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Citizenship teaching strategies build young people's resilience to extremism

Post date: 
Thu, 01/12/2016 - 01:00

The ACT Building Resilience Project is now live on our website. Materials include teaching resources and strategies, key findings and evidence of impact, and recommendations for teachers, school leaders and the government.

The ACT Building Resilience Project involved teachers in schools across England developing innovative Citizenship teaching strategies to build young people's criticality and resilience to extremism and being drawn into terrorism.

Key findings

  • Effective Citizenship teaching helps to build pupils’ resilience to extremism
  • Teachers need confidence, subject knowledge and the skills to plan and design teaching approaches
  • The local context in which young people live and learn is an important starting place for developing curriculum responses
  • Pupils felt knowledge is a form of resilience and valued lessons where they could critically engage with the issues of extremism and radicalisation.
  • Project development and focus
    Nine schools developed their own projects to reflect the local context and the teachers’ views about what kind of response would be most appropriate for their students:

  • Extremism and terrorism as reported in the media
  • Exploring issues of extremism and radicalisation through enquiry
  • Immigration and protest - a case study of the local area
  • Political ideologies
  • Community people
  • Exploring extremism
  • Misconceptions and extremism
  • Multimedia Citizenship teaching resources
    The ACT Building Resilience Project developed examples of effective practice to support schools nationally in creating their educational response to the Prevent duty.

    They include Citizenship teaching resources for Key Stage 3, with lesson plans and schemes of work, accompanied by short teacher films and case studies.
    The importance of confidence, subject knowledge and skills
    The teachers involved found the project challenging and used their skills as Citizenship teachers to develop appropriate pedagogies and approaches to teach these sensitive and controversial issues.

    "Developing a project that was based on, and responded to, our local context really stretched my expertise as a classroom practitioner. Not only was I wrestling with the big political issues which were present in the press, but also the local ones which affected families of the students in my care. It became clear very quickly that challenging the views of the media and homes of the students would take skill and management that other topics I had taught in the past did not..." Zoe Baker, Citizenship Teacher, Towers School & Sixth Form Centre, Kent.

    Evaluation and recommendations for teachers, school leaders and government
    A full evaluation was conducted by Middlesex University. The evidence gathered shows the impact of the project for pupils and teachers. The summary and full evaluation reports include a number of recommendations for teachers, school leaders and government.


  • The ACT Building Resilience Project drew on the principles set out in guidance from the Expert Subject Advisory Group for Citizenship and ACT: The Prevent Duty and Controversial Issues: creating a curriculum response through Citizenship.
  • All teachers involved in the project worked within their school's safeguarding policies.
  • The nine schools involved in the project include academies, comprehensives and voluntary aided schools in Ashford, Kent; Bradford; Coventry; Essex; Gerrards Cross; Heanor; Lewisham; Plymouth and Southsea.
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