In light of the House of Lords’ recent report and the subsequent government response; young people, educators and youth groups, led by the APPG on Democratic Participation and the Political Literacy Oversight Group (PLOG), will be gathering in Parliament to discuss the future of Citizenship Education.


DATE / TIME & LOCATION:

18:00 – 19:45 BST Wednesday 18th July 2018
CPA Room, Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament. London. W1A 0AA

Currently, we assume that once we hit 18 years of age we suddenly become enlightened with all the political knowledge one needs to vote and engage. This is, of course, not the case. Political knowledge needs to be taught and understood in school. We view English and Maths with very high regard, often as two of the most important subjects. However, the one subject that gives us a voice and creates a society we wish to live in, is often overlooked.

With ‘YouthQuake’, the surge in youth engagement, not just in voting, but in democratic activities from protesting to campaigning is undeniable. The time couldn’t be better to review Citizenship education in schools and make sure it gives us, the next generation, the tools we need to create a society we wish to live in.

Citizenship education is tasked with giving us and future citizens, the tools needed to engage in our democracy. Without such education, our own democracy can seem alien and disengaging. It is the key to participation.

Landmark House of Lords Committee report titled ‘The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century’ said:

‘Education should help young people become active citizens once they understand their role within society and how they can go about improving it. Too often individuals are prevented from engaging because they lack the skills or knowledge required’.

With this in mind, a coalition of organisations including; Bite The Ballot, Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) and Shout Out UK, as well as a team of academics and young people will be meeting on the 18th of July 2018, at 6pm, to discuss how we collectively can strengthen Citizenship education so that its teachers are given the resources needed to ensure the next generation is armed with the tools to mould British democracy for the benefit of its citizens. After all, what is a democracy without fully engaged and empowered citizens?

Quotes:

‘Never before have the British people been asked so frequently to take decisions, with monumental consequences, about the way we should be governed and the very constitution of our political system. Yet these choices are taking place against a backdrop of declining civic engagement and inadequate support for our schools to develop the political capital of future citizens. The recent Lord’s report was a milestone in recognising, articulating and unpicking this problem. Reflecting on the report’s recommendations, this event will, crucially, bring together those with most to gain and those with the power to grant it. This dialogue and debate is necessary if we’re going to see proper citizenship education in our schools and better levels of political literacy in society more broadly’.

James Weinberg (The Sir Bernard Crick Centre; University of Sheffield)

‘Citizenship education is in many respects the first time many young people are introduced to politics. We need to make sure it is as impactful and as meaningful as possible. The current gaps in knowledge of many young people demonstrates that civic education is currently below par, and hopefully the Lords report and this event will go some way in addressing this, to ensure we raise a generation of confident, knowledgeable voters’.

Merve Gunduz, APPG Secretariat, Bite The Ballot

‘Government must re-prioritise the subject, creating a statutory entitlement to citizenship education from primary to the end of secondary education, and set a target which will allow every secondary school to have at least one trained teacher’.

Lord Blunkett of Brightside, President, Association for Citizenship Teaching.

‘It is important for young people to be involved in politics as it is young people that will inhabit the world that policies and politicians shape — to not be interested is to silence your voice in the future of your own livelihood’.

Alex Cochrane, 15, Wallington County Grammar School & Shout Out UK writer.


About APPG on Democratic Participation

Formed in 2015, the APPG on Democratic Participation aims to serve as a platform to inspire increased civic participation and innovation. Since our formation, we have effectively influenced 4 pieces of public policy. We hope that the organisation of this event will help to bring forward the necessary changes for increased civic participation, and a more representative democracy.

About the Political Literacy Oversight Group (PLOG)

The Political Literacy Oversight Group exists to promote higher levels of political literacy amongst the general population, and among young people in particular. As a non-partisan critical friend to government departments or parliamentary select committees, the Group is able to provide the breadth and depth of expertise to sustain and advance best practice in the fields of citizenship education and political literacy. The Group plays a facilitative role for organisations and individuals already working in this space, and as such draws upon a far-reaching network of experts.

List of members:

  • Mike Sani, Bite The Ballot
  • James Weinberg, Sir Bernard Crick Centre
  • Matteo Bergamini, Shout Out UK
  • Liz Moorse, Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT)
  • Harriet Andrews, The Politics Project
  • Tom Franklin, Young Citizens
  • Titus Alexander, Democracy Matters
  • Sarah Mills, Loughborough University
  • James Sloam, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Andrew Mycock, University of Huddersfield
  • Avril Keating, UCL