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6th Jul 2018 2:43pm News

Young People, citizenship and democracy education take centre stage at National Conference

ACT helps organise a National Conference at London City Hall

Citizenship and Democracy education take centre stage at a major national teaching Conference this weekend (7 July).

The conference was hosted at City Hall in London and organised by the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT).

Students from Hamilton Academy in Leicestershire will open ACT’s national conference with a film they have made about why being taught Citizenship means so much to them, and join calls on the Secretary of State to take action to improve the status of the subject.

Conference participants are being welcomed to City Hall by the Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney. Guest speaker James Sloam from Royal Holloway, University of London, a youth citizenship expert, will share his work on ‘Youthquake: Young People and the 2017 General Election’.

Alongside the students and James, Nicky Cox MBE Founder and Editor-in-Chief of First News, UK’s only children’s newspaper, will add to the opening discussions with her thoughts on the need to develop critical media literacy through Citizenship and the power of young people as global, active citizens.
The ACT conference is timed to coincide with National Democracy Week (2-8 July) – a week-long celebration of Democracy with talks, activities and events happening across communities in England.

Participants are exploring very important teaching themes including young people and democracy, critical media literacy, fake news, British Values, student voice, political literacy, voting and youthquake – which all relate to the work of schools and teachers in building the knowledge and skills young people need to be knowledgeable, active, democratic citizens through Citizenship education.

This year 2018, is an important anniversary for Citizenship education being 20 years since the Crick Report led to the establishment of Citizenship as a new Curriculum subject in schools as part of the National Curriculum in secondary education and a non-statutory Citizenship Programme of Study for primary education.

The conference also marks 100 years since the extension of voting rights and the ongoing work needed to achieve full equality. Citizenship plays a central role in educating pupils about equality and democracy and later in the day an important speech will be given by Baroness Garden of Frognal, a Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords and our EqualiTeas event.

Liz Moorse, ACT’s Chief Executive says:

“Our conference in 2018 brings together new and experienced teachers, academics and many organsiations to share and learn from each other, to discuss the importance of democracy education today and to celebrate all that is good about Citizenship education.

In the last week alone we have seen government responses to two House of Lords Reports – both highlighting the essential role of Citizenship education in schools. We are keen to see a strategic and coherent plan from government both to support the invaluable work some teachers are doing, and to ensure more schools place high quality Citizenship education at the heart of their curriculum.”

The conference is in partnership with Parliament’s Education Service and supported by Kingston University, School of Education and Harris Federation ITE.


1. The Association for Citizenship Teaching is a membership organisation for all teachers and educators engaged in Citizenship education. It was founded in 2001 by Professor Bernard Crick following the introduction of Citizenship as a National Curriculum subject. Lord Blunkett of Brightside is the President of the Association.

2. Citizenship is a National Curriculum subject at key stages 3 and 4 and is a non-statutory subject in primary schools. There is a GCSE in Citizenship Studies offered by AQA, Edexcel and OCR awarding organisations

3. ACT is an EqualiTeas partner. EqualiTeas is organised by Parliament to promote events that encourage debate and celebration of our equal democratic right to vote

4. The government response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic engagement – ‘The Ties that bind’ has been published here.

5. The government response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Polling and Digital Media has been published here.

In partnership with UK Parliament Education Service


Supported by Kingston University School of Education and Harris Federation ITE

ACT is an EqualiTeas Partner