The Citizenship Department
Citizenship (CZ) helps equip students to play a full part in public life and in the democratic process. It gives students the ability to engage critically with challenging questions facing society today and to take action on political and social issues. Students consider complex problems and learn to speak out for themselves and others in order to express their point of view. They work both independently and collaboratively to plan and undertake action to try to make a difference in their communities and in society.
A central purpose of CZ is to develop understanding of the ways in which citizens can participate in decisions that shape the communities in which they live. CZ provides a range of opportunities to increase students’ confidence and participation. Students are encouraged to think and act for themselves, and to relate to and work with others. They build an understanding of their own identities and begin to appreciate that identities are both complex and changing within our diverse society.
CZ provides the opportunity for students to explore and express their ideas and opinions and to challenge those with which they do not agree. Students have opportunities to present to and communicate with real audiences, both in school and in the wider community. Regular participation in group discussions and in community-based action develops students’ confidence in dealing with a range of real and complex issues and problems. Students work in groups and teams, trying out different courses of action and ideas to address issues or to achieve agreed objectives. They take collective responsibility for completing projects, and they reflect on their activities in order to improve the quality of their work. CZ helps to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of both life and work. It encourages students to think about their role in society and in the wider world, and about how their decisions and actions can make a difference. Students engage with a wide range of political, social and ethical dilemmas that affect individuals, communities and the environment. They think about issues in new and critical ways and are willing to challenge ideas, policies, behaviours and actions with which they disagree.
The aims of CZ
To enable students to:
- try to make a difference to the lives of others
- contribute to decision-making
- learn to respect the differences between people
- learn to engage positively with different views, including those with which they may not agree
- develop an understanding of how different views are formed and influenced
- become involved in bringing about change to policy or practice
- to be informed, active, responsible members of society
The content of the programme for CZ
- political, legal and human rights and freedoms in a range of contexts from local to global
- the roles and operation of civil and criminal law and the justice system
- how laws are made and shaped by people and processes, including the work of parliament, government and the courts
- the actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond
- the operation of parliamentary democracy within the UK and of other forms of government, both democratic and non-democratic, beyond the UK
- the development of, and struggle for, different kinds of rights and freedoms (speech, opinion, association and the vote) in the UK
- how information is used in public debate and policy formation, including information from the media and from pressure and interest groups
- the impact and consequences of individual and collective actions on communities, including the work of the voluntary sector
- policies and practices for sustainable development and their impact on the environment
- the economy in relation to citizenship, including decisions about the collection and allocation of public money
- the rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees
- the origins and implications of diversity and the changing nature of society in the UK, including the perspectives and values that are shared or common, and the impact of migration and integration on identities, groups and communities
- the UK’s role in the world, including in Europe, the European Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations
- the challenges facing the global community, including international disagreements and conflict, and debates about inequalities, sustainability and use of the world’s resources.
Key Stage 3 - CZ is taught across the curriculum including Thinking Skills lessons in Year 7.
Key Stage 4 – CZ is taught across the curriculum and as a discrete subject in Year 10 following their RE GCSE.
The programme is monitored and updated by the CZ co-ordinator in conjunction with CZ teachers and Heads of Department.
All aspects of school life develop students’ understanding of citizenship including:
- Assemblies – students attend two assemblies each week
- Thought for the day – each day begins with one minute’s silent reflection
- Lunch time and after school clubs
- Exchanges and visits
- A programme of visiting speakers.
- School Council
- Charities Committee
- Mock elections
- Mock Trial Competitions
The assessment of CZ
Students are assessed at the end of Key Stage 3
The school's CZ programme engenders in students a sense of responsibility for themselves and for others. Students research issues affecting local, national and global communities. They explore challenging questions about the use of world resources, sustainability, inequalities, human rights and international conflict. Students consider what is fair and reasonable, discriminatory or unjust, and learn about cultures and ideas that are different from their own. Lessons develop students’ understanding of what it means to be informed, active and responsible citizens. Students are encouraged to participate in school and community based activities and to reflect on the process of participation.