Citizenship Studies has been offered as a GCSE at Fairley House School since KS4 began at the school in 2015, and has proven to be an extremely popular and successful choice of subject. Students have been very enthusiastic about the chance to study such a broad range of interesting and new topics, and to engage with the themes of British politics and public life that they do not study at KS3.
Citizenship Studies at KS4 follows the AQA GCSE course, the aim of which is to motivate and educate students to become thoughtful and active members of society, who engage intelligently and proactively in public life. Students gain knowledge of democracy, government and law, and develop the ability to create sustained, well-balanced arguments. Rarely has it been more important for young people to have an interest in, and understanding of, current affairs and the rights and responsibilities of the citizen in the UK than it is at present; not only does this course develop and encourage this understanding, it also builds upon the communication skills that are increasingly sought after in higher education and future employment.
The GCSE qualification is a linear two-year course, with students sitting their exams at the end of Year 11. It includes the following subject content:
- Citizenship skills, processes and methods
- Life in modern Britain
- Rights and responsibilities
- Politics and participation
- Active citizenship
All of this content is rooted in the idea of what it means to be a citizen of the UK, and is designed to help students understand their role in society and how they can make a difference as citizens.
In addition to enhancing their subject knowledge, students also gain the ability to recognise bias, critically evaluate argument, weigh evidence and look for alternative interpretations and sources of evidence. These are all skills that are highly valued by higher education and employers.
As with all subjects at Fairley House, Citizenship Studies is approached in the most inclusive, accessible way possible, with emphasis placed on multisensory teaching where possible and transdisciplinary support where necessary. This, along with extracurricular activities, such as trips to the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Courts of Justice, makes a literacy-focused, highly academic subject both enjoyable and rewarding. It also makes a challenging qualification extremely achievable; over the past three years, students have amazed themselves with what they have been capable of in this subject.