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Identity and Diversity Citizenship education and looking forwards

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					            Identity and Diversity: Citizenship Education and looking
                        forwards from the Ajegbo Report

Political Context of the Ajegbo Report


Recently a number of government ministers have made speeches reflecting upon their
understanding of ‗Britishness‘, often linking explicitly to Citizenship education. Ministers see
schools as key places to promote understanding between communities and to combat
intolerance and religious extremism, particularly in the wake of the London bombings of July
2005. For example, in a speech to the Fabian Society in January 2006, Gordon Brown said
that he believed that British values were something that should be celebrated and shared, and
welcomed further discussion on how to pursue this :


―Britishness is not just an academic debate – something for the historians, just for the
commentators, just for the so-called chattering classes. Indeed in a recent poll, as many as
half of British people said they were worried that if we do not promote Britishness we run a
real risk of having a divided society…And I believe that out of a debate, hopefully leading to a
broad consensus about what Britishness means, flows a rich agenda for change: a new
constitutional settlement, an explicit definition of citizenship, a renewal of civil society, a
rebuilding of our local government and a better balance between diversity and integration…..it
is to our benefit to be more explicit about what we stand for and what are our objectives and
that we will meet and master all challenges best by finding shared purpose as a country in our
enduring British ideals that I would summarise as—in addition to our qualities of creativity,
inventiveness, enterprise and our internationalism - our central beliefs are a commitment to
liberty for all, responsibility by all and fairness to all."


Later in the speech he referred specifically to the role of education, in particular the History
curriculum, in promoting civic values and called for greater prominence to be given to British
history in Citizenship classes :
― We should not recoil from our national history – rather we should make it more central to our
education. I propose that British history should be given much more prominence in our
curriculum – not just dates, places and names, nor just a set of unconnected facts, but a
narrative that encompasses our history. And because Citizenship is still taught too much in
isolation, I suggest in the current review of the curriculum that we look at how we root the
teaching of citizenship more closely in history. And we should encourage volunteers to be
more involved to help schools bring alive the idea of citizenship with real involvement in the
community‖. [Brown, 2006]
Jack Straw, the Leader of the House of Commons, has also called for a stronger ―British story‖
to reflect the heroic nature of the country‘s history and to foster a greater sense of citizenship.
His explicit concern was with a trend towards increasing segregation in some areas of the UK
with large Asian, principally Muslim, populations (including his own constituency of Blackburn).
Britain, he said, had much to learn from the way countries such as the US, Canada and
Australia told their national story. The British story would encapsulate the rights and
responsibilities that went with the ―non-negotiable bargain or contract‖ of being a British
citizen:

―We have to be clearer about what it means to be British, what it means to be part of this
British nation of nations and, crucially, to be resolute in making the point that what comes with
that is a set of values. Yes, there is room for multiple and different identities, but those have to
be accepted alongside an agreement that none of these identities can take precedence over
the core democratic values of freedom, fairness, tolerance and plurality that define what it
means to be British.‖‖ [The Times 26 January 2007]


Jack Straw recognises that these values are not exclusively British or indeed western: they are
common human values reflected in the charter of the United Nations. He argues that ―what is
uniquely British is the process by which these principles and ideals were gradually applied here‖:


―You cannot transmit these ideas without stories. We must…bring out the freedom that lies at the
heart of the story. That means freedom through the narrative of the Magna Carta, the civil war, the
Bill of Rights, through Adam Smith and the Scottish enlightenment, the fight for votes, for the
emancipation of Catholics and nonconformists, of women and of the black community, the second
world war, the fight for rights for minority groups, the fight now against unbridled terror‖. (Sunday
Times 29 April 2007)


This is a worryingly Whiggish, determinist and utilitarian view of the aims and practice of History
teaching in our schools. To be fair to Jack Straw he acknowledges that: ―There is a complicated
side to this story – that in seeking to secure our freedom through greater prosperity and greater
security, we looked like and often were oppressors to the Irish and to many of the peoples of the
British Empire‖.

But in terms of educational processes there are several more layers of complication than this.
Moreover, there are question marks about the degree of urgency around the integration/segregation
debate and the representativeness of the Blackburn context with which he is most familiar. Straw
himself cites a State of the English Cities report from 2006 showing that segregation fell between
1991 and 2001 in 48 of the 56 towns and cities studied (Blackburn was one of the eight towns
where segregation had increased).

In welcoming the Ajegbo Report, published in January 2007, the Education secretary Alan Johnson
announced that it would become compulsory for secondary school pupils up to the age of 16 to
learn about shared values and life in the UK in their citizenship lessons. He said that youngsters
would be encouraged to think critically about issues of race, ethnicity and religion with "an explicit
link" to current political debates, the news, and a sense of British values.


"More can be done to strengthen the curriculum so that pupils are taught more explicitly about why
British values of tolerance and respect prevail in society and how our national, regional, religious
and ethnic identities have developed over time…I believe that schools can and should play a
leading role in creating greater community cohesion. The values our children learn at school will
shape the kind of country Britain becomes."

In parallel to the musings of senior Labour politicians there has been much controversy over the
concept of multiculturalism, with some—notably Trevor Philips of the Commission for Racial
Equality—arguing that multiculturalism as commonly understood is not always helpful because it
privileges cultural difference and underplays structural inequalities:

―Integration only works if it both recognizes newcomers' differences and extends complete equality.
Celebrating diversity, but ignoring inequality, inevitably leads to the nightmare of entrenched
segregation.    There can be no true integration without true equality. But the reverse is also true.
The equality of the ghetto is no equality at all. Multiculturalism is in danger of becoming a sleight of
hand in which ethnic minorities are distracted by tokens of recognition, while being excluded from
the real business.‖ [Phillips, 2004]


Most recently, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has called for a more nuanced approach to
shared values and difference:


"Our cultural identity and difference must be balanced with a clear understanding of a shared
humanity and membership of one world. […] We need other human beings to help us be human.
We are made for interdependence, for complementarity. Our commitment as communities to
promote understanding and justice will create harmony longed for by all…. Multi-ethnic harmony
isn't the absence of conflict between different ethnic groups in the UK." [31 January speech,
Diocese of York website]
Earlier important political events also significantly influenced government policy in this area. For
example, the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, and the subsequent
inquiry into the police investigation of his murder, resulted in the MacPherson Report which found
that institutionalised racism permeated British society (MacPherson, 1999). In response, the
government passed the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) [RRAA], imposing an obligation
on all public bodies (including schools and local authorities) to actively promote race equality. In
2000 there was also an influential Commission on Multi-Ethnic Britain established under the
auspices of the Runnymede Trust which published the Parekh Report after which it became more
widely accepted that a diverse curriculum focus was an essential pre-requisite for understanding
contemporary British society. However, in a setback to positive race relations, the riots in the
northern towns of OIdham and Bradford in the Summer of 2001 – in large part the product of racial
tensions in these towns - led to the Cantle Report of 2001. This coined the term ‗parallel lives‘ and
led to several recommendations for improving community cohesion (including recommendations for
education and schools)(Home Office, 2001). Major international events, such as the 11 September
2001 and the London bombings in July 2005 have contributed to the debate on community
cohesion and shared values, particularly because the latter were perpetrated by British-born
Muslims.


On 15 May 2006, Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning,
announced, in a speech devoted to community cohesion, that the DfES was commissioning a
review of National Curriculum Citizenship's coverage of diversity issues and how modern British
cultural and social history might be incorporated into the citizenship curriculum :
― At all levels, I think education has a positive role. It can knock down prejudices; build
understanding between individuals and communities; empower deprived groups; and encourage
a climate of opinion, open, respectful debate. We recognise that this is not just about religious-
oriented issues, and that learning in this area has to start early in life and reflect the rich
diversity of our society. I am therefore pleased to announce a review, led by [Sir] Keith Ajegbo,
of how the national curriculum is covering diversity issues to meet the needs of all pupils‖
[Rammell, 2006]


Recommendations of the Ajegbo Report on Identity and Diversity

Teachers were invited by the National Curriculum programme of study for Citizenship (2000) to
explore ―the origins and implications of the diverse national, regional, religious, ethnic identities
in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding‖. Yet the Ajegbo
Report found that, ‗Issues of identity and diversity are more often than not neglected in
Citizenship education. When these issues are referred to, coverage is often unsatisfactory or
lacks contextual depth‖. This mirrored the evidence given by Scott Harrison, on behalf of
OFSTED, to the House of Commons Select Committee looking at Citizenship education:

"What we are finding is more teaching of what you might perceive as the central political
literacy/government/voting/law area than, for example, the diversity of the UK, the EU, the
Commonwealth, which are somewhat neglected, I think, because some of them are perceived
to be dull and some of them are particularly sensitive areas that some teachers go to with great
reluctance. I am talking about, for example, the diversity of the UK, which in the Order says, the
'regional, national, religious, ethnic diversity of Britain'. Some people find that difficult to teach."
[HMSO 2007]


The research evidence indicates that a common approach adopted by many teachers to the
teaching of controversial issues such as identity and diversity is to side-step them. There are
lessons to be learned from recent research in Northern Ireland. For example, in a detailed
critique of how one integrated school in Northern Ireland was approaching the teaching of
Education for Mutual Understanding, Donnelly (2004) argues that:


―Most teachers make ‗critical choices‘ which both reflect and reinforce a ‗culture of avoidance‘,
whereby poitical or religious contentious issues are avoided rather than explored‖.


