A new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy has launched, as almost three quarters of young people call for a Government and Politics GCSE to be added to the curriculum. Despite young people now constantly exposed to political content online and offline, more so than ever during this pandemic, their satisfaction with democracy is at an all time low [1]. To restore Britain’s falling trust in the Government [2], it’s vital that we all understand the country we live in, and the national curriculum is the best place to start.

The first ever All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy has launched, as almost three quarters of young people support the addition of a Government and Politics GCSE course to the National Curriculum. 

The group, created in partnership with political and media literacy platform Shout Out UK, meets for the first time today (19th January) and will work to ensure all young people become politically literate by the time they finish their secondary education. After a survey by Shout Out UK found that more than 70% of students would welcome the creation of a Government and Politics GCSE [3], the group aims to focus discussions between young people, teachers, civil society organisations and parliamentarians from both Houses around the idea.

More information about the APPG can be found here: shoutoutuk.org/appg-on-political-literacy

The APPG seeks to realise this goal by supporting a mandate to:

(a) provide every child with a minimum entitlement of political literacy in school by, in the first instance, resourcing and monitoring existing requirements to teach citizenship education (including the role of teacher training) at Key Stages 3 and 4 in England and through alternative routes in the other constituent nations of the UK.

(b) explore the potential for new and/or improved qualifications related to political literacy, including the possibility to enhance provision through a Government & Politics GCSE, EPQ, BTEC etc as examples.

(c) strengthen the profile of political literacy in schools by incentivising educational authorities and system leaders to raise the status of citizenship and political education in the curriculum, as well as driving the increased uptake of related qualifications within existing assessment and classification metrics.

(d) enhance and conduct research to provide evidence for the link between Political Literacy & democratic participation, as well as explore the best ways to deliver on the goal of ensuring all young people receive a political literacy education.

The pandemic has made the need for political and media literacy more urgent than ever: the percentage of people who say they are concerned about false or misleading information about coronavirus from the UK government was up by 11 percentage points to 38% from April to May [4] – a concerning litmus test for faith in our democracy. This APPG will seek to be the turning point that makes politics – and the ability to understand it – more accessible to everyone.

Shout Out UK (SOUK) is a multi-award winning education platform and creative social enterprise. Fusing education and tech with film production and animation ensures we create world-class programmes on Media & Political Literacy and high impact Democratic Engagement campaigns.

Simon Fell MP, Co-Chair and Registered Contact, said:

“There has never been a better time to be talking to young people about political engagement. We live in an era of  fake news and we need to fight back against that by giving young people the tools to be better and more informed. I’m delighted to be co-chairing the group from its launch and look forward to engaging with young people to hear their views on this important subject.”

Lord Iain McNicol or West Kilbride, Co-Chair commented:

“With the exponential growth of fake news circulating around the internet, political literacy has never been more vital. I’m excited to be part of this new initiative and to work alongside all political parties and civil society to foster understanding and develop tools to drive political literacy. Shout Out UK have started something we should all get behind.”

Matteo Bergamini, Founder and CEO, Shout Out UK added:

“I created Shout Out UK when I was 22-years old out of frustration that despite the UK being a democracy, most young people are not taught how our system works or how we can be involved. Our aim since then has been to ensure that everyone knows how our political system works through political literacy, regardless of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. With the support of some amazing politicians from across parties, we have managed to establish an APPG that will take us that little bit closer to fulfilling our mission.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the APPG on Political Literacy

Co-Chairs: Simon Fell MP, Lord Iain McNicol

Co-Vice-Chairs: Nickie Aiken MP, Cat Smith MP

Members: Lord Blunkett, Lord Bird, Ben Bradley, Caroline Lucas MP, Owen Thompson MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Layla Moran MP, Helen Hayes MP, Tracey Crouch, Tim Loughton MP, Flick Drummond MP, Phillip Dunne MP, Julie Marson MP, Lord Rennard, Andrew Bowie MP, Christian Wakeford MP, Lord Lansley

ENDS