The learning and teaching methods of citizenship PSHE education | Education Dissertation

This project addresses the problems that are currently being encountered with regard to the delivery of citizenship and PHSE within UK schools. To give emergent themes context – an historical review of their academic treatment is presented. This is broadened by considering the United States delivery of these subjects to determine whether the UK can learn anything from the American experience.

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Documentary analysis and interview schedules are the research methods used to analyse secondary sources and generate primary data. A number of conclusions are drawn – namely these subjects must be linked to current issues (e.g. AIDS/HIV, global citizenship etc) of the day – to ensure that their content and delivery remain relevant to the needs of young people. Recommendations for a more flexible approach regarding the delivery and assessment of these subjects are made at the end of the study.

1.1 What Does “Citizenship” Mean?

Before it is possible to critically review and evaluate th eeffectiveness of the learning and teaching methods that are used to deliver citizenship and PHSE, it is necessary to begin by analysing their rationale and curricular content. In other words what are these subjects about and what are the benefits that pupils gain by studying them? Answering this question will provide a framework within which it can be determined whethercurrent academic practices are satisfying the aims and objectives ofthese subjects.

Citizenship is a concept that can have a myriad of meanings andinterpretations. There is no universally agreed definition. Models of citizenship vary from country to country. The concept is continuously contested by political parties, academics and pressure groups. Despite the many interpretations of the concept that exist, all notions of citizenship imply to a greater or lesser degree, membership of apolitical community that is internally defined by rights, duties, participation and identity. The term “Active Citizenship” is widely used, but again there is no single accepted definition. The phrase is open to interpretation.

From an educational perspective when there is no universally accepteddefinition of a concept, it makes it extremely difficult to transform such a subject into a meaningful learning experience for young people. In other words there are no “hard and fast” rules which can be appliedby teachers. When a concept has a clear and universally accepteddefinition, it provides the means by which to breakdown the subject into manageable chunks of learning. Thus students become skilled and knowledgeable when applying each component to a given set of circumstances.

For example, in Business Studies, if you wish to measure the financialperformance of a company, it is possible to apply a number ofuniversally accepted accounting ratios. This forms a set of“standards”, which are quantifiable and which can be applied in a constant manner to a variety of different situations over a period of time. When it is possible to apply clearly defined and universally accepted standards to a subject or a concept – it becomes relativelyeasy to teach and learn.

When a student understands how each component of a subject works, it isthen possible to interlink these areas and increase the complexity oflearning activities. Thus over time the student will master each stage(i.e. knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis,evaluation) of the cognitive learning domain (, Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains).Students will have a holistic view of the subject content and willunderstand how the constituent components interlink.

Given that citizenship does not have a universally accepted definition; is it possible to develop a set of “standards”, which can be constantly applied? Citizenship poses serious problems for educationalists interms of its definition and delivery as a subject to young people throughout the UK. What are the statutory requirements for teaching citizenship? It is a statutory subject at key stages 3 and 4. Apartfrom the absence of an eight-level scale of achievement, it is treatedexactly the same as other foundation subjects in the National Curriculum. Schools are required to establish high standards for citizenship that are comparable with standards in other subjects (

1.2 What Are The Similarities Between Citizenship And PHSE?

Both subjects are similar in their emphasis on values and attitudes,and in their concern to empower young people to act effectively andwith self-confidence. They are also similar in some of the themes they explore; such drug abuse and equal opportunities – and their emphasison active learning techniques like role play and discussion. What distinguishes the two concepts are their focus and content. PHSE focuses on personal and inter-personal decision making, whilecitizenship education deals with “public policy”. PHSE is concernedwith students’ choices as private individuals, the other with their rights as citizens.

For example, a typical PSHE lesson on smoking deals withlegal rights and responsibilities, whereas a citizenship lesson focuseson the cost to society – exploring issues such as legislation onsmoking in public places or tobacco advertising. Thus citizenship canbe viewed as the global or societal perspective on key issues e.g.smoking etc. PHSE, on the other hand, concentrates on the needs, expectations and responsibilities of the individual.

1.3 Why Is It Necessary To Investigate The Teaching And Learning Methods Of Citizenship and PSHE?

In 2004 the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) published areport (PSHE 2002/3 annual report on curriculum and assessment, QCA,March 2004) on the delivery of PSHE within schools in England. In thesummary of key findings it was noted that in some schools, there wasconfusion about what the differences and similarities between PSHE andcitizenship. Also even when schools had allocated a significant amount of curriculum time to the delivery of their PSHE programmes, it was rare for the assessment of pupils’ progress and achievement to take place. Ever since the National Curriculum was launched in 1988 there have been major concerns over the time available to deliver all of the core subjects (e.g. English, Mathematics etc). The introduction of new subjects (i.e. Citizenship in September 2002) places an even greater pressure on school timetables, teaching staff and resources.

The major problems may be summarised as follows:

a. As explained in section 1.1 there is no universally accepted definition of citizenship.
b. There is confusion over the similarities and differences between citizenship and PSHE.
c. The lack of quantifiable assessment strategies makes it verydifficult to evaluate the benefits pupils gain from the delivery ofthese subjects.
d. Severe timetable constraints and a lack of appropriately trainedteaching staff are hindering the effective development and delivery ofthese areas.

Therefore, the objectives of this project are as follows:

a. To critically evaluate and review the learning and teachingmethods which are currently being used to deliver citizenship and PSHEin order to determine whether pupils are benefiting from thesestrategies.
b. To identify examples of good practice and analyse whether they can be applied elsewhere.
c. To analyse how these subjects and their interrelationship willdevelop in the future and determine how learning and teaching methodswill need to change in order to satisfy the new requirements.

