Can a concept of citizenship based on equal rights and a shared sense of belonging… moderate, transcend or displace identity politics and concepts of nationality? (Smith (2003), cited in Maitles, 2005:49)
The above statement was the building block for this dissertation and highlights the challenge that educators face if education for citizenship is to become a success. Citizenship is at the core of A Curriculum for Excellence, it permeates all subject areas with its values of wisdom, compassion, integrity and justice (Scottish Government, 2011b). The Scottish Government, claim that education for citizenship enables children to address issues such as peace and conflict resolution, social equality and appreciation of diversity (ibid).
Whilst Scotland is a diverse country, diversity itself, it seems, breeds intolerance and inequality (Willems et al, 2010). Whilst it is claimed that education for citizenship can overcome these inequalities, (LTS, 2002) critics argue that ‘there are limits to what can be done in terms of the contribution that school policies per se can make to eradicating these inequalities? (Maitles, 2005:16)
Citizenship, and its potential has been a personal matter of interest since I began my initial teacher training. Whilst I have always appreciated the purpose and necessity of education for citizenship, I have also been mindful of the hypocrisy of teaching citizenship values to children who, due to circumstances beyond their control, have never experienced these values themselves. I have found this unsettling, and my initial research has demonstrated that I am not alone in this issue (Maitles, 2005; LTS, 2002).
Being born and raised in the West of Scotland and I am acutely aware that sectarianism is a term associated with this particular area. For my own part, religion played no part in my home environment but was respected and a source of interest. However, I routinely heard sectarian language being casually thrown around the playground at my non-denominational school. My initial reading has demonstrated that there is a vast contrast in opinion regarding sectarianism, from Steve Bruce et al (2005), who suggests that sectarianism is a myth, to government opinion which state that Scotland is scarred by sectarianism (J. McConnell (2006), cited in Scottish Executive, 2006)
On paper, citizenship is the key to a tolerant, compassionate, inter-cultural nation. However, can it eradicate and overcome the root causes of sectarianism within Scotland?
Introduction and Method Section
The purpose of this review of literature is to ascertain if teaching education for citizenship in Scottish primary schools can help to eradicate sectarian values and attitudes from Scotland. There are four main key areas which need to be addressed throughout the course of this research and each of them will be expanded further upon;
- The first section shall focus on citizenship itself; the history, philosophy and Scotlands position regarding citizenship.
- Secondly, this dissertation will address Education for Citizenship, with the focus on; current policy, A Curriculum for Excellence, and possible areas of concern.
- The penultimate section aims to scrutinize sectarianism itself; its history and relevance to Scotland, its causes/roots, the Scottish Governments stance and the Churchs perspective.
- The fourth and final section shall explore using citizenship as a means to eradicate sectarianism from Scotland; current initiatives, examples of good practice promoting anti-sectarianism and ways of implementing citizenship skills.
On concluding all four sections of the review, only then will this dissertation attempt to draw satisfactory conclusions determining if, through teaching citizenship in Scottish primary schools, sectarianism can be consigned to Scottish history.
Research has so far shown that education for citizenship is a contemporary trend, currently being addressed by both academics and the government. Sectarianism research appears to have peaked from 1999-2005, with little literature on the subject being, so far, uncovered. However, in order to address this dissertation question fittingly, and produce a thorough review of literature a range of resources and methods have been utilized:
The University of the West of Scotland and the University of Glasgow have both been utilised to source:
Books: initially found through topic searches, subsequently found through using bibliographies and reference lists to find further relevant material. Inter-library loans.
Academic Journals: accessed via the library catalogue and additional databases (e.g. ERIC, Taylor and Frances, Google Scholar) focusing on key words, particularly citizenship and sectarianism but also Scottish Primary Schools and intolerance.
Learning and Teaching Scotland website, alongside the Scottish Government website have been used to gain access to relevant documentation.
Policy documents and reports; mainly Scottish but English policies/reports have been used to create a relevant context.
