Citizen School aims to make citizenship a central focus of the curriculum, teaching pupils to be active participants not only in their local community, but on a national level too.
Citizen School in South East London will open in September 2016, joining 255 other free schools that are already open.
To help turn its pupils into effective citizens, the school will integrate community projects into the curriculum, extra-curricular and enrichment activities. One key focus of this will be around encouraging democratic participation, by ensuring that the young people at their school understand how British government works, and the value of voting. Through this, they aim to target low turnout for under 25s, and raise aspirations by developing an understanding of how individual actions can lead to significant change.
Ensuring they can deliver their vision effectively, Citizen School are making use of the freedoms allowed to them as academies, by creating more community liaison and welfare staff positions than would usually be seen within a mainstream school. By doing this, they will have individuals who are responsible for driving forward their community projects, and developing their citizenship curriculum, and therefore wont burden subject teachers with these responsibilities.
Being an all-through school, where pupils will stay with them from reception through to A levels, will help to solidify this community cohesion, as young people will be exposed to the same values and expectations throughout their school career. As Marcus Mason, the lead proposer for the school, noted, this ensures that progress made in primary is not lost during the transition to secondary:
“If you stay within the same institution, values and support systems can provide stability and make that transition smoother for pupils.”