2.1 The Teaching of Citizenship in UK Schools – A Historical Perspective

The teaching of citizenship in UK schools has a long and problematicalhistory. Since the beginning of the twentieth century it has undergonea number of transformations. Up to the outbreak of the First World War,the purpose of citizenship education was to generate a sense ofnational cohesion, loyalty and obligation to the nature, as well as asense of pride in the Empire (Oliver and Heater, 1994). The secondphase of citizenship in education witnessed the rise of a more directapproach. That is, the systematic training of young people in deferenceand moral behaviour. Schools were encouraged to promote and cultivatethe “simple virtues of humility, service, restraint and respect forpersonality” (Ministry of Education, 1949, p.41), in their pupils.

The 1960s brought a new emphasis regarding the delivery of citizenshipin schools. Notably that young people needed to become more politicallyaware and more active in their participation of social issues. A morerecent development (1990) witnessed the introduction of citizenshipinto the National Curriculum as a cross-curricular theme. Suchcross-curricular themes have suffered a chequered history and remain atthe margins of school timetables with the main thrust of deliveryconcentrating on core subjects and other academic considerations.

This historical perspective of citizenship provides an insight into theproblems the subject has faced because of its poor definition andineffectual delivery. To rectify this situation a government proposalsought to “establish more explicit and coherent provision in the areasof personal, social and health education and citizenship” (DfEE, 1999,p. 1). The proposal aimed to introduce a framework across all keystages for personal, social and health education and citizenship.Furthermore, this development established “a coherent nationalframework which gives schools flexibility to develop their ownapproaches.” (DfEE, 1999, p. 13).

Whilst this approach raised the profile of citizenship and sought toestablish it as an integral part of the National Curriculum, it createda number of problems. How exactly was it going to fit into a schooltimetable? As outlined earlier, in section 1.3, there have beennumerous problems with the National Curriculum, since its launch in1988. In 1999, there were yet again a number of government initiativesto reduce the prescriptive nature of the National Curriculum andprovide schools with greater flexibility. On the whole these changeslike previous initiatives only resulted in cosmetic changes.

The other major problem with the new version of citizenship lay withthe delivery. Who exactly was going to teach this subject? It wasproposed that the knowledge required to teach the subject could begained from the core of an initial teacher training degree orpostgraduate certificate in education. Teachers already delivering PSHEcould acquire the knowledge and skills required to deliver citizenshipthrough continuous professional development.

Having analysed the teaching of citizenship within the UK in terms ofthe current situation and from an historical perspective, it isnecessary to explore how this issue is dealt with by other countries.This will provide the opportunity to compare and contrast the UKexperience with other nations and determine whether there are anylessons to be learnt. In other words are there examples of goodpractice overseas? If so, is it transferable to schools in the UK?

2.2 The Teaching of Citizenship in the United States

In the United States education for citizenship has been a longstanding goal of schools. To achieve this goal, students must learntheir civil rights and responsibilities in a free society. In 1991 JohnJ Patrick provided a review of why this was necessary and outlined howit could be achieved. Five key points, which are outlined below, formedthe basis of this review.

a. The importance of teaching about the responsibilities of citizenship
b. Deficiencies in learning about responsible citizenship
c. How to improve learning about responsible citizenship at home
d. How to improve learning about responsible citizenship at school
e. Where to obtain information and materials about how to teach responsible citizenship

The rationale for teaching citizenship was based upon the premise thatthe preservation of civil rights and liberties is linked to theperformance of responsibilities. Thus the responsibilities ofcitizenship – such as voluntary service to the community, participationin the political system etc – were essential to ensure the maintenanceof civil rights and liberties. However, reports on civic learning bythe National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), indicated thatthe majority of students in the 12th grade had a very limited knowledgeof government and citizenship in the United States. Furthermore, halfof the students in the 12th grade failed to demonstrate the knowledgeneeded for responsible participation in the political system.

Thus in 1991 there was a clear need to improve the learning of youngAmericans about their responsibilities as citizens in a moderndemocracy. In effect Patrick was advocating a holistic approach to theteaching of citizenship within American schools. That is, young peopleneeded to become actively involved in every aspect of American life.Consequently he provided a list of organisations where materials couldbe obtained in order to aid the delivery of this subject. For example,the American Bar Association which operated a Special Committee onYouth Education for Citizenship, the Constitutional Rights Foundation,Council for the Advancement of Citizenship, the Social ScienceEducation Consortium and so on.

The approach actively promoted by Patrick failed to have the desiredeffect. In 1991 the NAEP reported poor levels of attainment amongst12th graders with regard to citizenship and its related areas. Theresults of the 1998 NAEP civics examination completed by a sample of4th, 8th and 12th grade students across the United States showed thatstudents were not proficient in the skills that enable citizens to usetheir civic knowledge. The NAEP 2001 History Report Card results alsoshowed a similar lack of proficiency.

President Bush launched a number of initiatives in 2003 to improve theawareness of citizenship and associated areas among young peoplethroughout the United States. Some of these initiatives are highlightedbelow:

• Idea of American Essay Contest: High School juniors nationwide areinvited to submit a 1,200 word essay on the “Idea of America” andreceive awards.
• “Heroes of History” Lecture: An annual lecture that features anacclaimed scholar telling the story of a hero in American life. Theselectures are made available to school libraries throughout the UnitedStates.

President Bush participated in Pledge Across America, a nationwidepatriotic observation that invited every school child in America toparticipate in a simultaneous pledge of allegiance at 2pm EasternDaylight Time. The pledge was observed on the 215th anniversary of theUnited States Constitution, the conclusion of the first-ever NationalCivic Participation Week, and the beginning of Constitution Week(Source:

2.3 What Can We Learn From The Americans With Regard To Teaching Citizenship?

The analysis of the American experience raises a number ofinteresting points. Notably the American educational authorities viathe National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are activelyengaged in measuring students’ attainment with regard to theirknowledge and understanding of citizenship issues. As noted the resultson the whole have been poor. In the UK citizenship is taught throughoutall of the Key Stages of the National Curriculum.