The Ajegbo report says more could be done to ensure children "explore, discuss and debate
their identities within their citizenship lessons". He suggests that schools should be prepared to
tackle controversial topics in the news such as the debate over immigration, and the UK's place
in the European Union as well as the legacy of the British Empire. "It is the duty of all schools to
address issues of 'how we live together' and 'dealing with difference', however difficult or
controversial they may seem". Where can pupils bring those difficult questions if not to school,
he asks.

The Report argues that :


―In order for young people to explore how we live together in the UK today and to debate the
values we share, it is important they consider issues that have shaped the development of UK
society – and to understand them through the lens of history‖.

Specifically, the Report recommends that :


"A fourth "strand" should be explicitly developed, entitled Identity and Diversity: Living Together
in the UK. This strand will bring together three conceptual components:
      Critical thinking about ethnicity, religion and race.
      An explicit link to political issues and values.
      The use of contemporary history in teachers' pedagogy to illuminate thinking about
       contemporary issues relating to citizenship.

   The following areas should be included :


          Contextualised understanding that the UK is a ‗multi-national‘ state, made up of England,
           Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
          Immigration
          Commonwealth and the legacy of Empire
          European Union
          Extending the franchise (e.g. the legacy of slavery, universal suffrage, equal
           opportunities legislation)

The Ajegbo report also says more needs to be done to engage white, working-class pupils with
the issue of diversity. The report highlighted the poverty of many white, working-class children's
sense of identity:

"It makes no sense in our report to focus on minority ethnic pupils without trying to address and
understand the issues for white pupils….It is these white pupils whose attitudes are
overwhelmingly important in creating community cohesion. Nor is there any advantage in
creating confidence in minority ethnic pupils if it leaves white pupils feeling disenfranchised and
resentful. Many indigenous white pupils have negative perceptions of their own identity. White
children in areas where the ethnic composition is mixed can often suffer labelling and
discrimination. They can feel beleaguered and marginalised, finding their own identities under
threat as much as minority ethnic children might not have theirs recognised."


The curriculum can serve as a means of teaching pupils to face up to the realities of a changing
diverse and complex Britain and, indeed, wider world. It can help to provide pupils not only with
the knowledge to understand this complexity but also equip them with the essential skills for
them to survive it and participate in political debates themselves. It is encouraging that the QCA
draft programmes for revised KS3 and KS4 curriculum (February 2007) recognise that both the
History and Citizenship curricula can do more to encourage a more informed and nuanced
sense of identities and cultural diversity.


The Ajegbo Report is clear that Citizenship education has an important role to play in
developing the knowledge and skills for effective community relations, shared identities, and
safe ways in which to express difference. There are several messages to gladden the hearts of
Citizenship teachers and educators. The Report calls for headteachers to prioritise whole
curriculum planning for citizenship education:

― It is crucial that headteachers and leadership teams ‗buy in‘ morally and commit to Citizenship
education., not just as a ‗discrete‘ subject, but also in terms of developing a ‗citizenship‘ ethos
throughout the school and through community involvement‖ [Ajegbo Report, 2007: 86]


The report underlines that ―the evidence suggests Citizenship education works best when
delivered discretely – we recommend this as the preferred model for schools. We [also]
recommend greater definition and support in place of the flexible, ‗light touch‘ approach.‖ It also
recommends that ―ITT and CPD should explicitly address and develop clear conceptual
understanding, in part by focusing on, and strengthening, treatment of issues relating to the
‗political literacy‘ strand‖.


Reactions to the Ajegbo Report

For some commentators, the Ajegbo Report provided ammunition to criticise the place of
Citizenship in the curriculum and to argue for a stronger role for History as the ‗lead‘ discipline in
this area.


Sir Keith's report will be regarded as a damning assessment of the Government's citizenship
programme, introduced in 2002. The lessons were supposed to instil a sense of national pride
and civic responsibility and to teach pupils about democracy, tolerance and duty. An Ofsted
report published last year found that it was inadequately taught in more than a quarter of
secondaries. Teachers complained that they had little time to cover citizenship because they
had to concentrate on exam subjects. Some staff were reluctant to discuss British history and
immigration for fear of offending minorities. Sir Keith's report is likely to lead to a reassessment
of the citizenship curriculum… (‗Britishness and the class system‘, Julie Henry, Sunday
Telegraph 22 Jan 2007)

The Daily Telegraph adopted a similar line :

―The teaching of history in our schools is, unaccountably, not compulsory after the age of 14. If it
was, there would be no need for extra instruction in citizenship. It is through the teaching of
history that citizens of this country learn about the society in which they are now living. It is
arguable that, without the foundation of decent historical knowledge, citizenship lessons will in
any event be built on sand…Even the schools minister, Lord Adonis, has admitted that
comprehensive education has been a mistake. Rectifying that will take an immense effort, but a
start could be made not by introducing nebulous new courses on citizenship but by ensuring
that all school pupils spend their whole classroom careers learning about this country and what
made it — and them.‖ (‗‘Teach History and good Citizenship will follow‘, Daily Telegraph 26 Jan
2007).


Shadow education secretary David Willetts was less openly critical, welcoming ‗the broad thrust
of the Ajegbo Report‘ and acknowledging the importance of community cohesion, but he added
that: "Grounding citizenship on the teaching of British history is crucial…We believe citizenship
shouldn't just be taught in the abstract but linked very closely to narrative British history".


However, critics of the Report were not restricted to those on the right of politics. For example,
Philip Beadle,an Education Guardian columnist, agreed that plenty needs to be done to raise pupils'
attainment and sense of belonging, such as reconnecting with traditional working-class values, but
argued that the citizenship curriculum was not the right place.

"It's hard to overlook the irony of a government that actively encourages religious division by
promoting faith schools, trying to use teachers as a one-lesson-a-week sticking plaster over a
problem it has caused…You cannot have successful diversity in a system in which faiths are
educated apart from each other….Citizenship is a waste of a lesson in an already overcrowded
curriculum. Kids need to have a sense of where they have come from, but it's the duty of the
history curriculum to provide it." [Quoted in The Guardian 30 Jan 2007]

The progressive historian Tristram Hunt agreed that :

―The real issue is whether citizenship and debates about identity, belonging and diversity are
best delivered through a deeper teaching of British history or these separate classes on
Citizenship…According to the Education Secretary Alan Johnson, it is vital that children learn
about events and themes which have shaped the country we are today, including the
Commonwealth, Empire and Universal Suffrage; he was saying that within the context of the
Citizenship curriculum. I would suggest why not just give History teachers the space to teach
that through History lessons? The nature of modern British citizenship, an understanding of
who we think we are, is best approached through a historical framework‖ [Hunt, 2007]


Whilst there is no doubt that History can potentially play a central role in developing pupils‘
political learning and that History and Citizenship are natural ‗partners‘ within the curriculum, the
relationship is not as clearcut as the commentators would like to think. Few History teachers or
educationists would wish to endorse the kind of narrative history supported by the Daily
Telegraph , Prince Charles‘ Dartington Summer Schools and organisations such as ‗Civitas‘
who recommend H.E. Marshall‘s ‗Our Island Story‘ (1905) as a key seminal text for young
people in the early Twenty First Century. Moreover, historians are primarily motivated by a
desire to teach History not current affairs, and they have not been keen to pick up some of the
more active and participative elements that are at the core of Citizenship education (See Brett
2004 and references therein). Scott Harrison commented in evidence to the Education and
Skills Select Committee that the Citizenship curriculum presented challenges and opportunities
for History teachers but that ―I am not sure that the challenge has yet been taken up‖. History
has been acknowledged by inspectors as being one of the best taught subjects in schools but
even excellent History teachers have generally struggled to make explicit connections between
the past and present day issues.

