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Citizenship in the National Curriculum  |  What is Citizenship as a subject?  |  The link with values  |  Using F-files case studies  |  Curriculum mapping  |  Other materials

Citizenship and values education: developing key skills for a consumer society

Citizenship in the National Curriculum (England)
Citizenship contributes to the overall school curriculum by:

  • giving students the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to participate in society as active citizens of a democracy
  • enabling them to be informed, critical and responsible and aware of their duties and rights
  • providing a framework which promotes the social, moral and cultural development of pupils
  • enabling them to become more self-confident and responsible in and beyond the classroom
  • encouraging students to become helpfully involved in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and the wider world
  • promoting their political and economic literacy through learning about our economy and our democratic institutions
  • helping students to gain a disposition for reflective discussion
  • showing students how to make themselves effective in the life of the nation, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

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What is Citizenship as a subject?
Citizenship became a compulsory National Curriculum subject for KS3 and KS4 in England from August 2002. The Programme of Study provides the knowledge, skills and processes that should be taught and provides a basis for planning units of work. The attainment target for Citizenship consists of an end of key stage description for each of KS3 and KS4 that states broadly what level of attainment students might reach.

Teaching should ensure that knowledge and understanding is acquired and applied in order to support students when:

  • becoming informed citizens
  • developing skills of enquiry and communication
  • participating and taking responsible action

Citizenship teaching should contribute to learning across the curriculum. It may be organised in a cross-curricular way, taught from within a dedicated timetable slot, or both. Ofsted will expect to see specific instances and units of work addressing the Citizenship Programme of Study, ie. citizenship knowledge, skills and understanding that is planned, taught and delivered as such. All subjects will have contexts to offer for developing the knowledge and skills needed to operate effectively as a citizens.

Citizenship teaching should promote:

  • students' spiritual, moral and cultural development - egs. fostering awareness of meaning and purpose in life and of differing values in human society, developing critical appreciation of rights and responsibilities, fairness and justice, taking a role as effective members of society, promoting respect for cultural diversity
  • key skills:
    • communication, egs. researching, discussing and sharing information and ideas
    • application of number, egs. collecting, analysing and interpreting data, dealing with ratios, proportions and costs
    • IT, egs. using databases and spreadsheets for modelling, nutritional analysis, using Internet and CD-ROMs for research, using electronic equipment for measuring and controlling aspects of production
    • working with others, egs. group and team work, sharing ideas, consulting expert sources, peer mentoring
    • improving own learning and performance, egs. setting and meeting targets, reviewing work
    • problem solving, egs. dealing with technical issues and processes, applying thinking skills (modelling, engineering)
  • thinking skills - egs. reasoning, enquiry, evaluation, critical analysis
  • financial capability - egs. understanding the nature and role of money in society, value for money, managing financial resources
  • enterprise and entrepreneurial skills - egs. understanding the importance of these skills for a successful economy and democracy, a critical understanding society from a consumer perspective, and from the perspective of business and commerce

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The link with values
Values lie at the heart of understanding the technological world. Products are developed in response to needs, wants or opportunities. The development and use of technologies involves decision making, by individuals or groups who take on the role of designers, makers, users, consumers, manufacturers or retailers. This process is influenced by the values held by the decision maker, whether or not this is realised or explicit.

D&T is a curriculum area that involves students in decision making. This might be in relation to materials and solutions, weighing up possibilities, considering the most appropriate course of action, being open to alternatives. Students should be able to articulate and discuss their thought processes, rationalise their decisions and justify the values on which these are based.

"Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions about the way we do things individually and collectively, both locally and globally, that improve the quality of life without damaging the planet for the future" (National Curriculum for England)

Within D&T, students should be given opportunities to explore the values aspects of decisions made about the use of materials, processes and resources. These include human, moral, social, cultural, political, economic, technical and environmental aspects and their impact.