However, in Key Stages 1 and 2, there is no requirement for the formalassessment of pupils’ knowledge and understanding of citizenship issues( Progress in this subject issummarised in each pupil’s annual school report. In Key Stage 3, thereis an end-of-stage assessment. Whilst in Key Stage 4 there is nostatutory requirement for assessment. Three short courses are availablei.e. GCSE Citizenship Studies. The AQA (Assessment and QualificationsAlliance) version of this qualification requires students to undertakea 1.5 hour examination and complete a project.

Should the UK adopt the United States assessment model? It wouldprovide the opportunity to quantify each pupil’s level of knowledge andunderstanding of citizenship issues throughout each Key Stage of theNational Curriculum. Such an approach would provide data which could beanalysed to determine the effectiveness of the teaching and learningstrategies that are currently deployed to deliver citizenship within UKschools. However, such a proposal would be met with stiff resistancefrom a variety of sources (i.e. teachers, parents, educationalistsetc). It is already considered in many quarters that school children inthe UK are already over assessed.

Also it is interesting to note that the American model of citizenshipis radically different from the British version. The informationprovided about the American experience includes such phrases as “Heroesof History”. The British equivalent would mean portraying the likes ofHoratio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington as “heroes”. Thus theAmerican model concentrates heavily on patriotism (e.g. Pledge AcrossAmerica) and herein lays a broader issue. The United States isuniversally criticised throughout the world for being too insular, tooselfish and is not perceived as accepting its global responsibility tothe non-American citizens of the world. The American version ofcitizenship does not seem to recognise the word “global”.

2.4 The Future of Citizenship – Beyond National Boundaries

The European Union has been in existence for nearly 50 years. However,until very recently, education remained untouched by the gradualmovement towards the pan European state. Curricula development andcontent were protected by each member-state. Since the advent of theMaastricht Treaty, the EU has developed and funded a number ofeducational initiatives to promote the concept of a “European superstate”; largely it must be said, without success. The Commission’sattempts to “Europeanise” education remained largely ineffective,mostly confined to the recognition of diplomas, vocational educationand the exchange of language teaching programmes (Soysal, 2001).

However, a closer look at the way “Europe”, “nation” and “citizenship”are being represented in school books and curricula, particularly inthe disciplines of history and civics – reveals another kind of“Europeanisation process” – that is, how European identity is likely toemerge and of significance to this project – how it will be taught inEuropean schools. This process is happening through highly active andinformal networks – largely unmonitored by formal EU institutions.Teachers’ unions and associations, academics and scientific experts,advocacy groups etc – are busy networking, arranging conferences etc –on “teaching Europe”.

Perhaps the most significant development in this process is thedisappearance of the “nation state” – historical events are now retoldwithin a European perspective and a not within a nationalisticstraightjacket. National identities locate their legitimacy in deeplyrooted histories, cultures or territories. But Europe is notpast-oriented: it is future orientated. What does this mean for theteaching of citizenship in schools throughout Europe? It has long beenrecognised that these problems can only be resolved by nations actingas one. This is why the United States receives a lot of criticism, asit constantly failed to sign up to international agreements on carbonemissions etc. Thus the “Europeanisation process” is merely a steppingstone towards the creation of “global citizenship”.

Learning for global citizenship is about understanding the need totackle injustice and inequality, and having the desire and ability towork effectively to do so: this is referred to as Action Competence(Jensen and Schnak, 1994). An example of a resource that provides aframework for learner-centred delivery would be Get Global! This iswhere pupils are involved in every aspect of their own educationalexperience. The Oxford Schools Catalogue contains a wide range ofmaterials published by Oxfam and others, focused on learning for GlobalCitizenship (

2.5 A Brief History of Sex Education in UK Schools

In England from the late 19th century, a number of sex educationpublications were produced, mainly aimed at helping parents toenlighten their children. The Second World War had a huge impact on thepopulation of Europe. Fresh emphasis in sex education was placed onpreventing syphilis and gonorrhoea. In the 1950s and 1960s sexeducation in schools was carried out through the descriptions of thereproductive habits of plants and animals. By the beginning of the1970s, school sex education was beginning to change significantly. Forexample, methods of contraception began to be more widely taught.

The 1980s witnesses further developments in sex education. The rise offeminist-thinking led to an increase in the number of programmes thatencouraged pupils to examine the roles played by men and women. Sexeducation programmes began to have such aims as the acquisition ofskills for decision-making, communicating, personal relationships,parenting and coping strategies. HIV and AIDS became a health issue inthe UK just when sex education became a political football. A number ofsituations arose – the 1985 Gillick case, which focused on whetherparents always have the right to know if their children are beingissued with contraceptives when under the age of 16 – the growingstrength of the lesbian and gay movement, lead to the polarisation ofviews on sex education, among politicians at local and national level.

Thus sex education, as was with citizenship, has become politicallycontroversial. Recent school sex education programmes have variedconsiderably in their aims. At one extreme (rarely found in the UK butwell-funded and widespread in the USA), abstinence education aims toensure that young people do not engage in heavy petting or sexualintercourse before marriage. At the other end of the scale, some sexeducation programmes, challenge sexist and homophobic attitudes(Source:

2.6 Summary Of The Key Factors

In the UK and USA there is a realisation that young people need tobecome actively in all aspects of national life (e.g. politics, localcommunity, environment etc). However, there are major differencesbetween the two countries. The American approach towards citizenship isbased heavily on patriotism. In many respects the current Americanmodel of citizenship seems similar to the one that pertained in the UKin the early part of the 20th century. Despite America’s best effortsto increase young people’s knowledge and understanding of citizenshipconcepts, the NAEP results show no increase in student attainmentbetween 1991 and 2001.

