Our Citizenship curriculum is delivered as part of the PSHE programme in Year 7 and then as a timetabled lesson in Years 8 and 9. It is based around the EdExcel GCSE Citizenship syllabus and has been chosen to provide students with an understanding of how the world works around them and encourage them to engage with current affairs and discussions on various social and political issues. We study the ideas of community and diversity, discrimination and cohesion, voting and how the government system works, and how the legal system works, with the intention that the students studying this course are able to identify and address misconceptions, and are equipped to make choices around their own participation within our society. We are able to promote British values and cover various aspects of SMSC throughout the course, as well as promote literacy through developing extended written arguments and examining sources. Alongside this, we also aim to provide the opportunity for students to gain a full GCSE qualification at the end of year 9, which helps students to experience sitting a GCSE exam, develop revision techniques, understand exam preparation, and have the success of achieving one early qualification.
The course is broken up into 5 themes which are delivered over the two years, with revision lessons built in as well.
In Year 8, three of the five key themes are delivered.
In Year 9, the remaining two themes are delivered, along with a revision programme and a mock exam, and further revision for those who are entered for the final exam. For those not sitting the final exam, and for the classes when the exams are finished, we build upon the skills and knowledge they already have with the delivery of a life skills programme.
We can of course look at our exam results to measure the impact of the Citizenship curriculum; the course provides an excellent understanding into how a GCSE subject works and will help inform students when choosing their GCSE options in Year 9. It introduces key skills such as how to revise and prepare for a mock exam and, for many students, how to learn from this and apply these lessons to the final exam.
However, the impact of studying Citizenship goes far beyond any exam. Students will gain a good understanding of current affairs and how the world around them works. They will be able to form opinions on issues such as voting and the legal system, and understand news stories better, and have more of an interest in those news stories. They will be able to substantiate their opinions using examples that we bring into our classroom teaching, and be able to bring in their own examples gained from their wider knowledge. Much of the course focuses on various elements of PSHE and SMSC, and so the students will be more well-rounded individuals having studied the Citizenship course. Students will complete the course with a deeper understanding of the importance of tolerance and respect within our society, as well as an overall understanding of our democracy and the role they can choose to play within it, and as such be able to make informed choices about their level of participation within it. Staff will address misconceptions that students have and facilitate discussions with different opinions and viewpoints, and help students to form their own opinions and be able to justify them. In addition, they will gain a better understanding of social issues in their local area, and work on their team skills to carry out a project, and be able to demonstrate the impact that their social action has had. Overall, Citizenship will have a positive impact on the students outlook and understanding of issues surrounding them in everyday life.