Friday, 26 June 2009

Less than two weeks until the Citizen Schools Pathway Launch Event!

7.30 - 9.30pm, Thursday 9th July, Institute of Education, London...

150 people from 17 schools across London will gather to launch the Citizen Schools Pathway programme, an initiative of the Citizens Organising Foundation, and part of the London Citizens' Schools Alliance work to build schools as strong, inclusive centres of their community.

As such, the Pathway fuses two concepts: citizenship education, with its focus on action and experiencial learning, and community organising, with its focus on building power, bridging communities, finding commonality and teaching the art of politics through doing. Both are united in their aim to give citizens the experience of trying to change the world. By using one - community organising - the Citizen Schools Pathway looks to establish the other - citizenship education - across the whole school, and make the community an intrinsic part of schools' culture and curriculum. Relevant, applied and engaging learning is the result.

If you're from a participating school, from a school part of the Citizen Schools Alliance but not on the programme for this year, or from the world of Citizenship Education - please make sure you confirm your place in good time. Places are going fast! The event will feature testimony, interactivity, film, keynotes from Sir Keith Ajegbo, and a whole lot more besides.

Contact Ben, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator, to reserve your place. All the contact details are on our new Citizen Schools website.

The Final List is in... 17 Schools are Part of the Citizen Schools Pathway 09-10!

The recruitment is over. 17 schools will be taking part in our Pathway programme next year. We've been bowled over by the response from schools, and we're really, really proud of the final line-up.

Each of these schools will be working to build a team of leaders - each team including a senior leader, governor, subject leader/teacher, parent and two students - who will lead the development of whole-school active citizenship through the year and beyond. Not only that, each school gets to be members of our Alliance and London Citizens - enabling hundreds of parents, senior students, teachers and support staff access to free community leadership training to help strengthen their schools. The line up includes:

Barking Abbey (Barking & Dagenham)
Cardinal Wiseman (Ealing)
Central Foundation Girls School (Tower Hamlets)
The Charter School (Southwark)
Drayton Manor High School (Ealing)
George Green's School (Tower Hamlets)
Hackney Free & Parochial School (Hackney)
Hendon School (Barnet)
Hounslow Manor (Hounslow)
The John Roan School (Greenwich)
Kingsbury School (Brent)
Lampton School (Hounslow)
Little Ilford School (Newham)
Lilian Baylis Technology School (Lambeth)
Prendergast Ladywell Fields College (Lewisham)
St Angela's Ursuline and St Bonaventure's Sixth Form (Newham)
Thomas Tallis School (Greenwich)

We're really looking forward to working with the teams from all of these schools, to really make school life an opportunity to build and create active citizens: for us, school shouldn't be a dress rehearsal for public life!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Outstanding! Lampton School, Hounslow, joins Citizen Schools

More terrific news just in. Lampton School, which featured in OFSTED's recent publication highlighting 12 flagship, continually outstanding secondary schools, has joined the Citizen Schools Pathway.

They join Drayton Manor and Cardinal Wiseman schools as confirmed schools from west London taking part in the one-year intensive development programme, with all the benefits that come with it.

More than that, as members of the Alliance (and so of London Citizens), Lampton - as with all Citizen Schools Alliance members - will receive community organising and leadership training for ANY of its stakeholders - parents, carers, teachers, support staff or students. It's the very same training a certain Barack Obama went on before beginning his career in community organising, local politics and change.

Congratulations to Lampton for joining. It's a really exciting prospect - the focus for the programme within the school will be in the sixth form, developing its Citizenship programme - working closely with head of sixth form Ray Whyms and his team of diverse participants. Exciting times, and a privilege to work with such an exciting and innovative school.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Places going fast... Drayton Manor High School becomes part of the Citizen Schools Pathway

Great news from West London - Drayton Manor High School, who specialise in citizenship through their humanities college status, have joined the Citizen Schools Pathway.

After running through the programme during a meeting with their specialist teaching team, Kate Ricks (Head of Citizenship) and Varinder Kahnna (Specialist School Manager) took the idea to SLT who confirmed their backing of the four criteria schools must meet to be a part: belief (in education for active, responsible citizens), commitment (to a specialist team), finance (an average of £2000 for a school to participate - though schools meet this in a variety of ways) and staffing (finding and recruiting the 5-6 participants).

It's brilliant news - with a specialist team, with citizenship as a specialist subject, with the team aiming to break new ground in the active citizenship experiences they provide for students, and with a specialist school manager to oversee the programme at the school, the seeds are set for a successful year ahead. See everyone at the Launch event!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Lilian Baylis joins the Citizen Schools Pathway - now just one place left for South London!

Lilian Baylis school, Lambeth, has become the latest school (and fourth from south London) to take a place on the Pathway 2009-2010: our intensive, 1-year programme to help schools build leadership, capacity and sustainability for active, community-focused citizenship education. I met with Assistant Head teacher and line manager for Humanities Karen Chamberlain to run through everything last week, after which the opportunity was passed to Gary Phillips, Head teacher, to pour over the detail, and who confirmed their participation today.

It's great Lilian Baylis are involved - they're a dynamic, small and almost family-like school with an innovative reputation (having turned a poorly performing school into a great one in a really short time), and who hold a community focus at their core. They also teach citizenship as part of shared humanities provision, which opens up exciting possibilities for the curriculum project the school will plan and implement together with the four other schools in south London.

Lilian Baylis joins an exciting mix of secondary schools and sixth form colleges embarking on the Citizen Schools Pathway, including Central Foundation, St Angelas & St Bonaventures, Little Ilford, Barking Abbey, Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Cardinal Wiseman, Thomas Tallis and and Hackney Free & Parochial School. Each school involved becomes an automatic member of the Alliance - and so becomes part of a huge community-led movement for action, change and social justice. Bring it on!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

150 citizenship practitioners have joined the Citizen Schools forum in just 2 months!

160 people, in fact! It's a great start for the site, which is designed to give citizenship teachers (and the many others involved in the task of educating active, responsible citizens) quick, easy access to high quality resources, ideas and discussions on how to do this.

So the CitizenSchools forum is for everyone - teachers, senior leaders, governors, parents included - that believes in education for active citizens. It's purpose is to bring citizenship educationalists and stakeholders together to take citizenship education forward, by sharing resources, ideas and support to raise the impact of what we all do. Anyone is welcome to join (it's free, as are all resources shared on the site). The resources uploaded are subject to the creative commons license, meaning that people can use them freely in their contexts.

If you're not yet using the site, give it a go - it's got potential!

St Marks Catholic School, Hounslow, joins the Citizens Schools Alliance

Outstanding Catholic school St Marks has joined London Citizens and so becomes part of the Citizen Schools Alliance. After myself and Austen, West London Citizens' lead organiser, had presented our work to the head teacher, senior leaders and chaplain, they took the idea of joining to The Catholic life of the school committee, who approved their membership.

This is great news - St Marks' is an impressive school with a community-focused ethos and strong commitment to Catholic social teaching. It means the school and its students, parents and staff will join many others across London in being able to access community leadership training, local networks to help take action to improve their community, and regional and London-wide events and assemblies - both school-focused and intergenerational, all focused on achieving citizen-led change for the common good.

We look forward to a strong relationship with everyone at St Marks - to help build on their impressive foundations and give students, parents and staff real experience citizenship in action.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Sir Keith Ajegbo endorses Citizen Schools

Sir Keith Ajegbo has recently lent his support to the Citizen Schools pathway - a 1-year applied development programme which aims to embed active citizenship across the whole school, using a method inspired by community organising.

"I wholeheartedly support the Citizen Schools pathway - a great way for schools to connect to their communities and bring learning alive through Citizenship education. It's a targeted, strategic approach to build leadership, focus and momentum around educating active, responsible citizens, and promoting community cohesion, student voice, community engagement and inclusion."

"The development programme brings together schools across London to enliven teaching and learning in citizenship and across the whole school by engaging their communities. It's innovative - students, parents and governors are trained alongside senior leaders and teaching staff - and it provides a clear pathway towards becoming an inclusive, citizenship-rich school where participation, responsibility and governance are shared across the whole community."

Visit the Citizen Schools website for more on the Pathway dimension.

3 places left for the Citizen Schools Pathway 09-10

There are now just 3 places remaining for the Citizen Schools Pathway: 'Citizenship Education and Community Organising'. It's a 1-year applied development programme for 6 leaders (a senior leader, governor, parent, subject leader/teacher, and two students) to build strategic capacity for citizenship education within schools.

Demand has been phenomenal since we broadcast the programme two weeks ago, with 20 schools now interested in the 3 remaining places. If you're in a school in south or west London and want to take your whole-school citizenship to the next, active, level, visit the Citizen Schools website now to download the briefing pack, and contact me (Ben Hammond, Lead Organiser) to set up a meeting:

Friday, 12 June 2009

Thomas Tallis joins Citizen Schools!

Thomas Tallis school, Greenwich, has become the latest school (and third from south London) to take a place on the Pathway 2009-2010: our intensive, 1-year programme to help schools build leadership, capacity and sustainability for active, community-focused citizenship education. Head of Wellbeing Michelle Springer and I met this afternoon at the school, and our partnership for the year ahead then sewn up by the head teacher's all-clear.

I'm really please Thomas Tallis are involved - a forward-thinking school with lots of exciting intiatives, a strong sense of community and student voice, and a growing and extremely dedicated specialist Citizenship and Wellbeing teaching team. Here's to some really exciting collaboration in the year to come.

Thomas Tallis joins a rich mix of secondary schools and sixth form colleges embarking on the Pathway, including Central Foundation, St Angelas & St Bonaventures, Little Ilford, Barking Abbey, Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Cardinal Wiseman, and Hackney Free & Parochial School. Each school involved becomes an automatic member of the Alliance - and so becomes part of a huge community-led movement for action, change and social justice.

Citizen Schools enters the world of the blog...

Today's the day we've got around to starting this blog. For you, it's a way to quickly find out the latest news from any of the four dimensions of Citizen Schools: the alliance, the pathway, the community or the award. For us, it's a more straightforward and easy way to communicate.

We're also available via our website,

Thanks - hope this blog proves to be useful.

Lead Organiser, Citizen Schools Alliance