Press release

Citizenship and Values Education to the Rescue!
A Shared Call to Action by the ‘Five Nations Network’

23 September 2009

Today there is a united Call to Action - from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - for politicians and policy makers to make a renewed commitment to Citizenship and Values Education to enable young people to engage with our increasingly complex, challenging and changing world.

Public outrage at ‘MPs expenses’, increased mistrust in politics and politicians, the rise of the far right parties and a meltdown in democratic participation have all highlighted the urgency for investment in Citizenship and Values Education, according to an influential Five Nations Network.

Despite differences in culture, history and approach to Citizenship and Values Education across the five education systems, the Five Nations Network has brought together policy-makers, teachers, practitioners, stakeholders, NGOs and young people for an annual conference since 2000*. They are now determined to take action together.

The Five Nations Network is issuing this Call to Action to galvanize support in:

The Five Nations Network has devised a number of Lines of Action to invigorate Citizenship and Values Education and its members are already working hard to make these realizable by securing allies and resources, building networks, partnerships and alliances, launching a programme of pilot projects and disseminating the results with an emphasis on ‘what works’.

David Kerr, from NFER (the National Foundation for Educational Research) and Rapporteur for the Citizenship and Values Education Conference said:

"To safequard our democracy now and for the future, we must ensure that all young people have equal access to ‘high quality’ citizenship and values education, not just the empowered minority or ‘hard to reach’.

Chris Waller, Professional Officer for the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) said:

"We must enable a sense of agency in young people. By that I mean the belief that they can gain the skills to fully participate in our society and bring about change".

Sheila Bloom, Chief Executive of the Institute for Global Ethics UK Trust and Convenor of the Five Nations Network, said:

"The strength of the Five Nations Network is that its members, who each have unique, in-depth and up-to-date expertise in this area, are able to speak with a single voice".

 

* The Executive Summary and Full Report of the Citizenship and Values Education to the Rescue! Conference 2008 and Call to Action 2009 are available on the NFER web site.


For more information contact:

Gail Goodwin, NFER Media and Communications Manager, on Mob: 07736 378344 / g.goodwin@nfer.ac.uk

Sheila Bloom, Chief Executive, Institute for Global Ethics UK Trust (IGE UK) on
Mobile: 07796 267645 / sbloom@globalethics.org.uk

David Kerr, NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research) and Rapporteur for the Citizenship and Values Education Conference on
Mobile: 07773 492867 / d.kerr@nfer.ac.uk

Chris Waller, Professional Officer, Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) on
Mobile: 07762 258439 / Chris.Waller@teachingcitizenship.org.uk


Notes to editors

Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT)
ACT is the subject association for citizenship education in England. It exists to further the aims of citizenship teaching and learning, championing citizenship education to all young people and supporting teachers and schools in delivering the subject. It connects teachers to regional and national networks, offering training and CPD advice.

Five Nations Network
The Five Nations Network brings together practitioners, policy-makers, teacher educators, inspectors, stakeholders, NGO’s and young people from across the Five Nations (i.e. from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) who have unique, in-depth and up-to-date expertise in education for citizenship and values. They share practice and learn from each other. The Five Nations Network has evolved over the past decade. It holds an annual conference and has a Strategy Group with representatives from all five countries. The Network is supported by the Institute for Global Ethics UK Trust and sponsored by the Gordon Cook Foundation.

Gordon Cook Foundation
The Gordon Cook Foundation is an Aberdeen-based charity, established in 1974, and is dedicated to the advancement and promotion of all aspects of education which are likely to promote ‘character development’ and ‘citizenship’. It has promoted over 230 projects based on ‘values’ education and has sponsored the annual Five Nations Conferences on Education for Values and Citizenship since 2000. These have taken place in London (2000), Glasgow (2001), Birmingham (2002), Belfast (2003), Cardiff (2004), Dublin (2005), Edinburgh (2006), Leeds (2007) and Glasgow (2007). The 2009 conference is being held in Derry/Londonderry.

Institute for Global Ethics UK Trust (IGE UK)
IGE UK is a charity set up in 1995 with a mission to promote ethical behaviour in individuals, institutions and nations through research, public discourse and practical action. It has convened the annual Five Nations Conference on Education for Values and Citizenship since 2000 and led the the national Impetus youth awards - a programme delivered to hundreds of schools and youth organizations across the UK exploring the ethical values underpinning human rights - from 2001-2008. IGE UK also works in the private, public and voluntary sectors initiating events to elevate public discussion and practical action within centres of influence at local and national level.

NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research)
NFER is the UK’s largest independent provider of research, assessment and information services for education, training and children’s services. Its mission is to make a difference to learners of all ages, especially to the lives of children and young people, by ensuring its work improves the practice and understanding of those who work with and for learners. NFER’s work enables policy makers and practitioners to make better, more informed decisions, drawing on sound evidence and accurate information. That work includes research and evaluation in citizenship and human rights education at national, European and international level.