One of the key recommendations of a report published by the House of Lord’s Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement in April of this year is that the government should implement statutory entitlement to citizenship education from the start of primary school until the end of secondary school. The report acknowledges the potential strain that this will put on schools and calls for the government to establish citizenship subject training as part of teacher training. Bursaries should also be made available to those wishing to specialise in the subject. The introduction of a bursary would encourage applications to teacher training and alleviate shortages in trained citizenship teachers which are likely to occur in the short term.
The report also calls for the separation of Shared British Values and counterterrorism policy. The report proposes that instead of using the term Shared or Fundamental British Values the phrase Shared Values of British Citizenship should instead be used. This may be regarded as ‘radical’ in the sense that acknowledgement is given to the perceived effects of counterterrorism policies on the education system. However, there is the possibility that all that the only real change will be the terms given to the subject; rather than the subject matter itself.
It will be interesting to see the impact of this report in light of the government’s green paper on Integrated Communities and the expanding role that education will be expected to play in ensuring community cohesion.