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8th Mar 2022 4:21pm News

Roundtable with Minister for School Standards

DfE Minister Robin Walker, hears young people's opinions on democratic participation.

Round table with Minister for School Standards

On 1 March 2022, ACT Chief Executive Liz Moorse, welcomed GCSE Citizenship Studies students, their teachers and Headteachers from schools across England to the first student led round table discussion with DfE Minister, Robin Walker.

Students from Leeds City Academy, Thomas Keble School (Stroud), Bradfield School (Sheffield), Altrincham Grammar School for Girls (Trafford), Perins School (Alresford near Winchester) and The Priory School (Southsea) met the Minister for School Standards to discuss the importance of Citizenship education, the links it has to increased democratic participation, and the opportunities students have for taking part in positive active citizenship on issues of concern to them.

Students engaged Minister Walker in a lively discussion on a number of pressing topical issues, such as the political engagement of young people, media literacy and sustainable citizenship and climate education.

Clearly taken with the passion and subject knowledge of students, the Minister stated:

One of my top priorities as School’s Minister for School Standards is for all young people to leave with the knowledge, skills and values that can prepare you to be active and responsible Citizens in modern Britain. A high quality Citizenship education provides an excellent pathway for schools to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society. I want to see all schools teaching Citizenship as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Robin Walker MP
Minister for School Standards

It was clear that the GCSE Citizenship Studies has allowed students to develop knowledge and understanding across a vast range of important, topical and relevant issues that the students cared about.

Students at Perins School, highlighted the knowledge they had developed in media literacy lessons and asked how the DfE will ensure that all young people know how to recognise and deal with conspiracy theories and inaccurate information. Meanwhile pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls spoke about their recent human rights lessons and the protection of rights at home and internationally during conflict. Students at Bradfield School asked the Minister about sustainability and climate education, and whether the new DfE Climate education strategy will ensure more young people learn about sustainable citizenship.

We are grateful to the headteachers and senior leaders present at the round table, as their support for the subject has been essential to ensuring high quality Citizenship education flourishes in their schools.

Ms. Mounder, Headteacher at Thomas Keble School, highlighted the importance of the academic rigour of the subject and its ability to make conceptual connections across the curriculum;

As a school leader, we really need to emphasise the value Citizenship brings to the school curriculum, in terms of balancing the academic rigour and the more holistic, perspective based education that we want for all our students.

The open and positive student-led discussion about the importance of Citizenship education is essential during a year when we are marking the 20th anniversary of the subject, and indeed since ACT was formed.

The Ministerial round table is one of many exciting events being held during our anniversary year, where we are talking about the subject and how we move forward in the future.