We are about to lose the only A-level in citizenship studies. From 2018, it will no longer be available as a qualification. Yet there is more demand for it than for some other subjects; and it is at least as important.
A-level enrolment figures for last year were released yesterday. They show that citizenship studies is far from the subject with the smallest intake: 2,914 students took either the A or AS level in 2014. And yet, A-level citizenship is being dropped.
By comparison, A-level archaeology had fewer than half that number – just 1,238 entries – but no-one is proposing to drop that qualification.
It’s important that we understand our past, of course it is. But it’s equally important that we understand how best to shape the present and prepare for the future. And, in that regard at the very least, the need for stronger citizenship education and qualification opportunities in the UK has rarely been greater.
This is clear from young people’s disaffection for formal politics, the dramatic potential shifts in the landscape of British democracy, radical changes to the justice system and how citizens access it, and our uncertain relationship with Europe.
But perhaps the clearest indicators for schools and colleges are the new requirements of them to prevent extremism and to engage their students with British values such as democracy and the rule of law.
Citizenship is on the reformed National Curriculum. Exam bodies are busy writing their new GCSEs; but what’s the point if there’s no A-level to progress to?
The A-level combines academic knowledge and understanding with practical action. And it makes an excellent contribution to preparation for higher education and employment.
It carries full UCAS points and is widely accepted for university entry. Cambridge University and the LSE, for example, cite it as a good subject choice for students preparing for a range of arts, political and social science degree courses.
So, with campaign group Democratic Life, we are continuing the petition to keep A-level citizenship.
Ofqual will consider reinstating the citizenship A-level if an exam board wants to offer it. So, please help us convince the exam boards to propose new A-levels in this important subject.