The internet was used to source relevant information, again focusing on key words (as stated above)
Anti-sectarian charity, Nil By Mouth
Church of Scotland
Roman Catholic Church of Scotland
For the purpose of this paper, it has been decided to focus primarily on literature written within a timeline of the last ten years (2000-2010), with the exception of literature which provides relevant historical information. It has been determined that literature of a more recent date will provide this dissertation with more precise, relevant conclusions in order to determine if education for citizenship can help to eradicate sectarian values and attitudes from Scotland.
History and Philosophy of Citizenship
The concept of citizenship is the foundation of this research, therefore it shall briefly ascertain what citizenship is. Citizenship is by no means a modern concept, its roots can be traced back to ancient Greece and the then city-state of Athens, where citizens overcame their own differences for the greater good of their city (Miller, 2000). However, even from its historical roots, there is evidence of the great philosophers, Aristotle and Plato, attempting to define citizenship.
There is a vast and varied opinion on what citizenship is. Ann Philips (2000:36) claims that citizenship divides people into those who belong and those who do not, whilst political scientist, Greer and Matzke state simply that citizenship is a set of rights that come from belonging to a community (2009:2). Perhaps more realistically, Hartley (2010:235) defines citizenship as being at heart a combative term, with a long history of bloodshed, struggle, resistance, hope, fear and terror caught up in its train. These diverse accounts of what citizenship is highlights that little has changed in the last 2500 years since Aristotle stated The nature of citizenship…is a question which is often disputed: there is no general agreement on a single definition (Aristotle, cited in Oliver and Heater, 1994:vii)
English sociologist T.H.Marshall, defined citizenship as a status bestowed on those who are full members of the community (Marshall (1963), cited in Powell, 2009:25). During the 1950s, he proposed that citizenship could be divided into three elements, civil, political and social (Hartley, 2010; Greer and Matzke, 2009; Oliver and Heater, 1994; Pearce and Hallgarten, 2000). His vision was based on equality, that regardless of gender, race or religion, if you were a full member of the community, you were entitled to citizenship status. Marshalls model for citizenship has been criticised due to his three elements being defined by equality…yet in practice they operate in a context of social inequality (Greer and Matzke, 2009:5). This view is mirrored by Evans who reminds us to consider ways in which social disadvantage undermines citizenship by denying people full participation in society (Evans, cited in Maitles, 2005:2). However, it is nonetheless still held in high regard and used as a platform for other academics and governments to build on, as can be seen in Lord Goldsmiths Citizenship Review (2008).
Active citizenship is central to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Their aim is that children will play a full and active part in society – politically, socially, economically, environmentally and culturally (Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), 2011). In Scotland, as a result of devolution, citizenship is a key issue. The UK, is no longer one nation-state with a single social citizenship but is comprised of four countries, each with its own regional social citizenship (Jeffrey, 2009). Indeed, Greer (2009:198) states that a single, shared, social citizenship for the UK is today a contested political goal if it is not purely a myth. Some politicians have even gone as far as to suggest a European state, which would provide a whole new scope for social citizenship, and would require redefining of citizenship in the 21st century (Jeffrey, 2009).
Scottish children must be provided with the knowledge, skills and values which allow them to appreciate the importance of citizenship and be able to not only scrutinise a concept which is based on equality but question what equality means and its implications for all of society. Only by children striving to find answers to these questions can the concept of citizenship adapt and progress effectively into the 21st century (Greer, 2009). Education is essential in ensuring that Scotlands children are exposed to these experiences because in terms of citizenship, an ignorant citizen is tantamount to a contradiction in terms (Oliver and Heater, 1994:20)
Education for Citizenship
Regarding what education for citizenship actually is, the general consensus appears to be that there is not much agreement about what it is, other than it is a good thing (Maitles, 2005:2). It is criticised as an indoctrine by some and considered the best route to global peace by others (Brown et al, 2009:73). Gundara, approaches the matter from a different perspective by considering not what it is but what it should do; The challenge for citizenship education is the moulding of the one out of the many and to construct appropriate educational responses to difference and diversity within British society (Gundara, 2000:16)
Whilst preparing youth for participation in society has always been an educational goal (Willems et al, 2010:215), it is in the last ten to fifteen years that education for citizenship has gained momentum in Scotland (HMIe, 2006). The Government was concerned over the apparent lack of interest regarding democratic matters (Deuchar, 2003; Maitles, 2005), and in light of this, the then Lord Chancellor stated we should not, must not, dare not, be complacent about the health and future of British democracy and that unless we become a nation of engaged citizens, our democracy is not secure (Lord Chancellor, cited in Advisory Group on Citizenship, 1998:8). As a result of this, plans were put in motion to overturn this trend by including citizenship into the national curriculum.