The Americans seem to be ignoring the development of citizenship beyondnational boundaries. In order to solve the world’s problems we need toact as one unified force – hence we all need to embrace “globalcitizenship”. Sex education has moved substantially from its extremelylimited earlier forms to embrace a broader spectrum of sexual andsocial issues (e.g. AIDS/HIV, homosexuality etc). When this is comparedto the American experience, again like citizenship, there are hugedifferences in terms of objectives and content. Many American sexeducation programmes are founded on very conservative moral values.

2.7 Conclusions That Can Be Drawn From The Literature Review In Relation To The Objectives Of The Project

a. To critically evaluate and review the learning andteaching methods which are currently being used to deliver citizenshipand PSHE in order to determine whether pupils are benefiting from thesestrategies.

The literature review has shown that there are major problems inassessing the benefits that young people derive from these subjects.Formal assessment is broken down into two elements – formative (i.e.on-course – an assignment etc) and summative (i.e. end-of-the course –an exam, a completed portfolio etc). In the USA the NAEP results do notshow an increase in students’ knowledge and understanding ofcitizenship concepts. Within the National Curriculum, citizenship andPHSE have a minimum of formal assessment requirements.

However, are formal assessment methods the best way to determinewhether students are benefiting from citizenship and PHSE? The purposeof these subjects is to help young people become better adults e.g. toact and behave in a morally and socially responsible manner etc. Thusit is reasonable to argue that formal assessment methods can onlyprovide a superficial measure of a young person’s knowledge andunderstanding of these concepts. What does measuring a person’s abilityto recall facts actually tell us?

In reality a person will gain from a well delivered citizenship andPHSE programme in the longer term. They will become a more sociallyresponsible person; they will become a more effective parent and so on.Thus teaching these subjects is in effect an act of faith – we hopethat benefits will be produced in the longer term. A longitudinal studyis required i.e. one where a group of students is tracked for a numberof years. However, there are many factors involved when someone turnsout to a good parent etc. It would be extremely hard to isolate theinfluences of citizenship and PHSE from all the other issues that areinvolved e.g. family background etc.

Whilst it is nigh on impossible to assess the long-term benefits peoplegain from these subjects – it is possible to utilise existing learningand teaching methods to generate immediate benefits for the studentsconcerned. How this can be achieved will be analysed in the latterstages of the project.

b. To identify examples of good practice and analyse whether they can be applied elsewhere.

Has the literature review identify examples of good practice withregard to the teaching of citizenship and PHSE? Given the politicalcontroversy these subjects generate – there can only be one answer tothis question. It depends upon your point of view – determining whethersomething is an example of good practice is in the eye of the beholder.The key to progression is to establish and develop a wider audience forthe objectives you are trying to achieve.

For example, the “Europeanisation process” demonstrates how differentorganisations, individuals etc – by working together, can create forumsfor discussion and the dissemination of new ideas, materials etc. TheInternet has revolutionised how people communicate and accessinformation. This allows people and organisations to bypass nationalboundaries and work towards the creation of “global citizenship”.

Thus if they are going to be meaningful and allow young people toconnect and become part of “global citizenship” – the academic contentof citizenship and PHSE must reflect current developments. This meansthat learning and teaching methods must continuously evolve to ensurethat the delivery of these subjects reflects current trends anddevelopments. How this can be achieved will be explored in the latterstages of the project.

c. To analyse how these subjects and theirinterrelationship will develop in the future and determine how learningand teaching methods will need to change in order to satisfy the newrequirements.

A key feature of PHSE is that young people should practice “safe sex”.In its most literal form this simply means making sure that youngpeople have adequate access to and use of contraceptive methods. Insome quarters it would be argued that “safe sex” must involve moral,social and emotional responsibilities. Are these areas PHSE orcitizenship concepts? Whatever your view and political stance there isclearly an overlap between the two subjects. Future curricularinitiatives and the development of learning and teaching methods mustembrace the close interrelationship between these academic areas.

3.1 What Must The Research Methodology Achieve?

In order to fulfil the requirements of the project objectives the research methodology must address the following issues:

a. The analysis of the learning and teaching methods that are beingused to deliver citizenship and PHSE within UK schools in order todetermine their effectiveness.
b. The critical evaluation of the assessment strategies that are used to measure pupil attainment within these subjects.
c. An evaluation of how learning, teaching and assessment strategiesmust develop to ensure that citizenship and PHSE remain relevant to theneeds of young people.

The National Curriculum was introduced in 1988 in order to develop acomprehensive approach to the delivery and development of educationwithin the UK. A number of government departments and agencies areresponsible for managing the content, development, delivery andeffectiveness of the education system. The research methodology mustinvestigate the work of these government departments and agencies inrelation to citizenship and PHSE. This is necessary in order to addressthe issues outlined above. How will this be achieved?

The work of three different bodies must be investigated. These are as follows:

a. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) was establishedwith the purpose of creating opportunity, realising potential andachieving excellent for all. The Qualifications Curriculum Authority(QCA) is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the DfES. It isresponsible for maintaining and developing the National Curriculum andassociated assessments, tests and examinations; and accredits andmonitors qualifications in colleges and at work. It is thisorganisation which is responsible for managing and developing thecurricular content of citizenship and PHSE and providing guidance onlearning and teaching methods.

b. The Office for Educational Standards (OFSTED) is the inspectoratefor children and learners in England. Its main responsibility is tocontribute to the provision of better education and care. This isachieved through a comprehensive system of inspection and regulationcovering childcare, schools, colleges, children’s services, teachertraining and youth work. Thus it inspects and evaluates the teaching ofcitizenship and PHSE throughout England.

c. The practitioners (i.e. the school managers, teachers, supportworkers etc) are responsible for delivering the curricular content ofcitizenship and PHSE in accordance with the standards and methodsstated and disseminated by the DfES and the QCA.