The then Chief Inspector of Schools noted in November 2005 :


―We have criticised history departments for insufficiently addressing the issues of Britain's
diversity, its position in the world, and how this is explained by its past, not the least the legacy
of Empire and decolonisation. In most history curricula little time is spent on these issues…It
seems to me sensible that historians should find time to link the past with the present in a way
that specifically addresses the citizenship curriculum. And in looking at the past through the
eyes of historians, pupils also learn about issues such as human rights, a key feature of the
citizenship curriculum, and some would say, at the heart of what citizenship is about. History
provides many lessons about the abuse of human rights, but how many history teachers
challenge pupils to reflect on what they have learned about humankind's abusive actions in the
past; and what is being done today to ensure against such abuses happening again? [Bell,
2005]

It is not a case of either good Citizenship education or good History education – both are necessary
and important. They are complementary but have different core aims and purposes. Both areas are
also highly contested ! It is not necessary to set the two subject domains up as competitors.

Elsewhere, Nick Johnson, from the Commission for Racial Equality welcomed the report:


"Certain values may be universal, but their application through our history is unique to these
islands…Britishness does not need to be dominant and certainly not a domineering identity, but
it must be a significant common facet that we all can share. As such it is a key component in
developing greater ties that can bind society together."

Teacher unions were cautious about curriculum overload. "Diversity should not be added as a
separate requirement to an already overcrowded curriculum," insisted John Dunford, general
secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders; "Schools should be supported and
given resources to incorporate 'Britishness' and diversity education into their existing curriculum,
including citizenship lessons.‖ Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Union of
Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, said schools had a pivotal role to play in promoting
equality and diversity but the curriculum was already overloaded.


"Serious thought must be given to how schools can be supported in accommodating this scale of
change in the timescales envisaged without imploding"


Most people in the Citizenship education community would probably agree with the view
presented by Raji Hunjan of Carnegie Young People Initiative, when asked by the House of
Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills if she supported changing the curriculum
so that it had more of a focus on British cultural and social history—particularly if this was used
as means of engendering a sense of national belonging. She argued that a focus on Britishness
per se might be misplaced and unhelpful, risked isolating some young people who may not
define themselves principally as "British", and would also obfuscate the current worthwhile focus
on experiential learning and participation:


"It is then more experiential learning, which I completely agree with, it is about ensuring that the
views of young people can positively feed into decision-making. I think that the Government
would be better off supporting that and supporting young people to understand their rights and
responsibilities as active citizens, rather than forcing them to think about issues of Britishness,
which conflicts with other ways in which they might see themselves." [HMSO, 2007]


Columnists often reflected relatively critically upon the Ajegbo report‘s call for a greater focus on
‗core British values‘. The Times offered perhaps the sharpest critique (‗School Britannia - The
latest recommendations will not help to establish a national identity‘, 26Jan 2007):


―These proposals….proceed from the assumption that citizenship, national identity and
―education for diversity‖ are interchangeable notions. What should be an effort to focus on
common threads instead places its emphasis on holding up different strands to the light…
Approved sorts of history can come in through what the Department for Education and Skills
describe as ― new-style classes‖…This is highly selective history delivered in a lightweight
fashion…. this proposal is less Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill than Barney the Dinosaur
meets the Commission for Racial Equality… The teaching of Britishness should be sent back to
the drawing board. For whatever Britishness may be, it is surely not the mush that is now being
proposed for schools.‖
The concept of ‗Britishness‘ came under sustained attack. Matthew Norman in the Independent
suggested that Britishness was being held up to counteract the 'sense that Britain has become
unpalatably coarsened and grasping' ( ‗Naked greed and other core British values‘ – Independent
26 Jan 2007)


It was Gordon [Brown], a while ago, who advocated a "Britishness Day", and advised us to
emulate America by planting a Union flag in every garden - a dark irony to those of us who
doubt that the relentless drive to ape the United States, introduced by the Thatcher-Murdoch
axis and rigidly cemented by New Labour, has had a beneficial effect on those "core British
values" of which he affects to be so proud.‖

A leading article in the same paper asked, ―How come such an ugly and ill-defined word as
Britishness has come to occupy such a central place in ministerial thinking?‖ and concluded by
questioning, “whether a nation's values can be inculcated by a school syllabus. Are they not
generated by the political and social climate that prevails, and are they not, in truth, constantly
evolving? Promoting one set of values is mighty difficult if they are not the values that school
pupils, their teachers and local communities perceive all around them every day‖. (The
Independent 27 Jan 2007)

Leading Citizenship educators are likely to share much of this ambivalence about the concept of
‗Britishness‘. For example, Hugh Starkey argues that :


―Citizenship education in an age of globalisation should not be education for Britishness. It
should though, seek to encourage understanding of the core values, principles and procedures
that underpin British democracy, for it is these principles rather than a sense of national identity
that enable social cohesion. This implies education for cosmopolitan citizenship‖. [Starkey,
2007; For development of the concept of ‗cosmopolitan citizenship‘ see Held (1995) and Osler
and Starkey (2003)]


While all who study in Britain should feel that they belong here, many students and teachers
identify with other countries as well. Moreover, those who feel only a weak sense of national
identity may well be active citizens. The point was underlined by the newly elected President of
the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Baljeet Ghale, in a recent speech to an NUT conference:

―Ms Ghale said Education Secretary Alan Johnson had described the "values we hold very dear
in Britain" as "free speech, tolerance, respect for the rule of law". "Well, in what way, I'd like to
know, are these values that are not held by the peoples of other countries?" she said. She
wanted an education system that valued diversity and accepted her right to support Tottenham
Hotspur - but France in the European Cup, Brazil in the World Cup, Kenya in the Olympics and
India in cricket but England in the Ashes. "I certainly don't pass Tebbit's cricket test but none of
my affiliations make me a less valuable person or less committed to being part of this society,
but they do make me a global citizen." [ Reported on the BBC website, ―Britishness lessons
'fuel racism'‖, 7 April 2007)


Ironically, on the same day that the Ajegbo Report was published, the latest British social
attitudes survey revealed that a sense of Britishness was in decline with only 48% of people
living in England saying that British was the best or only way of describing their identity; this was
down from 63% in 1992. English, Welsh and Scottish identity, by contrast is markedly on the
rise. It begs the question whether the government is seeking for political reasons to mount a
defensive rearguard action to shore up a declining sense of identity through the classroom.
Moreover, ―what is ‗Britishness‘ apart from a fairly hackneyed litany of enlightenment ideals
including fair play, the rule of law and an outward going approach to the world? These are
hardly unique to these islands‖ (Hunt, 2007)


Nevertheless, there may be appropriate ways of squaring this particular circle. As Tony Breslin
from the Citizenship Foundation argues : "It's not about trying to pin down the meaning of
Britishness, but encouraging children to ask questions about what it means to live in Britain in
the 21st century. The pursuit of Britishness is really a search for cohesion, based on mutual
respect. When you understand another person's culture, you're much more likely to respect
them." [Quoted in The Guardian 30 Jan 2007]. In its written submission to the Education and
Skills Select Committee the Citizenship Foundation argued that :


―Students should be clear about the concept of multiple and changing identities and how they
engage these identities. The development of multiple identities is essential to all citizens, so that
they can reconcile personal or ‗private‘ values with those of the public community‖


It is also possible that Gordon Brown would support a more ‗cosmopolitan‘ interpretation of
Britishness – in earlier speeches he certainly showed awareness of the potential narrowness of
the term as an intellectual concept:

― As the Tebbit test and the Stephen Lawrence case illustrate, there are those who would retreat
from an expansive idea of Britishness into a constricted shell of right wing English nationalism.
My vision of Britain comes from celebrating diversity, in other words a multi-ethnic and multi-
national Britain…I understand Britishness as being outward looking, open, internationalist with a
commitment to democracy and to tolerance‖ [The Guardian 12 Nov. 1998]
The House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills, which published its report
on Citizenship Education soon after the Ajegbo Report was published, accepted his
recommendations ―That the Citizenship curriculum be adapted to have a closer focus on issues
of identity, diversity and belonging…There is a good case for increasing the level of attention
paid to such issues‖.

The Select Committee Report added that teaching approaches should not :


― imply an endorsement of any single explanation of British values or history. Indeed [coverage]
should emphasise the way in which those values connect to universal human rights, and
recognise that critical and divergent perspectives, as well as the potential to have alternative
and different layers of identity, are a central part of what contemporary Britishness is.‖ [HMSO,
2007]


Criticisms of the Crick Report on Identity and Diversity

There was substantial criticism of the Crick Report (1998) from the ‗left‘ of politics in relation to
what was seen as its inadequate conceptualisation of identity and diversity. Issues of racism,
multi-culturalism, social exclusion and discrimination warrant little discussion in the Report and
were seen by some influential and weighty academic critics as having lacked adequate
treatment [See, for example, Osler (2000); Hall (2000); Osler and Starkey (2000);Wilkins (2005);
Faulks (2006) and Gillborn (2006)]. Critics argued that the Crick Report failed to treat difference
plausibly or coherently. Diversity was seen as a problem to be managed (―the apparent loss of a
value consensus‖ – QCA, 1998:17) rather than an inherent and enriching element of society.
Osler and Starkey (2000):12), for example, argued that while the Crick Report makes greater
reference to difference than it does to equality, difference is 'portrayed as problematic, ignoring
the reality that in society there are likely to be tensions and that tensions can be creative and
not necessarily destructive'. Indeed Osler (2000: 34) concluded that the ―curriculum
proposals…appear to contain examples of unwitting racism and reflect institutionalised racism in
society'. Similarly, Gillborn (2006: 85) argues that ‗far from promoting anti-racism, in practice
citizenship education operates as a form of placebo‘ or worse – not only is citizenship education
failing to challenge racism and inequalities, but it is now ‗implicated in a series of policy
developments that threaten to worsen an already critical situation‘.