This process began in 1998, when the Advisory Group on Citizenship (AGC), produced a report advocating the necessity of education for citizenship (also known as the Crick Report). It echoed the Lord Chancellors comments and stated that citizenship was crucial to our nation to such an extent that education for citizenship would be compulsory. Acting upon this report, Scotland followed suit in 2002 with their report from the Advisory Council of LTS. Much of the report mirrors that of the Crick report, it reiterates the Lord Chancellors statement and both reports highlight the importance of imparting upon children key learning experiences, skills, values and knowledge and understanding. Of particular relevance to this research are those which refer to social issues and dilemmas (Scottish Government, 2002:12) and educating children on the diversity of identities… within Scotland…and the need for mutual respect, tolerance and understanding (Scottish Government, 2002:36).
Both reports (and Maitles, 2005) support educators tackling so called controversial issues, i.e. sectarianism, through education for citizenship by acknowledging that many controversial issues are relevant to children. Abdi and Shultz state that We should not underestimate the role of education in instilling in the minds of people core human rights values (2008:3) and tackling difficult issues in the classroom allows children to address those at the very core of humanity – those that are addressed in the Human Rights Act 1998 (National Archives, 2011) (see Appendix I), the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990 (Office of the United Nations, 2011) (see Appendix II) and allows children to address them in a manner which complies with the Standards in Scotlands Schools etc. Act 2000, Section 2 (National Archives, 2011a) (see Appendix III).
Some notable concerns are raised regarding education for citizenship. Maitles (2005) and Maylor (2010), indicate that some academics/educators believe that teaching controversial issues to primary age children is unsuitable. However, as this research has already highlighted, some young children deal with many controversial issues every day and in this era of technology and internet access children are seeing these issues (AGC, 1998:12). At primary school age children are picking up, whether from school, home or elsewhere…of what social problems effect them (AGC, 1998:12; Davies, 2011). Maitles (2005) and Dower (2008), raise concerns over the possible hypocrisy of education for citizenship, with Maitles stating that …inequalities in society, have a detrimental effect on the education for citizenship proposals (Maitles, 2005:16) By this they mean educators teaching children about rights and responsibilities and values such as equality and tolerance, to children who, whilst in the classroom may be equal, however, when they leave the classroom, vast social inequalities and intolerances may become visible. In addition, Dower (2008:47), bluntly states that To say we all enjoy rights is a mockery, given the realities of the world.
Education for citizenship and its associated skills and values must be taught as children in Scotland are growing up in an increasingly diverse society (Scottish Executive, 2006) and This education is necessary if we are to … live together appreciating and accepting our diversity and differences in a context of social justice, equity and democracy (James, 2008:109). If attitudes cannot be accepted or tolerated or challenged then people find they have increasingly less in common with each other which leads to at best segregation within communities, at worst, open hostility to each other (Willems et al, 2010), a perfect example being what happened in the West of Scotland between the Scottish Protestants and the Irish Catholics in the 18th/19th century. Intolerance has blighted our society in the past and children must learn from past mistakes, after all, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santanya, cited in Abdi and Shultz, 2009:1).
Denoting or concerning a sect or sects: the city’s traditional sectarian divide.
Adjective (of an action) carried out on the grounds of membership of a sect, denomination, or other group: sectarian killings
Rigidly following the doctrines of a sect or other group.
