HC Deb 15 February 2000 vol 344 cc472-3W
Mr. Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in respect of the inclusion in the National Curriculum of citizenship studies in schools, what consultation took place, and with whom, prior to the adoption of such studies; to whom and when draft proposals were sent for comment; what specific requirement is made in respect of information and instruction concerning the European Union and consequential citizenship obligations; what material for use of (i) teachers and (ii) pupils in respect of the European Union is made available through departmental channels; and if it includes a package entitled, Euroquest. [109435]

Jacqui Smith

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority consulted widely on proposals for a framework for Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education between 13 May and 23 July 1999 as part of broader proposals for the review of the National Curriculum.

The proposals were sent to all schools. In addition, 4,000 copies were sent to other major organisations including central educational organisations, subject organisations, professional associations, Local Education Authorities and faith groups. In all, nearly 80,000 copies of the proposals for Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education and over 50,000 copies of the full consultation materials were distributed. In addition to the paper consultation, MORI held discussions with a number of focus groups of teachers, parents and governors.

Questionnaires were returned by nearly 2,500 people and organisations—including over 600 schools, nearly 1,000 teachers, almost 200 parents, nearly 100 school governors, 90 Local Education Authorities, and over 20 employers. Details of the questionnaire responses and the responses of the focus groups were published in September. They showed a high degree of support for the proposals.

The Citizenship programme for secondary schools—to take effect, subject to Parliamentary approval, at the start of the school year 2002—provides for pupils to be taught about: the world as a global community, and the political, economic, environmental and social implications of this, and the role of the European Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations at Key Stage 3 and the United Kingdom's relations in Europe, including the European Union, and the relations with the Commonwealth and the United Nations at Key Stage 4.

During the UK Presidency of the European Community from January to June 1998, an information and resource pack for schools, Partners in Europe, was produced and distributed by the four education departments in the UK, in response to requests from teachers to update materials that were already in use in the classroom. The pack offers case studies of how schools have incorporated the European dimension into work which meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. It was produced in conjunction with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges. The material is available from the Department's website. It is designed for use by teachers and its use is voluntary.

I understand that the Euroquest booklet was funded entirely by the Representation of the European Commission in the UK, and that the content of the booklet was produced in collaboration with a number of UK educationalists and the Central Bureau for International Education and Training. One million copies were produced and approximately half have been distributed to schools on request.