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Young people are citizens in their own right. They may not all be old enough to vote in general elections or sit on juries, but in almost every other way they have the same rights and duties as older citizens. They have a legitimate stake in society and are entitled to have a say in how it is run.
Citizenship education aims to provide opportunities for young people to develop the expertise and experience needed to use their rights, understand and put into practise their responsibilities and have an influence on what goes on in their communities, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life.
Citizenship education is not about trying to fit everyone into the same mould â€“ creating the â€˜modelâ€™ or â€˜goodâ€™ citizen. Citizenship Education is education for citizenship â€“ that is, education which aims to help young people learn how to become active, informed and responsible citizens. Citizenship education encourages young people to take an interest in topical and controversial issues and to engage in discussion and debate. It equips pupils to engage critically with and explore diverse ideas, beliefs, cultures, identities and shared values. It offers opportunities for pupils to become active citizens through participation and responsible action, with young people learning how to play an active role in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and wider society as active and global citizens.
The nature of Citizenship is such that Citizenship lessons are contemporary and interactive. Citizenship is a rich, relevant and engaging subject, and this is part of its attraction. Its aim is to empower citizens, and it is this â€˜pro-activeâ€™ element that makes Citizenshipâ€™s focus, content and approach to learning distinctive.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do all pupils take Citizenship?
Citizenship has been a statutory part of the National Curriculum since 2002, meaning that schools have a statutory responsibility to teach the programme of study for Citizenship at key stages 3 and 4. It is, therefore, a compulsory subject.
At Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Citizenship is taught as a discrete, timetabled subject, year 7, 8 & 9 have two lessons a cycle taught alongside PSHE. Year 10 & Year 11 have one lesson per cycle. We have a full course GCSE Citizenship class. As well as being delivered through the schoolâ€™s taught curriculum, Citizenship learning also takes place through the culture and ethos of the school and through its links with the wider community. As such, there is a vast range of events and extra-curricular activities taking place in Altrincham Grammar School for Girls throughout the academic year that ensure that pupil entitlement is delivered whilst offering opportunities for pupils to opt into Citizenship-related activities and events.
2. Is there a Citizenship GCSE?
The school offers a Full Course GCSE Citizenship course as an option subject. The pupils will follow the Edexcel GCSE Full Course in Citizenship Studies which is a dynamic and challenging course. Year 11 are currently completing the old specification in which they sit two examinations that count towards 40% of their final grade. The remaining 60% is completed via two controlled assessments. The current year 10 students are starting the new specification in which they undertake two examinations. One examination includes answering questions about their active citizenship projects. The attraction of the controlled assessment or active citizenship projectsÂ is that it involves the pupils working in a group and enquiring into a citizenship issue of their choice, participating in action and evaluating the impact of their activity.
3. What is the difference between Citizenship and PSHE?
PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education and at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Citizenship is taught alongside PSHE at key stage 3 and 4.Citizenship is distinguished from PSHE by its focus and content. PSHE focuses on personal and inter-personal decision-making, while Citizenship deals with public policy. PSHE concerns pupilsâ€™ choices as private individuals, Citizenship with their choices as citizens â€“ e.g. applying for a job is a personal issue, the minimum wage is a citizenship one; drinking is a personal issue, the law on alcohol use is a citizenship one. There is a central core of learning â€“ factual and conceptual â€“ not addressed in other school subjects and therefore unique to Citizenship. Furthermore, Citizenship takes a distinctive approach to learning through its emphasis on active involvement; pupils are given opportunities in Citizenship both to develop their learning and to put it into practice in â€˜real lifeâ€™ situations.
4. Why has Citizenship been introduced to the National Curriculum?
The principle justification for Citizenship education derives from the nature of democracy. Democracies need active, informed and responsible citizens â€“ Citizenship equips young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in public life, at local, national and international levels.
Citizenship both underpins and promotes the aims of the curriculum itself, which recognises the role of education in influencing and reflecting the values of society. The curriculum aims to enable all young people to become successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve as confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives, and become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. Citizenship education is education for citizenship â€“ that is, education which aims to help young people learn how to become active, informed and responsible citizens. More specifically, it aims to prepare them for life as citizens of a democracy.
