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13th Oct 2021 3:13pm News

ACT Celebrates 20 years of Leading Education for Citizenship

For twenty years ACT has been the expert in creating, evolving and championing Citizenship education in UK shores and overseas.

ACT Celebrates 20 years of Leading Education for Citizenship

From November, the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) will be celebrating two decades of supporting teachers to provide high quality citizenship education. 

Through the provision of expert advice, training and resources we have helped thousands of UK teachers to develop effective learning programmes that engage children and young people and help them grow as knowledgeable, active and productive citizens.

Our vision is more important today than ever. We work with teachers across the country so that all young people can benefit from high quality citizenship education and develop the political knowledge, skills and experience to participate in and shape a strong and vibrant democracy. – Liz Moorse, Chief Executive.

To support the landmark 20th anniversary year, ACT will be running a series of public events, sharing some of the most popular citizenship lessons from teachers of the past twenty years and coordinating specialist conferences – like the Sustainable Citizenship Conference between 3-5 November 2021. Keep an eye on our website and Twitter account for more information about our timetable of events so you can get involved.

How did citizenship education begin?

Politicians from all parties, teachers and young people campaigned for a long time to get citizenship education included as a subject in the national curriculum. In 1997 Professor Sir Bernard Crick was asked to chair an Advisory Group on ‘Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools’ by the then Secretary of State for Education, David Blunkett MP. The Group’s report, often referred to as the ‘Crick report’ recommended that citizenship should become a statutory national curriculum subject. This recommendation was accepted in full and there continues to be cross-party political support for the subject today.

The inclusion of citizenship as a compulsory subject for Key Stage 3 and 4 in England started in 2002, but in order to prepare teachers a new subject association was needed. This saw the creation of ACT in 2001 to provide specialist training, publications and resources to teach the newly written citizenship programmes of study and to promote high quality citizenship provision in schools.

What are ACT’s goals today?

Our work to support teachers is led by teachers and we are focused on four strategic priorities:

  • to build capacity so that more teachers become knowledgeable, confident teachers of citizenship;
  • to support and improve the quality of citizenship provision in more schools and colleges;
  • to increase the pool of citizenship education expertise; and
  • to secure greater public understanding and policy support for citizenship education.

The need for education for effective citizenship is vital if we are to collectively tackle the challenges we face in society and to create a more inclusive democracy. Issues such as climate change, race equality, global migration and the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories highlight the relevance of the subject and the need for future generations to have the skills and knowledge to address complex and sensitive issues.

We are delighted to use our 20th anniversary year as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of citizenship and democracy education. We are excited to celebrate the best practice from our national network of committed and talented teachers. We are grateful to our members, supporters and funders who support us in securing a better citizenship education for all. We remain energised by the challenge to create a more inclusive democracy with a citizenry equipped to use their political literacy and agency to support greater equality, fairness and justice in society. – Liz Moorse, Chief Executive.

For more information about our forthcoming programme of events throughout the year go to our events page or browse our membership offers.