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Reports Part of series: Education and democracy & History of education: BERA Brian Simon Fund research reports

Agenda for Citizenship Education (ACE)

Funded by the Brian Simon fellowship grant, this research project on the topic ‘education and democracy’ focused on formulating a new ‘agenda for citizenship education’ that builds on teachers’ progressive practices and aligns with young people’s interests, needs and community experiences. The major outcome was a set of recommendations for what citizenship education should look like for the next 25 years, which would be used for two main purposes:

  1. To lobby politicians to inform the development of education policy in the aftermath of the next general election.
  2. To reinvigorate professional debates within the citizenship education community about how to interpret the current citizenship programme of study, and how to promote this to school leaders.

Report summary

Citizenship education has been through several programmes of study since it was introduced into the national curriculum for England in 2002 and we may be due another curriculum review soon. This project is a collaborative endeavour, working with academics, secondary school students and their teachers to identify a clear agenda for citizenship education for the future. We have worked with 25 student co-researchers to identify 10 key recommendations.


The curriculum should provide students with opportunities to learn about:

  • Real-life politics not idealised textbook models.
  • How citizens make a difference, including voting, volunteering, activism, strike action and so on.
  • The lived realities of equality and inequality.
  • The NHS as an example of British citizenship.
  • How personal and public finances are connected.


The curriculum should enable students to learn through:

  • Active learning strategies including learning by doing.
  • Discussing controversial and sensitive issues in safe environments.
  • Considering a diverse range of perspectives in relation to content.
  • Peer-education and co-constructed resources.
  • School-specific curricula that reflect the local context and respond to young people.


Profile picture of Lee Jerome
Lee Jerome, Dr

Professor of Citizenship & Children's Rights Education at Middlesex University

Dr Lee Jerome is Professor of Education at Middlesex University, where he is course leader for the MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies. He explores three main themes in his research and writing: citizenship education, children’s...

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Faiza Hyder

Teacher at Middlesex University

Faiza Hyder has worked as a primary school teacher for more than 10 years in various London boroughs including Barnet and Islington. She recently graduated from Middlesex University with a distinction in her master’s degree. Her research...