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Citizenship Education provides an essential element in the socialisation process by helping young people to understand their society, contributing to it as informed, effective and responsible citizens. Learning to engage with others starts already in the early years.
Citizenship Education complements a broad range of school duties and goals: the promotion of emotional literacy, the duty to support community cohesion, the Every Child Matters framework and, the prevention of violent extremism, SEAL and more.
In primary Citizenship is usually taught together with PSHE. In primary it is helpful for children to be aware of the symbiotic relationship between the two subjects and the overlap between the personal and public elements of learning.
For example, bullying can be seen as a matter relating to interpersonal relationships, but it is also a rights issue and how the school community deals with it is, undoubtedly, an important Citizenship issue.
In Secondary this is different as the child has a more developed understanding of self and personal choice, versus society and public engagement.
For example, peer pressure and healthy living with regards to smoking falls into PSHE, whereas Citizenship covers issues such as public health - should tobacco be taxed? Should the state protect people from the harm caused by smoking through measures such as a minimum age for buying tobacco and a ban on smoking in public places?
Some primary schools may choose to timetable Citizenship as a discrete subject, many will opt for a joint programme with PSHE, many are also using a combined approach delivering Citizenship with History and Geography, others will teach Citizenship through project work, some of which might be timed to take place during a designated Citizenship Week, while others may integrate Citizenship with other identified subjects or activities across the curriculum.
For example, a school might decide to deal with particular Citizenship issues through the literature and themes selected as part of their approach to literacy for example.
There is no right and wrong approach to delivering Citizenship education - so long as it's done effectively. By using the Self Evaluation Tool you can figure out if your school's approach is succeeding and what you can do to tweek and improve your Citizenship and PSHE provision.
There is also lots of advice in the three sections below: