Citizenship: Curriculum

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Paul Goodman Paul Goodman Shadow Minister, Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of schools were judged by Ofsted to have adequate citizenship teaching in each year from 2003 to 2007.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert has written to the hon. Member, and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 2 April 2008:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.

Between 2002 and 2005 in secondary schools and between 2003 and 2005 in primary schools, inspectors made an overall judgement about the quality of teaching in citizenship. These judgements were made using a seven point scale: excellent, very good, good, satisfactory, unsatisfactory, poor and very poor. The information is presented in the table attached.

From September 2005, Ofsted stopped specific subject reporting in Section 5 school inspections. Since then, Ofsted has inspected citizenship in a sample of schools. In the lessons observed that were mainly focused on citizenship objectives, teaching was generally good. Often, however, this was because of the good generic skills of teachers and there were weaknesses in specialist aspects of teaching such as dealing with topical and controversial issues. In some schools, the benefits of specialist training were apparent in the quality of the teaching. In approaching one in five of the schools, teaching was unsatisfactory, with weak subject knowledge evident. Important aspects of teaching citizenship, such as discussion, were limited. Sometimes teachers made links from other subjects to citizenship that were insubstantial and failed to add up to a sensible curriculum overall. In some of the schools where teaching was weaker, this was because it was taught by large non-specialist teams; and in some of these schools a decision had been made to move to greater specialism.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.

Table 1: Quality of teaching of citizenship in primary and secondary schools, percentage of schools
Total number of inspections Excellent Very good Good Satisfactory Unsatisfactory Poor Very poor
Primary schools
2004/05 90 1 25 64 9 1 0 0
2003/04 128 3 15 66 16 0 0 0
Secondary Schools
2004/05 378 0 6 48 39 6 1 0
2003/04 485 0 6 46 40 8 0 0
2002/03 169 1 7 45 46 1 0 0

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