England: citizenship lessons in school must stay

In response to the education white paper, published today, Amnesty International’s UK Director Kate Allen, said:

“Whilst Amnesty recognises that schools should have the flexibility to ensure the relevance of the curriculum for their pupils, a “slimming down” of the curriculum should not come at any price.

“Great strides have been made in recent years in helping pupils learn about human rights and participation in society through the teaching of Citizenship.

“If the subject, as rumoured, is to be one of the ones that goes, it would send a clear message to youngsters in England that those fundamental values do not matter.

“It would be a move that would seem to run completely counter to the Coalition Government’s Big Society agenda and would make no sense.

“Amnesty International firmly believes that Citizenship education is an essential component of all young people’s education.

“Through Citizenship, young people learn about how our country, and indeed the world, works; including the justice system, democracy and human rights, all of which are vitally important in helping young people to understand their roles and responsibilities in society.

“We hope that the Government listens to our concerns – and the concerns of numerous other education groups – and we look forward to taking part in a meaningful debate over the months ahead.”

Amnesty International UK is a founding member of Democratic Life, a coalition of organisations calling on politicians from all parties to support citizenship education so that it remains in the national curriculum and schools continue to improve the teaching of the subject. Show your support by joining the Democratic Life campaign

View latest press releases