The Crick Report was interpreted as requiring a degree of cultural homogeneity and, in
emphasising the problematic nature of cultural diversity, critics argued that the report as a whole
underplayed the structural nature of racism that is a significant factor in the political alienation of
many black and asian heritage young people. The ongoing struggle for even basic equality of
opportunity is very much a live issue for Britain's ethnic minorities. Structural inequality is
particularly evident with regard to Britain's Muslim population. Data from the 2001 census show
that Muslims have the highest rates of unemployment, with levels of 14% amongst men, the
poorest health record, and the lowest level of educational qualifications, with 31% of men of
working age possessing no educational qualifications at all (Carvel, 2004). All these indictors
have serious consequences for levels of active citizenship and social engagement.

The Crick Report called for a restored ―sense of common citizenship, a national identity that is
secure enough to find a place for the plurality of nations, cultures, ethnic identities and religions
long found in the United Kingdom' (para 3.14), as opposed to a more subtle and realistic
conception of a community of individual citizens who refuse to be defined by just one aspect (in
this case their ethnicity) of their multiple identities. It has been argued that the Report is rather
condescending in tone in suggesting that 'due regard [be] given to the homelands of our
minority communities.' It reveals an underlying assumption that one's identity as a citizen must
be reduced to membership of single nation state (Osler, 2000). This is of course problematic for
many members of minority communities, whose cultural identities are multiple in character. The
Report has been seen as hierarchichal in arguing that 'majorities must respect, understand and
tolerate minorities and minorities must learn and respect the laws, codes and conventions as
much as the majority' (para. 3.16). Osler and Starkey (2001):293) argue that while the majority
merely has to 'tolerate' minority groups, it is assumed that minorities are 'less law-abiding than
those of whites'. Hoffman (2004):167) comments that, 'it seems that the dominant group is to
do all the teaching and the ethnic minorities all the learning!'

A further criticism of the Crick Report in this context is that it represents diversity under key
concepts, values and knowledge and understanding (QCA, 1998: 44 Fig.1) but not in relation to
active participation under ‗skills and understanding‘. This implies a ‗pedagogy of acceptance‘ – a
‗learning about‘ pedagogical approach to diversity rather than a more active approach where
diversity and participation are integrated as a process. The use of terms like ‗awareness‘ and
‗understanding‘ support this interpretation. Overall, critics regard the Crick Report as a missed
opportunity for developing a more radical, challenging approach to race equality in the
classroom. Thus Wilkins (2005) argues, for example, that :


― The Crick Report is rooted in a de-politicised multiculturalist perspective that locates racism in
the personal domain, a phenomenon of individual ignorance and prejudice, and suggests that
through teaching about other cultures, the white majority will come to understand (and so
respect and tolerate)minorities…Within this conceptualisation, the classroom is essentially a
neutral arena in which tolerance can be fostered by understanding, and equality of opportunity
can be achieved through the personal enlightenment that ensues. However, the RRAA takes
schools a step beyond this minimalist agenda, placing on them a duty to promote race equality.
This implies a proactive approach to challenging racism, including institutionalised racism.‖

Crick has not responded to his critics directly but some of his views can be inferred from a
recent book review covering the area of ‗Multiculturalism and Britishness‘. He is suspicious of
race as a loosely used concept. He also argues that attempts to define a specific content for an
overall Britishness – and increase the intensity of it for perhaps only short term gain – is likely to
unsettle minority ethnic communities. He suggests that leaders of Islamic and Afro-Caribbean
opinion in Britain might benefit from taking a longer historical perspective and that not defining
Britishness too closely has been helpful to integration in the past. Irish Catholics and Jewish
immigrants are good citizens ―without having lost their identity and by being left to themselves to
decide how culturally British (more precisely English or Scottish) they wished to be‖ :


―To talk of re-imagining Britishness is either as empty or as dangerous as the new ministerial
rhetoric of reasserting Britishness. Good laws and good behaviour make Britain a good enough
place to live in, with always the potential of being a better place; but better through a host of
small everyday actions and big public policies…If Britishness is to be reasserted at all it must be
seen as something strong but narrow: a political and legal culture, not a general culture…How
right most immigrants are to call themselves, for instance, British Asians and not English
Asians. They do not have to be assimilated to a general culture, only integrated with the
economic, legal and political culture‖ (Crick, 2006)


There is stronger pragmatic than intellectual case in defence of the Crick Report in relation to
its treatment of identity and diversity and the lack of references linking anti-racism to
citizenship. Crick was chairing an advisory group covering the full political spectrum and he
was acutely aware both of the advantages of achieving consensus behind the
recommendations of his group and of what was likely to be politically acceptable. It was
known that David Blunkett, who commissioned the advisory group as the then Education
Secretary, disliked the term ‗multi-culturalism‘. Anti-racist education had gained a (mostly
unfair) reputation in the 1980s and early 1990s as associated with the ‗loony left‘ and ‗political
correctness‘. It is worth noting that there were several other curriculum advisory groups
formulating proposals at around the same time in 1997-1999 who failed to secure the same
purchase and successful influence on policy making. It would appear that the relative
underplaying of references to identity and anti-racism was essentially based upon political
calculations. In speaking about this recently, Crick is quoted as saying, ―Lots of people said,
well, you haven‘t got anti-racism. I said, well, no, but we‘ve got tolerance and we need to
understand diversity‖ (Kiwan, 2007)

Crick thus argued that he had created sufficient ‗space‘ within education policy and practice to
pursue issues relating to topics such as multi-culturalism and racism. He noted of the
subsequent Citizenship Curriculum Order, What is not ruled in is not ruled out‖. [Crick 2000:
118]. Moreover, the subsequently developed Citizenship Programme of study and schemes
of work presented a more positive conception of diversity, referring, for example, to ―the need
for mutual respect and understanding‖ (QCA, 2000 and 2001). In the KS3 Schemes of Work,
anti-racism is referred to in Unit 4: ―Britain – A Diverse Society?‘ - although in the main this
takes the form of a ‗soft‘ celebratory multiculturalism, rather than a more hard-edged,
participative, and critical approach. Chris Waller from the Association for Citizenship Teaching
argued in evidence to the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee that the scope
existed within the current curriculum to undertake radical and active approaches to teaching
about identity and diversity without the need for any formal changes :


"Careful study of the Citizenship Programme of Study at Key Stages 3 and 4 and also the Crick
report would support the contention that there is already enough flexibility in the current curriculum
to address the concerns of ministers. The current curriculum was clearly designed to address
matters of justice, human rights, fairness and also to enable discussion about identity, rights,
respect and responsibility…‖ (HMSO 2007)

There is some strength in the argument that the existing National Curriculum as revised in 2000
contains enough scope and signposting for diversity issues to be addressed by citizenship
education teachers in the classroom. There are two aims of the school curriculum set out under
the over-arching statement of ‗values, aims and purposes‘ which stands squarely at the front of
the National Curriculum documentation – and both have plenty to say about identity and diversity.
Within Aim 1 (Opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve) it is noted that :

―The school curriculum should contribute to the development of pupils‘ sense of identity through
knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain‘s
diverse society..‖

Aim 2 (Promoting pupils‘ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development) notes the purpose of the
school curriculum in helping pupils to be :
―Responsible and caring citizens capable of contributing to the development of a just society. It
should promote equal opportunities and enable pupils to challenge discrimination and
stereotyping..‖

The (admittedly non-statutory) Personal, Social and Health curriculum at key stage 4 is explicit in
spelling out that students should be taught :

―About the diversity of different ethnic groups and the power of prejudice‖ and

―To challenge offending behaviour, prejudice, bullying, racism and discrimination assertively…‖

Evidently not all of the relative failings of schools to tackle issues of identity and diversity effectively
lie at the door of citizenship education or the precise wording of the Crick Report.

