Citizenship education for children of the elite in England

Leighton, R. (2013) Citizenship education for children of the elite in England. In: Cunningham, P., ed. Identities and Citizenship Education: Controversy, Crisis and Challenges. London: CiCe. pp. 420-428 ISBN 9781907675201


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This paper has been developed from initial observations regarding the state and status of Citizenship Education in a small sample of independent school in England, the main purpose of which was to gain some understanding of how pupils in that sector – who are typically from socially, politically and economically privileged backgrounds – are prepared by schools for their roles as citizens, and how they perceive that preparation. The context and significance of independent schools in general in England is outlined, followed by a more detailed description of the schools in which the research took place and of the social origins and aspirations of the pupil sample. Some data are presented, discussed and interpreted, followed by conclusions which relate to the research focus schools and similarities and differences between the findings of this research and those of the much larger CELSI study (Kerr et al 2007; Keating et al 2009, 2010) into school provision of Citizenship Education in England. While nothing specific can be extrapolated from the findings to be applied with certainty to any other schools – whether independent or state-funded – this study is valuable in that it constitutes what is thought to be the first attempt to map and understand the place of citizenship education in England’s independent schools, given the dearth of published research in this area. One tentative conclusion is that there is a complex ‘something’ about the essence of independent schooling which contributes to the development of effective citizenship education. That ‘something’ is unlikely to be the residential aspect of boarding, as there is no indication in this study that boarders are more socially committed and aware than their day-pupil peers, so that eight possible aspects of that ‘something’ are identified and briefly considered.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1090 Political education > LC1091 Citizenship education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0008 Forms of education > LC0047 Private school education
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Education > Post Graduate Initial Teacher Education (POINTED)
Depositing User: Mr Ralph Leighton
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 09:15
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 08:54

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00