Current challenges for citizenship education in England

Ian DAVIES, King Man Eric CHONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss current challenges for citizenship education in England. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a relatively brief overview of the reasons for the introduction of citizenship education into the National Curriculum. Then, it describes the different versions (in 2002, 2008 and 2014) of the National Curriculum for citizenship. Finally, this paper draws attention to the issues that explain the reasons for the radical change in status and nature of citizenship education evidenced by the 2014 version of the subject. Findings– Following the period 1998-2010 in which citizenship education became research informed and professionally developed, policy makers now since 2014 seem to be involved in the development of citizenship education in the National Curriculum in the form of promoting knowledge about civics, willingness to volunteer and a commitment to manage responsibly personal finances. In 2014 policy makers have confirmed the place of citizenship education in the National Curriculum but its nature, the relative lack of attention devoted to it and the growing official commitment to character education which emphasises personal morality rather than citizenship education suggests that it has lost a lot of ground. This paper argues that there are parallels between what we felt had happened at earlier points, principally, the early 1990s, when political education had been rejected in favour of a particular form of citizenship education (i.e. volunteering); and the situation in 2014 when volunteering and character education are now officially preferred. Originality/value– This paper argues for a need to address key current challenges in citizenship education in the context of earlier development. Copyright © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-36
JournalAsian Education and Development Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Davies, I., & Chong, E. K. M. (2016). Current challenges for citizenship education in England. Asian Education and Development Studies, 5(1), 20-36.


  • Challenges
  • England
  • Citizenship education
  • National curriculum


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