Overall, however, it is fair to say that the Crick Report did not discuss or develop the relationship
between Citizenship education, identity and diversity in any length or depth. Crick himself is on the
record as emphasising his belief in the importance of an indirect approach to racism (Crick 2000:
130-136). Discourses that polarise ‗majority‘ and ‗minority‘ cultures, whose differences are
perceived as distinct and problematic, are best avoided. In passing, it is worth adding that
curriculum guidance and citizenship educators generally tend to say very little about religious
identity which is identified in the Citizenship Order as the province of the Citizenship curriculum (cf
Gates, 2006). RE‘s primary purposes of developing open-mindedness and respect for all, engaging
with the meaning and purpose of life, celebrating diversity and exploring ethics in a global context
provide a supportive framework of values to support effective Citizenship education. Overall, the
Ajegbo Report offers an opportunity to take citizenship education forward in an area where the
Crick Report remained relatively (and deliberately) quiet and where there are positive opportunities
to define and share good practice. Schools can also do more to take ownership of the
responsibilities entrusted to them under the Race Relations Amendment Act of 2000.

Ways forward and teaching ideas on Identity and Diversity

1. Encourage Headteachers and Senior Leadership Teams to take identity and diversity
seriously and to address development issues in strategic ways


The evidence suggests that teaching about identity and diversity is limited when these issues are
not identified as a school priority. ―Headteachers set the strategic direction for their school. Without
their support, education for diversity will not be embedded at its heart‖ (Ajegbo Report (2007): 34).
Sir Keith Ajegbo made a plea in the foreword to his report to his former colleagues to take what he
was saying seriously:
―As a headteacher who recently retired after 20 years of headship, I know that sinking feeling when
another weighty report lands on my desk. My first thought was when will I have time to read it, let
alone act on it?‖

A strength of the report is that Ajegbo speaks with authority as a recent leader of an effective school
(Deptford Green in Lewisham) and understands the priorities of headteachers – this leads him to
make links to other key issues such as raising achievement and personalised learning.


As a baseline requirement the Race Relations (Amendment) Act requires schools to have a race
equality policy – yet according to the Commission for Racial Equality only 65% of schools have
fulfilled this statutory duty. It is also salutary for headteachers to be aware of the obligation –
signposted by OFSTED (2000) - that schools have to address the MacPherson Report‘s (1999)
recommendation 67: that the curriculum be ―aimed at valuing cultural diversity and preventing
racism, in order to better reflect the needs of a diverse society‖.

The DfES published an advisory document entitled ‗Community Cohesion. Education Standards for
Schools in 2004, drawing upon the recommendations of the Cantle Report (2001) which included
the following Standards :

―Curriculum content contributes to an appreciation of cultural diversity and challenges prejudice,
bias and stereotypes‖


―All staff and governors have the knowledge and understanding to provide opportunities to develop
common values of citizenship based on dialogue, mutual respect and acceptance of diversity‖


―All staff and governors have the knowledge and understanding to promote good community
relations and challenge discrimination‖.


In a recent change to legislation in this area (The Education and Inspections Act, November 2006)
there is now a duty placed upon the governing bodies of all maintained—faith and non-faith—
schools to promote community cohesion and a requirement on Ofsted to inspect and report on
schools‘ response to that obligation. The duties on both governing bodies and Ofsted will be
operative from September 2007. The government define community cohesion as :


―Working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all
communities; a society in which the diversity of people‘s backgrounds and circumstances is
appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a
society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the
workplace, in schools and in the wider community‖
The Secretary of State Alan Johnson characterised the changes in the way that OFSTED would
inspect schools thus :

―Ofsted already reports on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, assesses
personal development and well-being and evaluates learners‘ contribution to the community. In
doing so, it already picks up on many aspects of schools‘ work that contribute to community
cohesion. However, an explicit reference in legislation will ensure that all schools will be held to
account for their contribution. I have no doubt that Ofsted‘s new focus will highlight the excellent
work that is already taking place in many of our schools through creative and innovative
approaches to, among other things, the curriculum, personal development, out-of-classroom
learning and partnership working. Where there is more to be done, inspection will identify areas for
improvement and make recommendations, in the light of which schools will be expected to take
appropriate action‖. [House of Commons Hansard Debate 2 Nov.2006]


The Report recommends that the National College for School Leadership should ensure that
training in diversity and citizenship is an essential component within all leadership training. In
particular, the revision of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) should
include understanding education for diversity in relation to the curriculum, school ethos, pupil voice
and the community.


For headteachers and senior leadership teams with the enthusiasm and commitment to move
forward in this area, perhaps with their minds concentrated by the new OFSTED requirements,
there are a range of practical guides to assist with strategic and developmental planning (e.g.
Citizenship Foundation (2003); Runnymede Trust (2003); Dadzie (2001))

2. Link to the Every Child Matters Agenda


The links between Citizenship and the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda (cf DfES, 2003) have
been strongly affirmed by both HMI/OFSTED and politicians. For example, the recent House of
Commons Education and Skills Select Committee Report on Citizenship education concluded that :
― There is clearly a strong fit between the objectives of Citizenship education (CE) programmes, and
those of the ECM programme of reform…both, for example, stress the need for young people to
play an active part in society…,Successful CE, particularly the participation dimension, is likely to
help young people achieve one of the ECM key outcomes: that of making a positive contribution to
society‖ (HMSO, 1997)
Citizenship education at its heart has a commitment to enabling young people to participate fully in
a democracy, and ultimately, securing a cohesive and inclusive society. In particular, it has a role to
play in developing the skills for effective community relations, in developing shared identities, and
safe ways in which to express difference. At the heart of Citizenship education are questions such
as ‗What sort of society do we live in ?‘ ; ‗What kind of society and world do we want to live in in the
future ?‘; ‗What can I and others do to change things and make a difference to the world that we live
in ?‘. It is about being able to imagine a better local and global future and having the knowledge,
skills and self-confidence to take some practical steps to achieving that future (See Brett, 2005).

This vision is very much of a piece with the ECM agenda. The ECM agenda involves asking
children and young people what works, what doesn't, and what could work better, and involving
them on an ongoing basis, in the design, delivery and evaluation of services. It aims to ensure that
policies and services are designed around the needs of children and young people, and that they
are involved in decision making at a local and national level. Engaging children and young people in
this way gives them an opportunity to make a positive contribution in their communities. It also fulfils
an obligation to ensure children‘s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Successive reports from the Home Office‘s Social Exclusion Unit have shown that listening to
young people is a powerful means of persuading disadvantaged young people, in particular, that
they count and can contribute.

Schools are increasingly looking to sharpen the ECM focus beyond broad strategic generalisations
about multi-agency working and a theoretical commitment to the principles of inclusion to develop
the curriculum and everyday classroom practice. Citizenship is explicit in the inspection by OFSTED
of the Every Child Matters outcomes. Specifically, inspection criteria for ‗Making a positive
contribution‘ use the terminology of National Curriculum Citizenship. Schools that do not provide
good citizenship courses or opportunities for participation and action, and where pupils are not well
represented or listened to, will fall down when inspectors judge the school‘s outcomes in terms of
Every Child Matters. A great idea for a curriculum development meeting, involving senior teachers
and key curriculum leaders from (say) English, History, Citizenship, RE, Geography and PSHE,
would be to adopt the framework in Appendix 1 (an innovative diagram linking Every Child Matters
with global citizenship) to think through learning opportunities across the curriculum that might link
Every Child Matters with issues relating to identity and diversity. Some ideas are there already –
several of the key ‗global citizenship‘ concepts such as ‗Human Rights‘, ‗Social Justice‘, ‗Values and
Perspectives‘ and ‗Conflict Resolution‘ are likely to prompt further useful creative thinking [Equally,
it is important to be aware that colleagues in curriculum areas such as Maths and Science can also
make useful contributions (cf Maylor and Read et al (2007) Ch.7 ‗Educating for Citizenship through
teaching Mathematics)]
3. Map and then plan the curriculum to create coherence for the pupils


In most schools there is likely to be some good work happening in different curriculum areas or
through whole school or community projects which contribute positively to the identity and diversity
learning agenda. Equally, in most schools pupils‘ experiences are likely to be fragmentary,
incoherent and un-co-ordinated. The Ajegbo Report concluded that :


―Prior learning, clear learning objectives and progression are not always considered by teachers –
some pupils complained of boredom because of repetition but were unclear about how (or whether)
the content had developed, or how their conceptual thinking was developing across the key stage‖.


The report recommended that headteachers and senior managers should prioritise whole
curriculum planning across the school, and develop ways of linking Citizenship education effectively
with other subjects, with the ethos of the school, and with the community. Specifically :


―All schools should be encouraged to audit their curriculum to establish what they currently teach
that is meaningful for all pupils in relation to diversity and multiple identities. The QCA ‗Respect for
All‘ is a useful audit tool. In the light of this audit, all schools should map provision across years and
subjects and ensure that coverage is coherent‖.


