Headlines: September 25th, 1998

A new report recommends the teaching of effective citizenship in schools as a way of delivering a generation of people who take moral and social responsibility, get involved in community life, and are politically aware.Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has given a warm welcome to the report of the Advisory Group on Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools. The cross-party group included politicians like the Rt. Hon Betty Boothroyd, Lord Baker, former education secretary, and people from outside politics like ITN Political Editor Michael Brunson, and the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir Stephen Tumim.

Mr Blunkett said: “Education for citizenship is vital to revive and sustain an active democratic society in the new century. We cannot leave it to chance. It is a key part of the curriculum throughout Europe and in countries like the USA, Australia and Canada. Linking rights and responsibilities and emphasising socially acceptable behaviour to others underpins the development of active citizenship.

“The Group’s recommendations will make a major contribution to the review of the National Curriculum.The report highlights examples of current good practice.

At a primary school in Birmingham, a class of 7 year old pupils wrote to the city council to complain about the litter, graffiti and broken play equipment in their local park and suggested how they could help to put it right. The council worked with the children to make improvements. A new Residents Association was set up as a result and they now help to care for the park.