Taking Post-16 Citizenship Forward: Learning from the post-16 citizenship development projects
01 December 2004
This is the final year report of a three year evaluation of the post-16 citizenship development projects undertaken by NFER on behalf of the DfES. It is based upon qualitative evidence from interviews with 67 individuals and 26 groups of young people across 20 case-study organisations from the Round 1 and Round 2 projects, and upon management information (MI) data supplied by the projects. It sets these findings within the context of findings from the first two years of the evaluation. The aims of the evaluation are to:
- assess the extent to which the development projects were progressing in line with their action plans, and working towards their own objectives
- identify the conditions necessary for the success of post-16 citizenship
- identify the forms of citizenship provision that appear the most effective
- examine the apparent impact of involvement in post-16 citizenship on young people’s knowledge, understanding and skills.
In this final year of the evaluation, there is a specific focus on the sustainability of the development projects, and issues that need to be addressed in any period of expansion leading to eventual national roll-out of post-16 citizenship entitlement for all young people.
This is the report from the final year of the evaluation
The evaluation has provided evidence that the projects have been successful in developing a range of innovative approaches to active citizenship in a range of post-16 education and training settings, including schools, sixth form colleges, FE colleges and training providers. There are a number of key factors that appear to underlie the most successful post-16 citizenship provision, including:
- a flexible, yet rigorous, framework which recognises that projects are developing citizenship programmes in a wide variety of ways, from taught to more active approaches, according to the specific needs and circumstances of their organisations, staff and young people
- a clear definition of what citizenship means, and what the programme seeks to achieve, tailored to the needs, skills, interests and experiences of young people
- dedicated and enthusiastic staff with sufficient resources and development opportunities. Senior management support and a supportive cultural ethos within the institution are also important
- an emphasis on combining knowledge, understanding and skills with practical action - what is termed a ‘political literacy in action’ approach, as opposed to a narrower political knowledge approach
- involvement and participation of young people in decisions about their learning, and the development of a student voice.