3.2 What Methods Will The Research Methodology Use?

Secondary research is the investigation of data sources which alreadyexist. The main advantage of using such sources is that they arereadily available and can be utilised to develop knowledge andunderstanding of a given situation. Primary research entails generatinginformation, which did not previously exist. This is necessary whensecondary data sources do not fulfil the information requirements of aresearch project.

In order to investigate the work of the DfES, QCA and OFSTED, it is notnecessary to conduct primary research. This is because of two reasons.One, the government wants the work of these bodies to be transparentand within the public domain. Two, easily accessible secondary datasources will be sufficient to facilitate the objectives of thisproject. As stated, the websites for the DfES, QCA and OFSTED provideaccess to numerous reports and information on all aspects of theiroperations. Therefore, the research method that will be used to analysethis data is documentary analysis. In effect this involves analysingreports and relating the findings to the project objectives.

However, in any given project or area of research different opinionswill prevail. If you like – DfES, QCA and OFSTED – represent thegovernment’s views. What does everybody else think? The practitioners –as listed above – are at the sharp end of the business – i.e.delivering the courses to the pupils. Their experiences, views andopinions are important if the effectiveness of citizenship and PHSE astaught subjects is going to improve. Too often in education thepractitioners are the last group of people to be consulted regardingthe development of courses, new initiatives etc. Thus given thisgroup’s importance – their views and opinions re the development anddelivery of these subject areas will be gathered by conducting primaryresearch.

How will this be achieved? Since the intention of this research is toelucidate the learning as well as the teaching methods of PHSE andcitizenship education, the starting point of this research isqualitative. It can be stated that the methodological basis consists oftwo parts. One part comprises of the techniques that are used to gatherempirical material. This was achieved by the author of this projectarranging and conducting interviews with the following people:

• Teachers,
• Postgraduate trainee teachers
• Learning support assistants
• Outside agency professionals (such as the police force, NHS Trust, Borough Council and fire service)

The interview schedule was based upon the six questions listed below:

Citizenship Report

1. Should PSHE and citizenship education be taught in schools as a combined subject or as individual subjects?
2. Who should teach the subject, for example, a teacher or another professional i.e. policeman or firewoman?
3. Should citizenship and PHSE be classroom based?
4. Are there any advantages or disadvantages between a teacher thatteaches citizenship and PHSE, rather than a professional from anoutside agency?
5. How is it monitored that a child has understood the subject content of citizenship / PHSE?
6. How much input into the citizenship / PHSE does the child have?

The second part of the methodological basis consists of the method thatis used to analyse the empirical material. This material was collectedduring school lunchtimes, some appointments were arranged before andafter school. Other outside agencies were approached via the steeringcommittee of the Wordsworth Junior Citizenship Project. A total of 15people participated in the study, 9 were teachers and 6 were fromoutside agencies. The head teachers as well as the coordinator of theWJCP were informed of the study orally and in writing, theirinvolvement in the study was voluntary.

Why use an interview schedule? Why not use questionnaires? The lattermethod of collecting primary data has a major advantage in that it isnot necessary for the researcher to actually be in the presence of thepeople participating in the survey when they complete thequestionnaire. Such an approach is appropriate when a large number ofrespondents are required to provide primary data. However, as thenumber of respondents for this project was only 15 – it was moreapplicable to the nature of the areas under review to use an interviewschedule. The initial reply to a question could be explored further byasking supplementary questions. This allowed the researcher to gain amore detailed insight into how the respondents viewed the delivery ofcitizenship and PHSE.

3.3 Implementing The Research Methodology

The websites for the DfES, QCA and OFSTED are as follows:

The DfES website provides extensive information about every subjectwithin the National Curriculum. The section relating to citizenship isbroken down into three main sections – teachers / pupils / parents andgovernors. Each of these sections is subdivided into sub-headings. Forexample, the teacher section is divided into the sub-headings listedbelow:

• What is citizenship?
• Whole school issues?
• Curriculum
• Post-16
• Issues for discussion
• Teaching resources
• Training and development
• Assessment
• Recognising achievement
• Ofsted
• Case Studies

Each of these sub-headings provides access to an extensive amount ofinformation. Investigation of the section for PHSE revealed a similartype of structure, again adequately provisioned in terms of resourcesfor teachers, pupils, parents and governors. Investigation of the DfESwebsite reveals that schools are provided with an extensive range ofadvice and guidance about how learning and teaching methods can bedeveloped in order to ensure the effective delivery of citizenship andPHSE.

Given that there is adequate access to learning and teaching resourcesthrough the DfES website, the next stage of the research processinvolves investigating how the effectiveness of learning and teachingmethods used to deliver citizenship and PHSE are measured. Thisinvolves analysing the content of the OFSTED website. Again theinformation on this website is extensive. The information that is mostrelevant to this project is the breakdown of how OFSTED conducts schoolinspections.

Why do we have school inspections? Inspection reports provide anindependent and external evaluation of the quality and standards ofeducation and whether pupils are achieving as much as they can. Theyalso provide a measure of accountability and should promote theimprovement of the school. In other words inspection reports provide aquality assurance framework which allows the effectiveness of learningproviders to be analysed and critically evaluated.