There are many areas of overlap between Citizenship and Values education, as with Education for Sustainable Development:

Key Concepts of Edcucation for Sustainable Development
Examplesfor students in practice
Interdependence - understanding connections and links between all apsect of our lives, and those of other people and places

Understanding that what people do affects themselves, the places they live and others (KS1)

Being aware of the global context within which trade, industry and consumption patterns operate (KS3)

Undertainty and precaution - realising that because we are learning all the time and our actions may have unforseen circumstances we should adopt a cautious approach in the welfare of the planet

Being able to listen carefully to arguments and weigh up evidence (KS2)

Understanding the value and use of the precautionary principle in personal, economic, scientific and technological decision making in the light of uncertainty (KS4)

Citizenship - recognising that we all have rights and responsibilities to participate in decision making and that everyone should have a say in what happens in the future

Being able to work with other members of the school community and being responsibility for making it more sustainable (KS2)

Understanding how values and beliefs influence behaviour and how some lifestyles are more sustainable than others (KS4)

Sustainable change - understanding that there is a limit to the ways in which the world, particularly the richer countries, can develop and that the consequences for unsustainable growth are increased poverty and hardship, and the degradation of the environment, to the disadvantage of all

Understanding how the home and school may be managed more sustainably (KS2)

Questionning decisions, practices and processes that affect sustainable development issues and investigating alternatives (KS4)

Quality of life - recognising that for any development to be sustainable it must benefit people in an equitable way, it is about improving everybody's lives

Understanding the basic difference between needs and wants (KS1)

Understanding the difference between quality of life and standard of living (KS3)

Needs and rights offuture generations - learning how we can lead lives that consider the rights and needs of others, and that what we do now has implications fr what life will be like in the future

Being able to work with other members of the school and community and feeling responsible for making it more sustainable (KS2)

Being able to assess the sustainability of their own lifestyle (KS3)

Diversity - understanding the importance and value of diversity in our lives - culturally, socially, economically and biologically - and that all our lives are impoverished without it

Beginning to distinguish between actions and products that are wasteful or more sustainable (KS2)

Appreciating the nature of the changes that have affected economic, cultural and biological diversity in their locality over past generations (KS3)

Students should be encouraged, within their D&T work, to critically evaluate ideas, products, processes and their impact, to ask questions about what is and what might be. The aim of this is to promote thinking skills, egs. analytical, evaluative about the products and processes of design and technology. Whether this is as part of a focused task, during a product evaluation activity, or within a design and make assignment, students should learn to grapple with questions of the following type. Increasingly they should pose these, and other questions, for themselves:

  • does it meet a real need?
  • does it improve quality of life for anyone?
  • is it fit for its purpose?
  • is it designed and manufactured to the appropriate quality?
  • whose priorities were at work?
  • who benefits? does anyone lose out?
  • is it a worthwhile investment of time and resources?
  • what might be the impact beyond what was intended?
  • could it be improved in any way?
  • are there alternative solutions to consider?
  • what is the cost (monetary and other) and does it represent value for money?

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Using the F-files
As well as providing information and activities that help to develop students' knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to food, the case studies in the F-files provide opportunities for addressing values issues and citizenship through real contexts. They feature familiar products that students can relate to. Each case study includes things for students to think about and do. These are activities that help them to examine values issues through food contexts, including:

  • nature and sourcing of raw materials
  • production processes and technologies
  • methods of packaging and marketing
  • role and function of food
  • dietary habits and trends
  • consumer and food safety and hygiene
Case study title Issues and values raised
Be Good to Yourself Range healthy eating issues, smart materials, technical issues
Being a New Product Developer 1&2 issues of business and commerce, design and development, consumer issues
Cheesecake Manufacture technical issues, hygiene and quality issues
Fresh Creations consumer issues
HACCP food safety, hygiene and quality issues, technical issues
Microban smart materials, food saftey, hygiene and quality issues
New Covent Garden Soups organic issues, consumer issues
96% Fat free Carrot Cake smart materials, food labelling legislation and claims
Unit Operations consumer issues, technical issues
Wrights Bread Mixes consumer issues, technical issues
Yeo Valley Organic Yogurt organic issues, sustainability, consumer issues
Divine fair trade chocolate organic issues, sustainability, consumer issues, technical issues

All the case studies were written around a set of questions about design, production, use, marketing, issues and values. These are set out in the F-files user notes and may be a useful reference when evaluating products with students.

Curriculum mapping
Click here to go to a table summarising opportunities for teaching aspects of Citizenship in Food Technology at KS3 and KS4.

Other materials
Check out the Intermediate Technology Sustainable Development Project site - www.stepin.org - for a case study on organic food (authored by Ali Farrell).

Also look out for a forthcoming new publication from Intermediate Technology, written by Ali Farrell, addressing technology and sustainability issues through the context of peanut butter processing in Zimbabwe. This is for use at KS4.


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