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CITIZENSHIP A SKILL FOR LIFE
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 -2- • 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. File Name: N:\DEMSUPP\DECISION\REPORTS\CHILDREN\CHNSCIT.docFile Name: CHNSCIT -3- 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 File Name: N:\DEMSUPP\DECISION\REPORTS\CHILDREN\CHNSCIT.docFile Name: CHNSCIT -4- • 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. File Name: N:\DEMSUPP\DECISION\REPORTS\CHILDREN\CHNSCIT.docFile Name: CHNSCIT -5- 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 File Name: N:\DEMSUPP\DECISION\REPORTS\CHILDREN\CHNSCIT.docFile Name: CHNSCIT
"CITIZENSHIP A SKILL FOR LIFE"