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Hearing pupils voices: revealing the need for Citizenship Education within primary schools

By P. Warwick


Citizenship education (CE) is a recent innovation within the National Curriculum in England, key aspects of which have a clear relevance to the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda. Both CE and ECM strongly articulate a commitment to democratic principles and express a concern over children's perspectives being taken into account in order to help services to be built around their needs. This paper presents the findings from the primary school strand of an action research project that used a consultative approach to the implementation of CE. Through hearing their pupils' perspectives on local and global issues of concern the aim of the project was for teachers to be better informed as they sought to create engaging and enjoyable citizenship education opportunities. The central proposition of this paper is that children have valuable and often caring perspectives on their communities and the wider society in which they live. Due to the nature of the children's interest in both local and global issues and also their enthusiasm for making a difference within their communities CE within primary schools represents an excellent opportunity for fulfilling some of the key well-being objectives of the ECM agenda. In particular, the study found the potential for strong links between CE within primary schools and specific aims within the two ECM outcomes ‘making a positive contribution’ and ‘enjoying and achieving’. CE was also found to provide fresh opportunities for the overarching goal of ECM, that different agencies form partnerships and work together for the benefit of the children whose well-being and development they are ultimately seeking to serve

Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1080/03004270701467267
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