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PGCE Citizenship (11-18)

About the course



GTTR Code:

One year full-time


The programme is taught at the Canterbury Campus but a significant amount of time is spent in school.

All PGCEs include the option of studying for a Postgraduate Certificate with Masters Level Credits or a Professional Graduate Certificate

Open Events

What is Citizenship Education? 

Citizenship has been a statutory part of the secondary school curriculum in England since September 2002. This new subject has an exciting curriculum and very ambitious objectives about our vision of society and the world. Desmond Tutu said that an aim for us all is to ‘Create a society where people matter more than things’, an aim which has been written into the citizenship education National Curriculum document. Bernard Crick, formerly the Government’s chief adviser on citizenship education says: ‘Citizenship is more than a statutory subject. If taught well and tailored to local needs, its skills and values will enhance democratic life for us all, both rights and responsibilities, beginning in school and radiating out’.

Citizenship is a way of behaving, thinking, and learning which supports personal and community development and life-long learning. The course develops a broad view of education for active citizenship learning, one which is not restricted to traditional classroom teaching. Citizenship centres on the learner, and opportunities are offered in a range of contexts both in and out of school to enable the development of informed citizens with skills of enquiry and communication, participation and research. Making this vision of citizenship education real is one of the most exciting challenges facing schools and teachers today. At its best, citizenship education enables young people to identify and play an active role in the many layers of their own citizenship from local to global.

Who can teach Citizenship?

Citizenship education includes teaching about local, national and global rights, responsibilities and politics. It also includes exploring spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues, and teaching young people how to participate in the community. It overlaps with many other school subjects including PSHE, RE, History, Geography, English and Science. Citizenship teaching appeals to people who are deeply interested in the personal development of young people as they change to become active and responsible members of society.

Graduates in any discipline are welcome to apply, particularly those whose subjects would not have traditionally qualified them for secondary teacher education (e.g. politics, law, philosophy, environmental studies, international relations, psychology, development studies, sociology), so that they can come into secondary education and use their expertise. Course members need to be enterprising and imaginative, prepared to take responsibility for their own professional development, and determined to shape the future of citizenship education and make a difference to the lives of young people. We are interested to know what knowledge and experience applicants have in their backgrounds, as well as their degree level studies, which makes them believe citizenship education is the right subject for them.

However, we are particularly looking for applicants who can show us that they have the confidence, enthusiasm and initiative to be part of a new development in education. They will need to be capable of working collaboratively with teachers as they develop their approaches to the subject, and to work with other adults in the community. Candidates should also have recently spent some time in a secondary school setting and observed classroom practice. Applicants who have no evidence of this, or who have no experience of working with young people, are unlikely to be invited for interview. Above all, they will need to be as passionate about the importance of this new subject as we are.

What Happens on the Course?

Our partnership schools have a variety of organisational styles for Citizenship and so the course promotes team work, sharing, and flexibility. This includes a collaborative teaching element in which student teachers work in teams to respond to school-provided guidelines to plan and deliver whole-day citizenship activities, working with practicing teachers and school pupils to enable their development in citizenship as well as the development of the student teachers. As Citizenship can be taught through other subjects as well as being offered as a separate subject, most students will have the opportunity to develop skills and insights pertaining to other parts of the school curriculum. This can include A-level and/or vocational qualification teaching if appropriately qualified in relevant subjects, as well as involvement in a range of subjects at Key Stage 3 and 4.

As well as input from course tutors, there are contributions from other leading exponents of Citizenship education based in the University and from further afield, and from a number of local, national and international agencies. There are also contributions from practicing teachers of Citizenship, including former members of the course teaching locally.

The course examines practical issues such as where and how Citizenship can be delivered and its introduction managed. There is an emphasis on ways in which citizenship education affects – and is affected by – whole school issues, the wider community, classroom styles, and management. Attention is also paid to ethical and philosophical issues underpinning competing notions of citizenship. To complement both abstract and practical elements of the course, students are required to read extensively and to complete a series of activities designed to develop them as reflexive professionals as well as highly effective classroom practitioners. University sessions involve a variety of teaching and learning styles and strategies to enable the development of models for students’ own teaching. Reflection on students’ experiences as learners and practitioners provides a basis for developing professional awareness.

How to Apply

Applications for the full-time PGCE 7-14 and 11-18 are made electronically via the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)

There is no general closing date, but each programme or subject pathway is closed when it becomes fully subscribed. Early application is strongly advised, both because some subject programmes fill quickly, and because it will help you to plan for your PGCE course if you can get early confirmation of a place.

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