Each inspection is based upon the following framework:

• Description of the school
• Overall effectiveness of the school
o Effectiveness and efficiency of boarding provision
o What the school should do to improve further
• Achievements and standards
o Personal development and well-being
• Quality of provision
o Teaching and learning
o Curriculum and other activities
o Care, guidance and support
• Leadership and management
• The extent to which schools enable learners to be healthy
• The extent to which providers ensure that they stay safe
• The extent to which learners make a positive contribution


Schools are graded on a scale of 1 to 4 – where 1 = outstanding and 4 =inadequate. Depending upon the grade a school receives OFSTED canrequire a school to take remedial action in order to improve itsperformance. For example, schools require Special Measures when theyare failing to give learners an acceptable standard of education, andwhen the people responsible for leading, managing or governing theschool are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessaryimprovement.

Notice to Improve is another category of measures OFSTED can imposeupon a school. A school which is currently failing to provide anacceptable standard of education, but has demonstrated the capacity toimprove, will be in this category. Schools that require significantimprovement receive a notice to improve. As explained earlier, thereports produced by OFSTED are in the public domain and can be accessedfrom its website.

OFSTED provides inspection reports on all types of learning providers –ranging from nursery and primary school provision through to adulteducation. Whilst this is of interest and indicates the extensivequality assurance standards learning providers have to comply with – ofgreater relevance study is the fact that OFSTED provides subjectreports on an annual basis. For example, in November 2002 it publishedthe following report – PHSE and Citizenship in Primary Schools – itprovided a review of the main issues affecting the delivery of thesesubjects. These reports are in effect – work-in-progress – reports.

These reports provide the information that is required to facilitatethe objectives of this project. However, the documentary analysisrevealed that the information contained in these reports is toodetailed. As they concentrate on one specific section of theeducational system e.g. primary schools etc. What this project requiresis a more holistic view of each subject as delivered by all learningproviders – covering the range from primary schools to secondaryschools.

The QCA website was the last one to be investigated. Again an extensiveamount of information about citizenship and PHSE is freely accessible.However, QCA provides reports which cover the effectiveness of alllearning providers delivering citizenship and PHSE. In effect they drawupon the information provided by OFSTED reports (and also use othersources) and provide a holistic view of the current status of anacademic subject as taught in schools in the UK.

The reports detailed below were identified as the most relevant to the needs of this study.

QCA – Citizenship – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment – December 2005
QCA – PHSE – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment – December 2005

Subsequently the information contained in these reports was subjectedto documentary analysis. That is, it was analysed, filtered andsummarised. This was done in order to achieve the objectives of theproject. The result of this work is presented in section 4 of thereport i.e. ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION.

1. Should PSHE and citizenship education be taught in schools as a combined subject or as individual subjects?

Of the 15 respondents – 9 of them considered that it would be moreeffective if the 2 subjects were combined. 4 people thought that theseareas should remain as separate subjects. The remaining 2 thought thatwhere appropriate the 2 subjects should be combined.

2. Who should teach the subject, for example, a teacher or another professional i.e. policeman or firewoman?

This question produced a variety of responses. In the main it wasrecognised that the teacher should be primarily responsible fordelivering these subjects. However, it was also noted that whereappropriate a professional could help to make the issue beinginvestigated more interesting and relevant to the pupils. In essence,it was considered that hard and certain rules should be applied, aboutwho delivers citizenship and PHSE. Flexibility should be maintained toallow pupils to take full advantage of learning opportunities as andwhen they arose.

3. Should citizenship and PHSE be classroom based?

The answers generated by this question seemed largely dictated by theteaching experiences of the respondents. The classroom was a popularplace for delivering the core principles of these subjects. Again itwas recognised that certain facets of these subjects were better suitedto delivery outside of the classroom. For example, parenting issueswould be more relevant if visits to crèches could be organised. Thiswould help to enhance and develop the learning experience of thepupils.

4. Are there any advantages or disadvantages between a teacher thatteaches citizenship and PHSE, rather than a professional from anoutside agency?

From the responses to this question it is possible to identifyrecurring themes. Notably it is recognised that it is the teacher thathas the long-term relationship with the pupils. The teacher can use hisor her experience and knowledge of the pupils to plan the delivery ofcitizenship and PHSE to ensure that their needs and expectations aresatisfied. When feasible (given time and financial constraints) thehelp of professionals should be enlisted. This can be achieved in anumber of ways i.e. school visits by the professionals, school visitsto different establishments e.g. care homes etc. Such activities allhelp to put citizenship and PHSE issues into context and help toincrease the learning and knowledge of the pupils.

5. How is it monitored that a child has understood the subject content of citizenship / PHSE?

This question produced a wide variety of answers, largely based uponthe teaching experience and knowledge of each respondent. A variety oftechniques (e.g. observation, record cards, group work, worksheets,role play, score cards etc) were used to record the knowledge achievedby each pupil. Essential to developing the awareness and understandingof citizenship and PHSE issues amongst pupils is the need to use avariety of stimulating learning and teaching methods.

6. How much input into the citizenship / PHSE does the child have?

Again this question produced a variety of answers. It is recognised bythe respondents, that for citizenship and PHSE concepts and issues tohave meaning for the pupils, there needs to be interaction. Thesesubjects cannot be delivered in a theoretical manner. In many of thesituations described by the respondents, the pupils did not dictate thecontent of the lessons. However, they were provided with theopportunity on occasion to determine how issues should be dealt withe.g. through role play etc.

Overall the researcher was pleased with the information provided by therespondents and would like to thank them for their contribution to theresearch project. The information collected helped to facilitate thesuccessful completion of the final report.

