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ACTive Citizenship Award Scheme

The ACTive Citizenship Award Scheme 

  • An award scheme to celebrate and acknowledge positive social changes children are making in their communities through active citizenship 
  • A toolkit to support, engage and empower children to become change makers, and to lead action on real issues they are concerned and passionate about; and curriculum guidance for teachers
  • A news report for First News, so pupils can report and share the changes they are making

What is active citizenship?
Active citizenship is a process to involve pupils in learning how to take part in democracy and use their Citizenship knowledge, skills and understanding to work together in trying to make a positive difference in the world around them. 

Download ACT's one page Citizenship Curriculum Framework which outlines the key knowledge, concepts and skills that can be developed through active citizenship projects.

How do schools take part in the Award Scheme?
The awards are based around three areas: learning, school culture and community.

To achieve an award, pupils design, develop, undertake and report on an active citizenship project within one of these areas – the project can be on any issue that they care strongly about and want to challenge, change or improve.

Pupils achieve an award for each project they do; if they achieve awards for all three areas, they and their school will be recognised with an ACTive Citizenship Ambassador award.

View case studies to see what kinds of action pupils have taken.


Sustainability theme for 2021/22

In the year the UK hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in the city of Glasgow, we are introducing a sustainability theme to the Award Scheme. We have the aim of encouraging more pupils to undertake action that addresses the issue of climate change and enabling them to recognise these skills will go on to help them have a positive impact on their futures. We have several resources, with help from partners, that can support the introduction of sustainability issues, develop active citizenship skills and give teachers ideas of actions that could be taken by your pupils to make a change. 


Ready to submit for the award? Here is what to do

Register for ACTive Citizenship CPD and support

“At ACT we are very excited about collaborating with First News to develop the First News ACTive Citizenship Awards. Our ambition is that through high quality Citizenship education in the curriculum, every child will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to make sense of the world around them, to have a say in decisions that affect them and to play a full part in our democracy as active and responsible citizens, now and in the future.This Award is designed to support teachers and children in taking positive action on a range of issues which they choose and they really care about. The best Citizenship education empowers children and enables them to really understand and experience what it means to be an active citizen who is prepared to speak out, challenge inequality and make a positive difference in their communities and the wider world!”

Liz Moorse, Chief Executive, Association for Citizenship Teaching

“Every week in First News, we report both on issues that will affect the future for young people and on the amazing actions children around the UK are currently contributing to their community – locally, nationally and globally. We are launching the First News ACTive Citizenship Awards as we feel it is timely to promote and celebrate young people’s ability to make positive changes in the world they are growing up in. With our partnership with ACT, we also want to recognise the very important contribution schools currently make, and to help more teachers to develop and value this vital aspect of the curriculum.

We feel it is essential that the voice of young people in our society is heard, and that we support the next generation to understand the role of a free press in democracy by reporting accurately on the issues that our local and global communities are facing. We look forward to reporting the news stories of the changes that pupils make, on issues that matter to them, as they achieve their ACTive Citizenship Awards.”

 Nicky Cox MBE, Founder and Editor in Chief, First News


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