The Citizenship curriculum targets the development of social and moral responsibility, community involvement, and political literacy. The Educational Reform Act of 1988 describes a balanced and broadly based curriculum as one that promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. The Citizenship department operates within the aims of the school to encourage personal development in its fullest sense, and has significant contributions to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
In summary, Citizenship is a relevant and dynamic subject which equips the young person with the skills necessary for making sense of the world and their role in it.
Opportunities are provided both within and outside the taught curriculum for pupils to contribute to the life of the school community and beyond. There are many examples of active-Citizenship available to pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, including Young Enterprise, Charity Committee, Comenius Project, Sponsored Walk, Year 11 Prefects, Year 11 Buddies, Year 12 and 13 Peer Mentors, to name but a few.
The following activities directly promote Citizenship-in-action. They are on-going activities and are overseen by the Citizenship Head of Department.
School Council is made up of two representatives of each form and allows our pupils to have a say in how the school is run. Within the year group councils pupils allocate roles and work on a focus given by the Mrs. Bowyer, however often ideas develop and new focuses occur throughout the year. We have a School Council Exec led by our Head Girls and Year 12 reps. The School Council exec brings together two members of each year group to ensure that whole school deliberation takes place. The Exec regularly meets with senior leadership and communicates with the wider community.
Here are some of the things last yearâ€™s school council reps achieved:
|You Say:||We Did:|
|We need more up to date books and resources in the library||Ran a book sale to raise money for the library|
|We need some money to raise funds for things around school||Organised a dress up day for year 7 & 8 to raise over Â£400 for school. This is being put towards helping improve stocks in the library|
|We would like a say as to what happens in the canteen||Whole school feedback was given to the canteen about foods, things people thought were good and things that could be improved. We are hoping to launch a food focus group this year|
|The homework diary layout needs changing||Some changes have been made to the diary to ensure that there is an area for students to write a to do list|
|The medical room needs updating||Year 9 are continuing to work with the well-being ambassadors to redecorate and improve the medical room and make it into a well-being room, a space for people to have some space|
|Nobody reads the code of conduct||We rewrote the code of conduct and made them way more pupil friendly|
|The school council twitter page doesnâ€™t get used||We have included more regular posts to keep students informed about what we are up to|
|People said the songs in assembly needed updating||New songs, suggested by school council, are to be learnt this year in assembly|
|There is no platform for students to share what they have done||We have actively posted on the student voice page engaging the school and wider community in aspects of school life|
|What do we stand for as a school?||Conducted a whole school values project which has culminated in the creation of AGGS school values. These will be shared and taken for staff to feedback at the beginning of the new academic year|
Every year, girls from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls stand for election in the UK Youth Parliament. This process starts in December with awareness-raising assemblies, after which girls will put their names forward as candidates. This is a project that is run outside of school but it is something that is promoted in school. If girls want to stand, and want to be supported by the school, then they must make sure they follow school procedures. Electronic voting takes place in January and the ICT department arranges and supervises the voting procedure.
Model United Nations
Model United Nations is a dynamic group of students who are interested in International Relations. They form groups who research specific countries and find out their role in the Global Community and within the United Nations. The groups then enter competitions and debate specific global issues with one another. The hope is to enter local and national competitions by the end of this year. Come and join us if you are good at debating and want to learn more about how the world works.
Oxfam Youth Action Group
Youth Action Group is for our KS3 students, it allows them to participate actively in society and consider global issues that they are passionate about. Pupils work on campaigns to raise awareness within the school of such issues via various campaign methods such as teaching lessons, and engaging the school with the local community using the bookmark appeal.
Citizenship News update and Learning Library
The Citizenship room, room 13 is open at break times for pupils to use the Citizenship learning library. Here you can read newspapers and take out some of the specialist Citizenship books to learn more about this diverse subject.
Are you interested in reading the news, keep the News board up to date by bringing in articles that are of interest to you. Each year has a different focus, find your focus below:
Year 7 â€“ Local news
Year 8 â€“ national news
Year 9 â€“ International news
Year 10 â€“ comparison between newspapers
Year 11 â€“ analysis of an article