4.1 Analysis and Evaluation of the QCA – Citizenship – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment – December 2005

In the Literature Review, section 2.1, it was identified thatteaching of citizenship in UK schools, in a variety of guises, hadalways proved to be problematic. The citizenship concept and itsdefinition is still a matter of concern. This issue was highlighted inthe above report regarding its delivery at Key Stages 1 and 2. Putsimply citizenship in many schools is not sufficiently distinguishablefrom PHSE. Part of this problem arises from the specification of thetwo subjects as contained within national standards. There are manyareas where the two subjects overlap. Appreciably this can happen withquite a number of subjects (e.g. Economics and Business Studies).However, with citizenship and PHSE, the problem of the overlap iscompounded by the lack of specified skills in the current framework.This makes assessing and monitoring pupil progress and achievement moredifficult.

A number of primary practitioners have expressed a view that thereshould be a separate programme of study for citizenship at Key Stages 1and 2. This approach would generate a number of benefits. For example,it would raise the status of the subject of citizenship in primaryschools. This would also help to clarify how citizenship is differentand distinct from PHSE. It would help to improve quality by ensuringthat progress in citizenship can be assessed and reported. This insightinto the views of people responsible for delivering citizenship isrevealing and it returns us to an earlier theme. In section 3.2 it wasstated that educational developments often ignore the views of staff atthe sharp end of the business.

Too often in education, the development of new subjects, changes inassessment methods etc, are introduced by theorists or put more simplypeople who have forgotten how to teach. The history of education islittered with failed initiatives and so on. This happens because inmany respects all of the relevant issues and the views of all theinterested stakeholders are not taken into consideration. This isevident with regard to the development and delivery of citizenship. Asstated, in section 1.1, this question was asked “What does citizenshipmean?” – Well it depends upon what you want to achieve. However, it isevident that the teaching of this subject is hampered by a lack ofconcise and definable standards, which means that there are no “hardand fast” rules. As this information contained in the QCA report,alludes to, there are major problems with the definition of the subjectand the standards which are used to assess pupil progress.

This is further evidenced by the summary provided in the reportregarding the current state of citizenship as taught at Key Stages 3and 4. Problems of definition and discernable standards remain. Alsothe question of who teaches citizenship is also causing complications.Some schools use discrete teaching whilst others deliver citizenshipthrough other subjects. The application of documentary analysis to thisQCA report has identified a number of problems that link directly tothemes that were established in the earlier sections of this projecte.g. issues concerning definition of citizenship, content and delivery.However, contained within the report there were some very good examplesthroughout all of the key stages of how citizenship has been deliveredin a very effective way and is producing major benefits for the pupilsconcerned.

Thus if this was an end-of-year school report for a child, it would bea mixed bag. OFSTED inspections identify poor teaching practice andother failings that occur throughout the education system. However,many of the problems that associated with the teaching of citizenshipare concerned with the definition of the concept, its overlap withPHSE, how it is taught and who teaches it. On the positive side thereare many good examples of schools being proactive and developing a veryeffective learning programme, which has produced numerous benefits fortheir pupils. In the final section – (5. Conclusion andRecommendations) – of the report, recommendations for developing acoherent strategy for the delivery and assessment of citizenship willbe outlined.

4.2 Analysis and Evaluation of the QCA – PHSE – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment – December 2005

In section 2.3 the possibility of adopting the American model forassessing pupils’ progress was rejected on the grounds that it wasbased on the ability to recite facts. The purpose of PHSE is toinfluence minds, attitudes and how young people behave. This theme wasfurther developed in section 2.7 where it was stated that the long-termgoal of citizenship and PHSE must be developing young people intosocially responsible citizens. Is it working? The above reporthighlights a number of very interesting issues. It states that there isa need to place personal development at the heart of the curriculum.Why?

Many aspects of PSHE have become focused within the minds of thegeneral public and have initiated a national debate. The campaign ledby Jamie Oliver has raised great concern over the unhealthy state ofschool meals. This has led to the Government changing its policy andproviding more money per pupil per meal and the drive to remove junkfood from schools. The teenage pregnancy rate in the UK remains thehighest in Europe – there is a growing awareness for “emotionalliteracy”, with national initiatives focusing on the social andemotional aspects of learning in the primary phase and social,emotional behavioural skills in secondary schools.

From the information presented above, it can be seen that young peopleare faced with a variety of issues, which have major implications fortheir quality of life and future expectations. To address these issuesand help young people to become socially and emotional responsiblecitizens, the content and delivery of PHSE must be give greateremphasis. Consequently in the subject and teaching communities thereare calls to consider making the delivery of the PHSE frameworks astatutory requirement.

Previous monitoring investigations have revealed that teachers andpupils have lower expectations for what could be achieved in PHSE thanin other subjects and that assessment is underdeveloped. In response,QCA has developed a number of materials to support planning, recordingand assessment. However, the issues (e.g. teenage pregnancies etc) thathave been highlighted, there is a need to “beef up” PHSE and raise itsprofile and delivery throughout all Key Stages of the NationalCurriculum. How this can be achieved will be explored in section 5 ofthis report.

4.3 Analysis and Evaluation of The Interviews With the Practitioners.

The interviews that were conducted produced a mixture of results,primarily based upon the teaching or professional experience of thepeople involved. Certain themes did emerge. For example, theinteraction between school and outside agencies has an important partto play in ensuring that the delivery of citizenship and PHSE remainrelevant to the needs of pupils of all ages. There cannot be aprescriptive approach with regard to determining what the most learningand teaching methods are. The educational authorities (DfES, OFSTED andQCA) need to encourage the notion of most effective practice given thecontext of the educational and local school setting. In other wordsgreater flexibility in developing the content and delivery ofcitizenship and PHSE must be encouraged.

