which is bigger than their own.
At ACE we are trauma informed. This is embedded throughout our Citizenship provision, as we recognise that our young people often come to us with trauma and therefore a unique set of needs. Whilst we have timetabled Citizenship sessions and a scheme of work across all bases, the content is tailored to our individual pupils. We understand their triggers and know that some topics must be handled extremely sensitively and in the right moment. We use resources centred on Oak Academy at KS2 and KS3, leading to AQA GCSE Citizenship Studies in KS4. However, our pupils’ journeys through the content are rarely linear, and more frequently “jump” backwards and forwards, depending on their individual needs at any particular time.
At ACE, we recognise that learning in Citizenship often arises through an informal curriculum such as being part of charitable and community events, fundraising, and ad-hoc conversations such as a young person’s questions around the criminal justice system. All practitioners are trained to be able to respond appropriately and deal with questions sensitively and with accuracy as they arise. This is a key and important part of our Citizenship provision, as it ensures we address misconceptions and knowledge gaps. The way that our pupils conduct themselves will best show the impact of our Citizenship Curriculum. In particular, evidence can be presented through changes in behaviour, improvements in peer and adult relationships, as well as changes to values and aspirations. We aim to prepare every pupil to be able to manage real-life situations and apply their skills and attributes to help navigate themselves through modern life.