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Wednesday, July 7, 1999 Published at 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK


Blunkett backs 'broad' approach to citizenship

David Blunkett wants to encourage "creative" approaches to citizenship

Citizenship lessons, which will become part of the revised National Curriculum for England, should be developed by schools to serve their own local needs.

Speaking at a conference on citizenship education in London, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, has backed "a framework for teaching citizenship in schools that is deliberately broad".

Schools will be encouraged to use art, music, history and personal, social and health education in their efforts to teach citizenship, which is to be made compulsory in England from September 2002.

[ image: Citizenship will help
Citizenship will help "to bring democracy alive", says the education secretary
The subject is intended to encourage young people to develop a greater sense of social responsibility and to counter racism and intolerance.

The government's proposals for the subject have been criticised by church leaders for failing to include sufficiently rigorous requirements for moral and spiritual development, but Mr Blunkett told his audience that he wants "schools to develop their own approaches".

Among the examples of the "creative" approach schools might use for citizenship, Mr Blunkett cited Mill Chase Community School in Hampshire which had set up a Website to examine racism and Pennywell School in Sunderland, which had used concepts of citizenship as part of an anti-bullying strategy.

"It is important that young people are able to recognise the way in which their behaviour affects others, recognise their duties and responsibilities as well as rights, and receive support to promote their moral development," said Mr Blunkett.

"This will allow pupils to have the chance to exercise real responsibility and make an impact on school and communities. We are seeking nothing less than the encouragement of active and responsible members of tomorrow's community."

Among the aims of the new subject, said Mr Blunkett, would be "bringing alive democracy at a time when cynicism and apathy are rife".

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