A Citizens’ Curriculum: A new agenda for Government

20th May 2015

The Citizens’ Curriculum taps into what motivates adults to learn. It helps people experience learning which is relevant and useful to their lives, their needs and their work, focusing on digital, health, financial and civic skills, while improving their English and maths.


Pilot projects and their learners are showcasing how the Citizens’ Curriculum has transformed lives and persuading policy-makers to better support the programme, at an invite-only event in London today, held in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of NIACE.


David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:


“Our success as a nation depends on ensuring all citizens have the skills they need for life in 21st century Britain. Yet today one in four adults in England do not have the basic maths skills needed for everyday life, one in six do not have the basic literacy skills required, 850,000 people could benefit from improving their English language skills, and 9.5 million people lack the basic digital skills to e-mail friends and family, apply for a job or search the internet.


“Something has to change and that’s why NIACE has been working, with BIS support, to develop the innovative Citizens’ Curriculum concept. It underpins a ‘study programme’ approach shaped by learners to interlink basic skills in language, literacy and numeracy with digital, financial, health and civic capabilities. The aim is to build a way of learning that is more engaging than current ones.”


Eoin Parker, Director for Pre-employment and Basic Skills at BIS, is responding on behalf of the Government and the following Citizens’ Curriculum pilot projects will showcase the positive outcomes they’ve had on young adults, people in and released from prison, vulnerably housed people, migrants and families:


Addison Barnett, Basic Skills Manager at St Mungo’s Broadway, said:


“The St Mungo’s Broadway Basic Skills team and our clients are honoured to be part of the Citizen’s Curriculum event. The programme at our Residential College aims to provide homeless clients with the skills to live independently and help to engage with active citizenship within their community. The mix of English and maths skills, cooking and creative activities, such as drama and podcasting, provide a holistic programme which our clients find great value in for their recovery.”


Dermot Bryers, ESOL tutor at English for Action London, said:


“The Citizens’ Curriculum really works for us. Embedding digital and numeracy skills into our ESOL classes makes sense for our learners. Language learning needs context and the citizens curriculum provides context that is authentic, relevant and, through the emphasis on civic participation, also empowering.”