Schools ‘Not Teaching Citizenship’

A quarter of schools are failing to teach children about the workings of British democracy and their rights and responsibilities as citizens, inspectors have warned. Ofsted judged 25% of schools inspected in the past year “inadequate” for the quality of their lessons in citizenship. Government ministers believe citizenship classes, which may in future be required to cover core “British values”, will help reduce extremism and violence among young people.

But despite citizenship being compulsory since 2002, some schools in England hardly teach the subject at all, according to the watchdog’s latest report.

Ofsted’s director of education Miriam Rosen called for urgent improvements to the quality of teaching.

She said: “Citizenship is still seen as the poor relation of more established subjects but it requires teachers to be highly skilled and able to deal with contentious and sometimes difficult issues.

“Urgent attention is needed to make sure it is a central part of the school curriculum and ethos.”

Many teachers who run citizenship classes are not specialists in the subject, Ofsted said. And there is widespread misunderstanding in schools over what is required.

A “minority” of schools have worked hard to make citizenship a key part of the curriculum.

“Others, also a minority, have done very little,” the report said.