CITIZENSHIP A SKILL FOR LIFE

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					                                                           THIS REPORT RELATES
STIRLING COUNCIL                                           TO ITEM
                                                           ON THE AGENDA


CHILDREN’S COMMITTEE                                        CHILDREN'S SERVICES


15 FEBRUARY 2001                                            NOT EXEMPT


                          CITIZENSHIP: A SKILL FOR LIFE




1    PURPOSE

     1.1   The purpose of this report is to seek committee’s views on the policy paper
           and the discussion paper: ‘Young Citizens Make a Difference’.



2    SUMMARY

     2.1   Citizenship is a skill for life and supports the council’s strategic aim to
           promote local democracy and participation. In January 2000 a document
           ‘Active Citizens in Stirling Council Schools’ was published and illustrates all
           the ways in which young citizens are encouraged to participate. Recently, a
           document was published outlining good practice in consulting with very young
           children ‘Children as Partners’.

     2.2   This paper further develops the theme of citizenship as a skill for life and
           reinforces the council’s commitment to putting children first. The ‘Young
           Citizens Make a Difference’ Policy Framework will be further developed by
           stimulating debate through use of the Discussion Paper and seeking the
           views of children and young people in the development of a Vision of
           Childhood, and a Charter for Young Citizens.

     2.3   The Children’s Committee will have an annual ceremony where the
           contribution of children and young people to their communities will be
           celebrated. Those who have made a significant contribution as a young
           citizen in the home, in the learning environment or in the community will be
           rewarded with a Young Citizen’s Award by the Chair of Children’s Committee.

     2.4   Following consultation, a strategic action plan will be developed to support a
           model of citizenship which embraces social and democratic values e.g.

           •   Fairness

           •   Openness to differences and similarities

           •   Sense of Equality
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              •   Respect for self, others and the environment

              •   Awareness and respect for democracy

              •   Concern for sustainability and diversity



3      RECOMMENDATION(S)

       3.1    It is recommended that Children’s Committee:

              •   Agree the distribution of the ‘Young Citizens Make a Difference’ policy and
                  discussion paper for further consultation

              •   Agree the establishment of a Young Citizen’s Award

              •   Receive a report of the consultation exercise on the policy framework and
                  discussion paper which will include the development of a Vision of
                  Childhood and a Charter for Children and Young People

              •   Agree the model of citizenship as a skill for life which embraces social and
                  democratic values

              •   Agree the distribution of the discussion paper and policy paper across all
                  services in the council and partner agencies seeking views to raise
                  awareness



4      CONSIDERATIONS

       4.1    Children’s Committee

              Stirling Council established a Children’s Committee on April 1 1996. It was
              the first Children’s Committee in the UK. The establishment of the Children’s
              Committee is a clear commitment by the council to children and young people
              and this commitment has been illustrated in the promotion of children’s rights
              and responsibilities in policies and practice including areas such as Child
              Protection, Positive Behaviour and Reducing Exclusions.

       4.2    Citizenship is a skill for life.

              A Citizenship Working Group has been established to develop a policy and
              guidelines for citizenship as a skill for life.

              The Policy Framework (App. 1) has been developed in consultation with
              children and young people and by a sub group of the Children’s Services
              Core Group. It was agreed that a Vision of Childhood should be developed in
              partnership with children to ensure a shared understanding. In addition, a
              Charter for Children would be developed with children and young people
              outlining a commitment from the council to quality services.




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              The Discussion Paper (App. 2) has been written to ask children and young
              people, staff and parents what they think we should be doing as a service and
              as a council to support and empower our young citizens and to seek views
              about what young citizens can do for themselves – and for others.

       4.3    Children’s Rights and the Law

              One of the themes of The Children in Scotland Act 1995 is that the child’s
              views should be taken into account where major decisions are made about
              the child’s future.    In addition, children in need are entitled to services
              provided by the local authority. The Standards and Scotland’s Schools Act
              also states that education must have due regard to the views of the child or
              young person in decisions that significantly affect them. There is a need to
              audit practice to ensure that we are meeting the requirements of these Acts.



       4.4    Whole Council Approach

              In raising awareness across all council services, it is hoped that there will be
              a whole council approach to seeking the views of children and young people
              in matters which affect them e.g. environmental issues; housing and
              homelessness; transport; sports, arts and culture. In taking forward
              Children’s Services, there is a clear commitment to empowering children and
              young people and their participation in decision making processes, especially
              in decisions about priorities for local services which are provided by
              education, social work, community and health services in the context of taking
              forward New Community Schools.

       4.5    Education for Citizenship

              Education for citizenship is about a whole school approach and should
              permeate the whole curriculum. It is about the education of the whole child
              and young person. Children will gain knowledge about citizenship, learn
              about citizenship by studying citizenship as part of the curriculum from early
              years through to the end of secondary schooling. Children will also learn by
              doing, by learning the skills to reflect and through acquiring and accepting
              responsibility for self and others. Staff development will be put in place to
              support the policy and strategy.

       4.6    Sustainability

              Citizenship has individual, national and global dimensions and has
              implications for all ages e.g.

              •   A responsibility to look after our environment in the context of
                  sustainability

              •   Ensuring that we are an inclusive society

              •   Knowledge of laws and lawmaking




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              •   Understanding of the media and the power of the media

              •   Understanding of economics and managing money

       4.7    How can children and young people influence others?

              Young people need to be active participants in the development of this policy
              and strategy. When the views of children and young people are sought and
              they actively participate in decision making, they can influence the quality of
              the learning, teaching, care and local environments. Some current examples
              include:

              •   Tutors in Information and Communications Technology

              •   The design of the curriculum and buildings from early years to secondary
                  age

              •   Personal Learning Plans and Learning and Care Plans; personal target
                  setting

              •   Peer mediation; Circle Time; Buddying and Befriending initiatives

              •   Responding to university research e.g. their views on the effectiveness of
                  learning and teaching in S1 and S2 (1998)

       4.8    The policy paper and the discussion paper will be distributed to seek the
              views of children and young people, staff across services, parents and carers
              and the policy paper will be re-drafted based upon comments received.



5      POLICY IMPLICATIONS

       5.1    This paper supports the council’s strategic aim to promote local democracy
              and participation and quality services.



6      CONSULTATIONS

       6.1    The working group has representatives from the Student Forum and across
              services.

       6.2    A seminar will be arranged by the Student Forum to seek the views of young
              people from primary and secondary schools on the policy.

       6.3    The draft policy and discussion paper will be distributed widely and comments
              sought.




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7      RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

       7.1       Within existing resources.



8      BACKGROUND PAPERS

       8.1       Young Citizens Make a Difference: Policy and Discussion Paper (Appendix)




Author(s)
Name                              Designation                  Tel No/Extension

Margaret Doran                    Head of Schools              2526


Marion Wallace Gee                Service Manager Access       3458
                                  (acting)



Approved by
Name                              Designation                  Signature

Gordon Jeyes                      Director of Children's       2680
                                  Services


Date        5.2.01                               Reference




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