An evaluative audit was described as a ―pressing need…before an appropriate curriculum is
designed to fill the gaps‖.[Ajegbo Report (2007): 29]


A project developed in Oldham demonstrates a good sense of what a ‗joined up‘ curriculum might
look like. The context for the Oldham project was framed by the riots in the town in the early
Summer of 2001. A subsequent independent review recommended that schools and Local
authorities work together to provide an Oldham focus to the KS3/KS4 Citizenship curriculum
(although there are also contributions from the disciplines of History, Geography, RE, and English).
Key questions underpinning the project included: what does it mean to be a citizen in an ethnically
diverse town? What are the core values relating to being British and being an Oldhamer? What
are the different cultural backgrounds within this context that thrive in Oldham? Alongside a range
of practical resources and adaptable lesson plans there is a sensitivity to the importance of clear
groundrules for a positive classroom climate and the handling of controversial issues.

The materials are ‗themed‘ conceptually by year group and provide a model of how progression can
be built into Citizenship schemes of work in terms of the complexity of issues addressed, levels of
intellectual and emotional challenge and the development of young people‘s knowledge,
understanding and skills. Each unit builds upon previous work. There is a parallel here in the work
  of the Citizenship Foundation in promoting a ‗Citizenship Manifesto‘ for specific schools and year
  groups. Indeed, a radical approach to curriculum development in this area would involve
  consultation with pupils at different steps in the process. In Oldham a team of teachers and advisers
  settled upon ‗Identity and Diversity‘ as the focus for Year 7; ‗Migration and Settlement‘ for Year 8;
  and ‗Segregation, Conflict, and Developing a United Oldham‘ in Year 9. The Year 10 programme
  focuses upon ‗Understanding and Tackling Racism‘ whilst Year 11 work came under the heading
  ‗Racism – a wider dimension‘. The latter includes adapting the excellent ‗My England‘ drama and
  support materials and unpicking events surrounding the murder of Stephen Lawrence.


  The individual activities are well-pitched, accessible and both teacher and pupil friendly. For
  example, the Year 7 programme provides an opportunity for individual pupils to reflect on how they
  feel about where they live and their hopes and fears. It does not dodge the existence and profile of
  far right political organisations in the town. There is a nice sense of ‗push‘ and ‗pull‘ migration
  factors in Year 8, whilst Benjamin Zephaniah‘s excellent poem ‗The British – serves 60 million‘
  copuld be a staple component of any lesson linked to the theme of cultural diversity. A thoughtful
  simulation activity in Year 9 – ‗Northland v Southland‘ provides a relatively non-threatening context
  for pupils to empathise with issues experienced by either an immigrant population or its host
  community. The pupils late explore directly the events of May 2001 in Oldham in the context of
  weighing up and evaluating ‗background factors‘ and ‗triggers‘. There are opportunities to explore
  positive ways forward through active citizenship projects and the development of school charters.

The Ajegbo Report acknowledges that there is no one-size fits all set of recommendations that it
could make in respect to curriculum organisation – ―There is no easily transferable template that
comes with ethnic, religious and cultural identity; communities across the UK are diverse in their
composition and present different challenges to schools‖. But there was a certainty in its conclusion
that :


  ―In order to acknowledge diversity effectively, the curriculum needs to provide resources that
  promote ‗collective identities‘ and challenge ideologies that build the social constructs of ‗the nation‘
  and ‗national identity‘ to the exclusion of minority groups‖ [Ajegbo Report (2007): 54;38]

4. Reflect upon the role of the History Curriculum in exploring issues relating to diversity and
identity


A proper sense of Citizenship includes knowing about the links between past and present. This is one
reason why the Crick Report was potentially so important for history teachers. Its recommendations
that pupils should leave school politically literate and aware of their rights and responsibilities, and
how they were derived, gives history teachers an exciting opportunity to re-assert history‘s relevance
to the modern world. A range of studies have underlined the capacity of History to illuminate key
Citizenship issues including identity (Phillips, 2003); European awareness and citizenship (Davies,
1995); values in the diversity of human experiences (Stow, 2000) global citizenship (Davies, 2001);
and social and cultural diversity (Haydn, 2001). The Ajegbo Report‘s recommendation in this area is
that :
―In order for young people to explore how we live together in the UK today and to debate the
values we share, it is important they consider issues that have shaped the development of UK
society – and to understand them through the lens of history‖.
He further recommends that there should be explicit links between the Programmes of study for
History and Citizenship education.


There is no doubt, however, that teachers will need help in interpreting what exploring
citizenship issues ‗through the lens of history‘ looks and feels like. This is acknowledged in the
report through recommendations to the DfES and QCA to develop guidance in this area and
possibly commission additional learning resources. Some interesting case studies are included
as appendices to the Ajegbo report with a focus upon migration (with a particular focus upon
‗What impact do Polish migrants have on the UK today?‘) and the slave trade. The Citizenship
focus of these case studies is admirable but historians may question how the historical context
is being deployed and the ambitious range of focus can appear to be a stretch (For example,
‗Within a chronological context, what are the factors that have led citizens to migrate to the UK
to live and work?‘). It is important to be wary of approaches to the past that do not respect
historical distance and that make it over familiar by simply mining it for examples of things we
think we already understand and recognise in the present.

There has been much debate in the History teaching community in England over the past 20 years as
to what should be included in the narrative of the nation with which pupils engage in schools. JGA
Pocock was surely right to argue that British history can only be understood as ―the interaction of
several peoples and several histories‖ (Pocock, 1982). It is becoming almost a commonplace
observation that the idea of 'Britishness' builds around a number of competing and intermixed
identities. Britishness does not imply British Asians, people of Afro-Caribbean heritage, or the Scots,
Welsh and Irish losing their own separate identities. There is also no doubt that History teaching can
help to develop more inclusive notions of identity. Yet the research review underpinning the Ajegbo
Report [Maylor and Read et al (2007): 19,26,55-58] highlights the wide range of authorities who have
criticised the way in which the History National Curriculum has adopted a Eurocentric approach and
failed to value cultural/ethnic diversity (for example, the Commission on African and Asian Heritage
(2005) and Parekh (2000) but many more references could be cited). Representations of the past can
serve to legitimise exclusive forms of identity. For example, whilst Asian and Black African and
Caribbean people played a significant role in fighting both world wars, this is often not apparent in
contemporary representations (the Imperial War Museum has a range of excellent resources to
enable teachers to ‗correct‘ this disparity).

Pinning down in practice precisely how the areas of History and Citizenship achieve their undoubted
potential for synergy and joint working has proved to be relatively problematic. Simply mapping an
overlap of content between History and Citizenship is not enough. Only when a sustained dialogue
and series of investigations is set up between past and present are the Citizenship opportunities likely
to be grasped. Teaching and learning subjects via cross-curricular routes is always complicated – co-
ordination of how Citizenship is taught through History and other subjects is complex and time-
consuming. Are there shared understandings across different school departments, including History,
as to the nature of the Citizenship National Curriculum – in particular the centrality of its ‗participation‘
strand ? Certainly, it is currently rare that History teachers will have received any Citizenship CPD.
How often is a Citizenship co-ordinator freed up to monitor the quality of Citizenship work undertaken
across different school subjects and spend time talking and joint-planning with, for example, the Head
of History ?


More positively, History can be a superb vehicle for cultivating moral sensibility and human sympathy.
Young people have a strong sense of equity and fairness. Many approaches linking Citizenship and
History within the school curriculum will seek to key into a sense of moral outrage and help young
people to make links between historical inequality or persecution and contemporary domestic or
global injustices. For example, the teaching resources developed by Terry Fiehn with Don Rowe
(2006) relating to the Abolition of the Slave Trade offer valuable perspectives, rich resource materials,
and engaging learning activities to structure young people‘s thinking about slavery and injustice.
The materials have a strong citizenship orientation. As the introduction puts it :
― What is remarkable is how ‗modern‘ the methods used by the early campaigners were – forming a
pressure group to lobby MPs, informing the public by newsletters, holding meetings, using
investigative reporting, petitions, local action groups, using products to promote the campaign and
consumer boycotts…Studying the anti-slavery movement provides a perfect vehicle for students to
learn about pressure groups and the tactics they use to influence government and decision-
makers…The focus here is on the way in which individuals, small groups and large groups can take
action to bring about change‖.
It is the lessons relating to the campaigning tactics of the Anti-Slavery movement where this resource
makes its most distinctive contribution. Role play, groupwork and presentation activities are
supported by tactics cards, briefing sheets (respectively for Campaign Leaders, Black Activists,
Women and the Wider Public) and contextual information relating to, for example, Thomas Clarkson,
William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano, Elizabeth Heyrick. The quality of information relating to the
Black London activists and to Female Anti-Slavery Societies is particularly strong and evocative.
Students plan campaign tactics and make presentations (in role). Many useful higher order questions
are suggested to teachers in order to prime and develop class discussion. For example :
-          How important were the roles of the different groups ?
       -   Do you think some groups were more effective than others ?
       -   What links can you see between this campaign and any campaigns today (e.g. Make
           Poverty History) ?