On reflection the feedback from the interviews concentrates almostexclusively on operational issues i.e. who should teach these subjects,should they be classroom based etc. On reflection it would have beenbeneficial to ask questions which raised questions about the strategicimplications of these subjects. For example, what benefits shouldpupils gain from studying these subjects? How can the content anddelivery be developed in order to meet the many emotional, social andmoral issues which confront young people today? Some of these factorswere alluded to during the interviews with the respondents. Herein lieswith the problem with educational issues – too often it becomes tooeasy to become bogged down in operational details – as with most thingsin life – if you want to solve a problem – you must begin by looking atthe bigger picture. Thus what is purpose of teaching citizenship andPHSE?

5.1 Conclusions

The information produced from sections 4.1 and 4.3, in many respectslinks to the themes and issues that were raised in section 2 (i.e. theliterature review). Notably there are major problems with defining theconcept of citizenship, the nature of its relationship with PHSE, howit should be assessed and it should be delivered. As section 4.2 hasrevealed, the delivery of sex education and related areas, has moved ondramatically. However, its delivery in its current form (i.e. PHSE),needs to reviewed and modified to meet modern challenges (e.g. teenagepregnancies, obesity etc).

In effect the issues and factors revealed in section 4 have raised thedebate beyond the stated objectives of this project. That is, thelearning and teaching methods used to deliver citizenship and PHSE. Youmust begin by stating exactly what you are trying to achieve throughthese academic formats. In order to complete this process successfully– all of the relevant stakeholders – must be involved. When this hasbeen done – then and only then, can the objectives of this project beaddressed.

5.2 Recommendations

There must a national debate about what citizenship and PHSE should beabout and what benefits young people should gain by studying thesesubjects. All of the relevant stakeholders – i.e. DfES, QCA, OFSTED,teachers, NSPCC, other charities concerned with the welfare of youngpeople, parenting groups etc – need to be involved. This process wouldprovide the following:

• Clear, concise and meaningful definitions of these subjects andtheir curricular content (this would be linked to major issues of theday e.g. global warming, political issues, AIDS/HIV etc)
• A statement of the benefits pupils should achieve by studyingthese subjects (this would cover all four Key Stages in the NationalCurriculum)

As this project has revealed the definition of these subjects is opento interpretation. Therefore, the definitions and content would have tobe reviewed on a periodic basis. This happens anyway with all academicsubjects and qualifications. However, it would be important to retainthe influence of the stakeholders – as listed above. This would help tokeep these subjects within the mind of the general public.

• Given the overlap between these subjects and the confusion thiscan cause, it may be simpler in the long-term to combine them in orderto form one academic subject.

Appreciably this would mean a large amount of content to get through.This would not resolve the current timetabling problems that have beenhighlighted in this report.

• Thus the new academic subject would be broken down into a numberof core and optional units. Common themes would be established (e.g.How To Be A Responsible Citizen) and would be presented throughout allKey Stages of the National Curriculum.
• Schools would be required to deliver the core units (statutoryrequirement) but if they wanted to build a more substantial programmethey could add optional units.

This would allow learning providers to “mix and match” units to suittheir individual needs. This would avoid the problem of a“prescriptive” approach being dictated by a centralised governmentbody.

• A flexible assessment framework would be created. This wouldprovide pupils with the opportunity to gain accreditation for theirwork in a number of ways e.g. through academic study, a school project(e.g. recycling household waste), volunteer work, work experience andso on. This in itself would broaden the appeal of the subject to moreschool pupils.
• It could be possible to create a “Citizenship Awards Programme”similar to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This would mean that othergroups and organisations e.g. the YMCA etc could become involved indelivering this new combined programme of study.” Citizenship Awardscould also be delivered by youth and community providers.
• The delivery of the new award would also be flexible and theoptimum combination of teachers and other professional staff would beemployed to suit the local conditions.

The above recommendations would address the weaknesses that have beenidentified and analysed in this project e.g. the lack of definition,timetabling problems etc. By developing a more flexible delivery andassessment framework, learning providers would be provided with muchmore choice on how they delivered the core units and optional units, ifso required. Thus it naturally follows that schools would make maximumuse of those learning and teaching methods, which best suited theirneeds and which generated the greatest number of benefits for theirpupils.

Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Project (2005) – Democracy through Citizenship – Institute for Citizenship – Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains – Section 3: Citizenship in Secondary Schools

QCA (March 2004) – PHSE 2002/3 annual report on curriculum and assessment.

Dean Garrett – Manchester Metropolitan University (2000) – DemocraticCitizenship in the Curriculum: some problems and possibilities –Pedagogy, Culture and Society, Volume 8, Number 3.

Oliver, D. & Heater, D. (1994) – The Foundation of Citizenship – Hemel Hampstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Rees, A. M. (1996) T. H. Marshall and the Progress of Citizenship, inM. Bulmer & A. M. Rees (Eds) Citizenship Today – the contemporaryrelevance of T.H. Marshall – London: UCL Press.

Ministry of Education (1949) – Citizens Growing Up – London: HMSO.

DfEE (1999) The Review of the National Curriculum in England – the Secretary of State’s proposals – London: QCA.

Patrick, John J (1991) Teaching the Responsibilities of Citizenship –ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science EducationBloomington IN –

U.S. Department of State (17 Sept 2002) Fact Sheet on Teaching AmericanHistory and Civic Education –

Soysal, Y (2001) Teaching Europe –

Briefing Paper for Trainee Teachers Of Citizenship Education (2004) Global Citizenship –

Oxford Schools Catalogue Global Citizenship –

Onelife Sunday Surgery A Brief History of Sex Education –

OFSTED (February 2005) – Citizenship in secondary schools: evidence from Ofsted inspections (2003/04)

OFSTED (November 2002) – PHSE and Citizenship in primary schools: evidence from Ofsted inspections (2001/02)

QCA (December 2005) – Citizenship – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment

QCA (December 2005) – PHSE – 2004/5 annual report on curriculum and assessment

OFSTED How we inspect state schools? –

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