Identity and Diversity: Citizenship Education and looking
forwards from the Ajegbo Report
Political Context of the Ajegbo Report
Recently a number of government ministers have made speeches reflecting upon their understanding of ‘Britishness’, often linking explicitly to Citizenship education. Ministers see schools as key places to promote understanding between communities and to combat intolerance and religious extremism, particularly in the wake of the London bombings of July 2005. For example, in a speech to the Fabian Society in January 2006, Gordon Brown said that he believed that British values were something that should be celebrated and shared, and welcomed further discussion on how to pursue this :
“Britishness is not just an academic debate – something for the historians, just for the commentators, just for the so-called chattering classes. Indeed in a recent poll, as many as half of British people said they were worried that if we do not promote Britishness we run a real risk of having a divided society…And I believe that out of a debate, hopefully leading to a broad consensus about what Britishness means, flows a rich agenda for change: a new constitutional settlement, an explicit definition of citizenship, a renewal of civil society, a rebuilding of our local government and a better balance between diversity and integration…..it is to our benefit to be more explicit about what we stand for and what are our objectives and that we will meet and master all challenges best by finding shared purpose as a country in our enduring British ideals that I would summarise as—in addition to our qualities of creativity, inventiveness, enterprise and our internationalism - our central beliefs are a commitment to liberty for all, responsibility by all and fairness to all."
Later in the speech he referred specifically to the role of education, in particular the History curriculum, in promoting civic values and called for greater prominence to be given to...