This is a resource which wears its presentist campaigning heart on its sleeve. A final section explores
‗Slavery Today‘ and issues such as the sex trade, forced labour, bonded labour, child soldiers, forced
marriage and the worst forms of child labour. In 2005 the International Labour Organisation estimated
that over 12 million people around the world have been denied freedom, de-humanised and treated
as property or bought and sold. Some of the case studies and individual stories underpinning these
themes are likely to have hard-hitting impact. The introduction argues that :
    ―There is still a campaign to be fought and much work to be done. This involves bringing pressure
    to bear on governments to stop slavery in the areas under their control and to support people who
    have escaped slavery. It also means campaigning for fairer, more equitable international trade and
    economic arrangements to help alleviate the poverty which underpins many aspects of modern
    slavery‖.


The authors acknowledge that they are not attempting to cover the history of the transatlantic slave
trade itself nor of life on plantations in British colonies. It therefore assumes some preparatory History
work before these lessons are undertaken. Explicit teaching of Citizenship in a History context may
mean on occasions interweaving History and contemporary politics lessons within the context of an
over-arching sequence of lessons.


As Ian Davies (2001) has written : ―It is a cause of professional concern that the links between history
education and citizenship education have in real terms been neglected. The outpouring of rhetoric is
a poor substitute for a few good lessons on a regular basis in all our schools‖. It may be that one
practical response of schools to the Ajegbo Report, in thinking more closely about the relationship
between Citizenship and History, is for the History department to identify at least one opportunity to
deepen pupils‘ knowledge and understanding of diversity issues in a natural way within each year
group at key stage 3. Lyndon (2006: 2) has suggested that black British History (from the Elizabethan
period onwards) can be integrated into the key stage 3 history curriculum schemes of work with ―little
disruption‖. Parekh (2000) underlined the importance of mainstreaming such teaching rather than
compartmentalising it (the well-meaning and well-resourced Black History month has been criticised
for having this unwitting effect). This is not to advocate ‗politically correct‘ notions of history but to
counter-balance previous neglect :
―Our pupils need to learn about…the Black contribution to British history. Not because the ‗ethnic
minorities‘ want to learn about Black heroes and Black heroines and so gain self-esteem, or
because in a culturally diverse society we want to teach tolerance and respect for minority
cultures…but because it is part of British history‖ (Visram, 1990: 170). As Crick (2006) has
observed, with a degree of asperity, ―British history is not just imperialism and the slave trade‖.


  History, Citizenship and Significance

      Three influential contributions to debates about History teaching [(Hunt (2000),Phillips
      (2002)and Counsell (2004)] have argued for a fruitful linkage between developing the idea of
      historical significance and approaches to Citizenship education. Phillips argued that historical
      significance had not received the attention that it merited in History teaching – ―this is rather odd
      because historical significance or resonance lies at the very heart of the subject. If history
      teaching is not about demonstrating the importance and significance of our subject then what is
      it about ?‖. Christine Counsell boiled these down to a catchy ‗5Rs‘. Historians tend to judge
      phenomena as significant when there are one or more of the following factors. The event was :
            Revealing – of some aspect of the past
            Remarked upon – noted as significant by people at the time or since
            Remembered – important at some stage of history within the collective memory of groups
            Resonant – People like to make analogies with it; it is possible to connect with experiences,
             beliefs and situations across time and space
            Resulting in change – it had consequences for the future
  Activity
  Ask pupils to study newspaper accounts of the 200th anniversary commemoration of the Abolition of
  the Slave Trade (which has generated quite substantial press coverage). The teacher might bring a
  sample of articles together on an intranet. A structured approach to significance (using the 5Rs) can
  be applied to the question, ‗How important was the 1807 Act abolishing the Slave Trade to our lives
  today ?‘.


  A similar kind of approach could be used to explore the impact and resonance of British colonialism
  and the Empire. Pupils will enjoy analysing the recent BBC series ‗Victoria‘s Empire‘, where Victoria
  Wood travels the world attempting to answer questions about the significance of the British Empire
  to the world today
5. Look to improve teachers’ subject knowledge in this area so that they can teach about
controversial issues with more confidence and assurance


Teachers need to try to develop their own knowledge around issues of diversity, identity, and race
equality so that they are in a position to help address pupils‘ misconceptions. There is also a need
for teachers to understand their own values, attitudes and prejudices towards diversity. The Cantle
Report (Home Office, 2001) stressed the need for teachers to have a good understanding of
diversity if they are to teach about shared values and facilitate social cohesion. It is helpful to be
aware of at least some of the key research literature and findings in this area (see Maylor and Read
et al. , 2007). For example, what is the law around this issue.? Pupils need to understand that free
speech is not an absolute. Racist comments have no place in schools and schools have a statutory
obligation to monitor, record and act upon racist incidents. Article 13 of the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child states that, ―Children should have the right to freedom of expression…as long as
this does not harm the rights and reputations of others‖


Equally, don‘t expect to know the answers to every current issue relating to identity and diversity.
For example, the various issues around the recent legal case of a teaching assistant upholding her
right to wear the hijab in a Primary school were complex. It is more important to think what the good
questions are and to field answers positively, acknowledging complexity and grey areas. What good
citizenship teaching can bring to such a topic is a focus on how competing claims and rights can be
reconciled in society (for a clear account of some of the pedagogical challenges for teachers in
structuring learning around diversity and equality, see Rowe (2006)). Good resources to prompt
thinking about diversity in Britain include the Commission for Racial Equality‘s website –which
includes an interactive map showing where the UK‘s main ethnic groups live
(http://www.cre.gov.uk/diversity/map.html) and the Channel 4 Black and Asian History Map.


Developing subject knowledge confidence and skills is not easy. Headeteachers might encourage
at least one person from their schools to sign up for one of the DfES-sponsored Citizenship CPD
Certification courses to undertake additional work and reading in this area. The Citizenship CPD
competences include demonstrating an understanding of :
―the law as it relates to the all aspects of citizenship including the teaching of controversial issues,
confidentiality and child protection‖        and
―recognising and having strategies to consistently challenge prejudice; and having strategies to
appropriately manage discussions of sensitive, controversial and topical issues, including
spontaneous issues raised by pupils‖
[For advice on Citizenship teaching and the law – particularly in relation to the Race Relations
Amendment Act (2000) and schools‘ responsibilities to promote community cohesion see Rowe
(2007)]


The Report noted that :
―We were struck by the evidence that following the bombings of 7/7 there were many schools that
chose silence as the best way of coping with the complexity of the situation. They simply did not
know how to cope with the questions pupils were asking. Schools need support, structures and
training to be able to develop safe environments in which constructive learning dialogue can take
place‖ (Ajegbo Report (2007): 68)


Leading training figures in the Citizenship world acknowledged the importance of staff development
in the area of identity and diversity in their recent evidence to the House of Commons Select
Committee on Citizenship education. For example, Bernadette Joslin, the leader of the LSDN post-
16 Citizenship project commented that :
―Citizenship for me is all about getting young people to debate, in a supportive environment, key
topical social and political issues, and this is one that has come up from the young people
themselves. I think staff need support in managing those discussions with young people, and that is
a priority, I am sure, for pre-16 colleagues as well as post-16 colleagues. Staff feel quite anxious
about it and lacking in confidence‖.
Chris Waller the Subject Officer for A.C.T. agreed :
―Citizenship provides an opportunity to think about lots of different issues, controversial issues, the
grey areas in life, but these require the right skills and time for the teacher to explore them in a
meaningful way and in a way that is going to enable young people to leave that class thinking, "I
want to come back for more of this", but also, "It was worth going to that lesson, was it not?" As we
have already heard, this requires an investment in professional development and in timetable time,
but also legitimising the risk that exploring these issues takes‖. (HMSO, 2007)


6. Develop partnerships to ensure that pupils’ work in schools links to what is going on in
and beyond their communities

A healthy multicultural society engages in dialogue and democratic interaction that crosses social
and cultural boundaries. Schools are institutions that can help to build bridges and break down
barriers in communities where young people may be living ‗parallel lives‘. An important aspect of an
inclusive citizenship necessarily includes a positive and active approach to anti-racism and human
rights. The Report underlines that schools should seek to harness and build from their local context:


