Principles and Purpose of Citizenship Curriculum

The GCSE Citizenship studies curriculum has been designed to to ensure KS4 students will become informed, responsible and active Global citizens, so that they are able to, not only identify opportunities that face Britain and the wider world but to also suggest practical Citizenship action to benefit it when challenges arise.


Although, Citizenship is not taught explicitly in KS3, all students begin their Citizenship journey with knowledge about the world around them. Therefore, we delve into topics about identity, multiculturalism within British society and how the British population became diverse. This becomes a great springboard for students to recognise and value the diversity of their community and embrace the variety of knowledge and experiences that they bring to Citizenship too. With their stories as a foundation, the Citizenship curriculum builds upon this to equip students with powerful knowledge about diversity, democracy, rights, laws, and politics. Rich discussions amplify the understanding of said topics and gives opportunities for students to hear concepts that may conflict with their own and allows for every student to share.


Our curriculum is designed to be inclusive of all learners: by providing support where needed; drawing upon individual experiences and current affairs where appropriate; whilst planning adequate stretch and challenge regardless of need. Key skills necessary for the development of our students have been built into the curriculum with careful consideration to access powerful knowledge identified by the end of KS4. As a result, Citizenship students will be able to recognise bias, critically evaluate arguments, weigh evidence and look for alternative interpretations. The importance of oracy within Citizenship means discussion is at the heart of our lessons; it encourages students to engage with similar and differing views, as well as, assessing those views. By developing highly skilled communication skills, we aim that wherever life takes them, our students will be courageous, hopeful and kind Global citizens.

Why this, why now?

Every student is able to demonstrate what life is like for them and their family in Britain. Consequently, this is why the first module taught is ‘Life in modern Britain’. Within this module, students are taught about Britain as a democratic country and the values needed to live within a democratic state. The following module, Rights and Responsibilities, looks at democracy through the process of being democratic (opportunities and barriers). Finally within the Politics and Participation module, students are taught what the democratic process is and considers whether Britain is truly democratic. Revisiting democracy throughout the two years, helps to build student knowledge due to creating a narrative that is sequenced and interleaved. Students begin with a starting point of how concepts relate to their own story before developing this to a wider context. This enables students to create a storyboard of the Citizenship curriculum.

Citizenship Curriculum

Teaching the Citizenship Curriculum

Discussion is at the heart of the Citizenship curriculum. Therefore, students are explicitly taught from the beginning how to engage in a conversation with another student: posture and non-verbal communication. This is developed through the introduction of oral sentence starters, which give prompts to students on how to instigate, build, challenge, and summarise a discussion. This is particularly helpful with our SEND students, as they have a resource to develop their oracy as well as it being modelled within lessons. The progression of this starts from peer discussion to group, then the whole class. These incremental steps support all students to practice, explore ideas of other students, and develop their ideas before committing to paper.


Using real issues, case studies, people and events in local to global contexts, helps bring the Citizenship curriculum to life. For example responding to world issues within the classroom: The Ukraine and Russian war; political controversies, Covid and the Monarch. By exploring these within a safe and secure learning environment, students are able to engage with the skills needed for Citizenship and in turn become active participants.

Citizenship further develops the skills required through enquiry and research. In Y11 students carry out Active Citizenship, where they follow a personal line of enquiry and try to raise awareness or make a difference to society (school, local, national or global). Students are visited by members of their school community, who share with them why they try to make a difference. Students have responded that this has benefited them, as hearing first hand stories on ‘how to maintain momentum, what to do if setbacks arise and the impact of the smallest gesture’, has spurred students on to carry out courageous acts of Citizenship action.


It is important whilst teaching Citizenship to remain politically neutral. Students are given a balanced diet of political issues and where partisan views arise, these are explored rather than promoted. As a subject, Citizenship cannot escape political discussion, therefore they are carefully planned to ensure students are exposed to differing viewpoints; the audience is considered carefully to tailor the lessons and alleviate bias; and resources are scrutinised to counter any imbalances.

Assessing the Citizenship Curriculum

The skills that pupils develop need to be identified along with concepts to establish clear learning intentions. The skills are also helpful in considering what kinds of learning activities would be used within lessons. For example, for pupils to develop the skills to argue a case and respond to challenges and counter arguments, they will require regular and planned opportunities to develop these skills and make progress. This is necessary to support students with the process of how to execute these skills effectively, therefore, concepts and skills are best planned for in tandem. At the beginning of Y10 students are explicitly taught the ingredients of how to express a viewpoint well, alongside the concept of migration. As their journey through Citizenship continues, students are exposed to academic and peer views and consider where those views align with their own. To support students development of key skills, formative assessments are both verbal and written; summative assessments are wholly written to imitate the terminal examinations.


Pupils should understand how they are being assessed and how to assess themselves as they learn. Effective success criteria help to clarify learning goals, guide pupils in making progress towards those goals and help teachers and pupils recognise whether learning goals have been achieved. Where appropriate, students are encouraged to formulate their own success criteria based upon the analysis of exemplars. 

High quality, regular and timely feedback is key to helping pupils move forward and make improvements in their learning. The quality, not the quantity of learning is key - so it’s how deep, broad, complex and coherent the knowledge and understanding is rather than how much they have learned. By asking questions of pupils regularly, invaluable information is gathered that helps to identify the type and quality of learning within and across lessons and provide evidence that is useful for framing quality feedback to pupils. The types of questions used needs careful consideration both to establish what kind of learning is going on and to help pupils think more deeply.

Progression in the Citizenship Curriculum

By the end of Key Stage 4 students will demonstrate an understanding about:

  • Identities and diversity in UK society
  • Democracy and government
  • Citizen participation in democracy and society
  • Rights, the law and the legal system in England and Wales
  • The economy, finance and money
  • The UK and its relations with the wider world

By the end of Key Stage 4, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Form their own hypotheses, create sustained and reasoned arguments and reach substantiated conclusions when appropriate.
  • Understand the range of methods and approaches that can be used by governments, organisations, groups and individuals to address citizenship issues in society, including practical citizenship actions.
  • Formulate citizenship enquiries, identifying and sequencing research questions to analyse citizenship ideas, issues and debates.
  • Select and organise their knowledge and understanding in responses and analysis, when creating and communicating their own arguments, explaining hypotheses, ideas and different viewpoints and perspectives, countering viewpoints they do not support, giving reasons and justifying conclusions drawn.