Teaching New Subjects: citizenship and curriculum reform

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Social Sciences


The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between children and young
people's (CYP) civic engagement and curriculum reform, specifically the current program of
educational reform in Wales resulting from Professor Graham Donaldson's Independent
review of curriculum and assessment (Successful futures, 2015).
Whilst CYP are precluded from some forms of civic engagement (national elections, jury
duty etc) they do have other opportunities to engage in civil action in the form of for
example, school elections, youth parliaments, voluntarism, environmentalism and political
However, with the UK government acknowledging falling democratic and political
participation (Uberoi, 2015), especially amongst the young, the debate surrounding
citizenship pedagogy has intensified. In this context the current reform offers a unique
opportunity to directly compare two educational approaches and their impact on the
perceived problem of falling civil engagement among the young.
At the heart of this research then is the question of whether civic engagement is best 'taught'
through the official curriculum or 'learnt' through experience.
This study will continue the collection and analysis of WMCS data and in so doing,
contribute to the data set available on the WISERD multi-cohort study, this in turn can be
utilized by other researchers.
The literature review found no CYP voice focused research relating specifically to the notion
of civic engagement and curriculum reform - although much exists in relation to CYP voice
and curriculum design more generally. It is in this gap that this study hopes to further the
current understanding in the field and contribute to the current literature.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2436660 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2023 Robert Gareth JAMES