―As key agents in building community cohesion, unless schools anchor their education for diversity
within their local context, they risk tokenism rather than a practical solution, scratching the surface
instead of exploring opportunities. We have seen many examples where the excellent work of the
school has made a difference to a community beyond the pupils it teaches‖ [Ajegbo Report (2007):
54]

The Report made some specific recommendations in this area :

―Schools should build active links between and across communities, with education for diversity as
a focus. These links might range from electronic links (local, national, and global) to relationships
through other schools (for example as part of a federation), to links with businesses, community
groups and parents. These links should be encouraged particularly between monocultural and
multicultural schools‖


School linking can be a powerful resource for education for mutual understanding and partnership,
although it is important that they are developed in such a way as to be sustainable. It also helps if
there is a shared curriculum focus. In Geography/Citizenship classes, for example, pupils in partner
schools might study their communities and neighbourhoods, sharing information and developing
their own ideas about the kinds of leisure facilities that could and should be provided in a local area.
The collaboration could be extended to include global and environmental issues.
[There are many sources of good advice on school linking – for example,
 www.globalgateway.org.uk , www.globaldimension.org.uk and for more ‗local‘ linking
Lancashire‘s ‗School Linking in Diversity Education‘ project at www.slide.lgec.org.uk]


Engagement through sporting contexts can also encourage young people to explore the whole area
of identification with particular communities, countries, regions, institutions or religions. Sport is a
potent agent in national identity; it can bring to life the ‗imagined community‘ that makes up a nation
and help to gloss over the divides of race, class, region and gender. Robin Cook amplified this point
in a speech on ‗Britishness‘ as Foreign Secretary in April 2001, noting that the concept of identity
was not mutually exclusive : ―It embraces numerous dimensions, each of which serves to amplify
and reinforce the others‖. He observed that people watch Scotland, England, Wales and Northern
Ireland in football, cheered for a British team at the Olympics and supported Europe playing golf in
the Ryder Cup. The notion of multiple-identities and exploring children‘s consciousness of these
identities is one of the areas at the heart of citizenship. Sport provides partnership opportunities to
play together, break down barriers, and appreciate common ground.

In partnership with local agencies (such as churches, local authorities, councils or Non
Governmental Organisations) it is worth identifying (perhaps through the school council) real-life
projects which might help to build community cohesion. Teaching and learning approaches that
foreground active, participative citizenship projects in which young people have a genuine sense of
ownership can clearly be seen as investing in social capital and improved race relations for the
future. However, one clear danger of a focus on social capital is that, as with all capital, the greater
stocks you have initially, the stronger is your potential position to develop more (Zacharakis & Flora,
1997). Schools may not serve one community but in effect several fragmented and diverse
communities. It needs to be acknowledged that sometimes partnership building is not easy and on
occasions will need to take the form of small but secure steps forwards.


Activity

Ask students in different classes across a year group to identify a ‗challenge‘ or ‗opportunity‘
relating to community cohesion and produce a TV advertisement promoting some positive
solutions. This is to be performed on stage in the school hall in front of the rest of the year group
and invited community representatives. All students take part in some (negotiated) capacity and
groups are invited to include banners, slogans, jingles, songs, and musical accompaniment. Pupils
peer assess one another‘s presentations against criteria that they have been involved in creating.
They subsequently critically evaluate what they have learned in relation to Citizenship knowledge,
skills and participation.


Effective partnership working will be crucial to the success of the enrichment ‗Who do we think we
are?‘ weeks suggested by the Ajegbo Report (p.13 and 99) and which it hopes become a staple
part of the national calendar. There are opportunities to work closely with museums, libraries, local
authorities and community groups and build towards substantive events such as exhibitions,
celebrations and debates, involving not only the school but also the community looking at ‗who they
are‘.


7. Engage Hearts as well as Heads in order to channel pupils’ idealism

Teaching young people for and about identity, cultural diversity and racism needs to engage hearts
as well as heads. The well-known work of Daniel Goleman on emotional intelligence seems to have
made little impact on Citizenship textbooks or schemes of work (e.g. Goleman, 1996). Feelings of
belonging and loyalty are highly potent for national, regional, racial, ethnic and religious
communities. Issues that have a moral connotation engage young people through compassion,
anger or moral outrage. Within the early QCA units of work (QCA 2002) there was a welcome unit
of work on ‗Challenging Racism and Discrimination‘ at key stage 4, which included reference to the
murder of Stephen Lawrence. But even here there was little sense of the power of love, fear or rage
as motivations to action in any community. Citizenship teachers need to acknowledge and channel
emotional responses to issues such as racism, prejudice and discrimination. Learning about racism
cannot change profoundly felt attitudes and values without a serious engagement with students‘
inner selves.

Identity is central to engagement (which is in turn central to effective citizenship education). To
become involved requires that one have a sense of ownership of an issue, and that one defines
oneself as a member of a group or as a holder of particular beliefs. The data (for example from
IAEA International surveys (cf Torney-Purta and Amadeo 2003)) shows that civic knowledge is not
enough; such knowledge has to be salient to the individual through the experience of participation
in relevant action. Voluntary community activities, and campaigning and protest activities are highly
effective means of equipping young people with the identity, values, skills and efficacy that make
them effective participants (cf Haste, 2004; Brett 2006). This helps to explain, for example, why the
creation of school or town anti-racism charters, musical or artistic campaigns against injustice, and
creative engagement with campaigns such as ‗Kick racism out of football‘ and ‗Show Racism the
Red Card‘ can be such powerful experiences for young people [‗Let‘s Be Positive‘ is a good
example of such a project. This is a musical collective of young people from Tottenham, North
London who in December 2006 received the Philip Lawrence Award. ‗Let‘s Be Positive‘, formed by
Yemi Akinfenwa, promotes self-empowerment and encourages young people to engage with social
and political issues through music (See http://www.4children.org.uk/pla/)]. Teaching diversity,
belonging and place in society without relating it to the daily life experiences or observations of
students risks at best apathy and at worse a rejection of key elements of the Citizenship curriculum.


Conclusion

This paper has undertaken to explore several areas around identity and diversity. It has outlined the
political context of the Ajegbo Report and indicated that whilst politicians may have willed the ends
of mutual understanding and a common sense of shared British values they have an under-
developed appreciation of the educational means. In particular there is a lack of understanding of
the relationship between History and Citizenship education. The key recommendations from the
Ajegbo Report are summarised and underlined. The paper goes on to explore the reception of the
Ajegbo Report by the media and the wider educational world. Those newspapers and
commentators unconvinced of the merits of Citizenship education or misconceiving of its purpose
and focus were unlikely to be converted by the Report. The concept of ‗Britishness‘ received a
mainly deserved mauling. It is important that young people are able to transcend narrow national
perspectives in learning about identity and diversity and root their thinking within a more global
perspective of human rights. A fourth section reviewed the criticisms that have been made of what
the Crick Report had to say about identity and diversity and whilst acknowledging the validity of
much of the critique, underlined the pragmatic calculations that Crick‘s advisory group had to make
if their broader recommendations on Citizenship education were to gain purchase and receive
statutory force.

The final section identifies seven key strategic messages from the Ajegbo Report and develops
suggestions for ways in which they might be taken forwards. In particular, the key role of
headteachers in supporting effective citizenship education is emphasised along with the significant
links to the new Community Cohesion statutory guidelines and the Every Child Matters policy
agenda. Some distinctive characteristics of effective Citizenship teaching such as partnership
building, community involvement, and the teaching of controversial issues are discussed as key
areas for professional development in the wider teaching profession. Citizenship co-ordinators are
encouraged to have discussions with History subject leaders as the curriculum adapts to the
revised National Curricula at key stages 3 and 4. Teaching suggestions are made, and resources
recommended, which will encourage young people to address issues relating to identity and
diversity with creativity and idealism.


No-one should underestimate the importance of educating effectively and imaginatively to help
young people gain an informed sense of some of the key issues relating to identity and diversity. An
international consensus panel on education for global citizenship in contexts of diversity led by
Banks et al (2005) concluded that individuals needed to be educated to understand the tensions
that exist between achieving unity within diverse communities :


― Multicultural societies are faced with the problem of creating nation-states that recognise and
incorporate the diversity of their citizens and embrace an overarching set of values, ideals and
goals to which all citizens are committed. Only when a nation-state is unified around a set of
democratic values such as human rights, justice and equality can it secure the liberties of cultural,
ethnic, language, and religious groups and enable them to experience freedom, justice and peace.
Citizens who undrrstand this unity-diversity tension and act accordingly do not materialise from thin
air; they are educated for it‖ [Banks et al (2005): 7]




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Appendix A




NB I am grateful to Margot Brown from the Centre for Global Education, York and
   Andy Coulson from Wigan MBC for permission to use this excellent diagram

				
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