Noun: a member of a sect, a person who rigidly follows the doctrines of a sect or other group.
(Oxford Dictionaries, 2010)
The roots of sectarianism in Scotland can be traced back to the 16th century and the Reformation of the church. However, it was the influx of Irish Catholic immigrant workers to Scotland in the 19th century which infamously associated the west of Scotland with sectarianism.
The Irish Catholic immigrants were an unknown entity to the Native Protestant Scots, who in their ignorance perceived them as savages (OHagan, 2000:32). The perception was that the Irish immigrants were going to take jobs and housing from the Scots and attempt to spread their dangerous religion. Bruce et al (2004) explains that the fear and hatred of each other stemmed mainly from the fact that in the 19th century, people wholeheartedly believed in their religion, and genuinely believed that the other religion was dangerously wrong. As a result, Irish Catholics were attacked from the pulpit and in the street, (LTS, 2011a), refused employment, or were kept at the bottom of the labour market by influence from the local church and Orange Lodge (an organisation created in 1795 to promote and protect the Protestant faith (Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, 2011)).
In the 21st century, whilst it is accepted that sectarianism did exist, the general consensus appears to be that blatant discrimination of Catholics no longer exists (Bruce (2000); McCrone and Rosie (2000); Paterson (2000), cited in Williams and Walls, 2000). However, there is an acknowledgment that sectarianism in Scotland is a unique problem (Murray, 1984) and that sectarianism hides in a shadowy corner of our society and only shows itself in peoples attitudes and prejudices (McCrone and Rosie, 2000:200). OHagan is more blunt and simply states that Scotland is a divisive, bigoted society (2000:25) and Reilly, refers to the Sunday Times, which in 1999 described Scotland as A country which hosts Orange marches the year round while ceaselessly campaigning for the closure of Catholic schools (2000:29). The Scottish Government shared these views, and in 2003 under Section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, 2003, sectarianism became a criminal offence (Nil By Mouth, 2011).
Sectarianism in 21st century Scotland is largely associated with football and schools (Lynch, 2000), with Celtic Football Club (CFC) and Rangers Football Club (RFC) being particularly linked with sectarianism. CFC was founded in 1888 by Brother Walfrid, initially a charity, it was set up by Irish immigrants, for Irish immigrants, whilst RFC was founded in 1872 by the McNeil family (Murray, 1984). In 1912, the shipbuilders Harland and Wolff arrived on the Clyde from Belfast and brought with them a workforce of Protestant/Orange workers who in defiance of Catholic Celtic, gave their support to Rangers and so the two clubs were defined in history.
In recent years, the two clubs, in association with the Scottish Government have provided programmes to combat the sectarianism with which they are associated with (Nil By Mouth, 2011; Scottish Executive, 2006a). The current picture remains that Celtic and Rangers are still associated with their intolerant historic pasts which is passed down from one generation to the next. Youngsters, who have no interest in religion themselves, are encouraged to learn the sectarian stories and songs from their fathers and grandfathers and whilst not understanding the real meaning of the words, will enter the football stadiums and become 90 minute bigots (Deuchar, Holligan, 2008:12; Bruce, 2000)
Catholic schools have been a stone of contention in Scotland since they were granted state-funding in the Scotland Education Act (1918) (Bruce et al, 2004). Although the schools originated in the same manner as Protestant schools (ibid), Catholics were condemned for wanting their own schools attached to their own churches. Those who claim that sectarianism is in decline claim that there is no need for Catholic schools and that they should be boarded up for the sake of social harmony, and those who claim that there is sectarianism in Scotland claim Catholic schools are responsible and should be boarded up (Reilly, 2000). Such negative perceptions of Catholic schools, yet there is no evidence that Catholic schools encourage or breed sectarianism (ibid).
At the root of sectarianism, in its truest sense, is religion. In the 21st century, on the matter of sectarianism, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Reverend Bill Hewitt demanded that sectarianism be stamped out from Scotland…the country must become more tolerant and inclusive or society would suffer (Scottish Christian, 2009) and one year later, these views were reiterated by the Rev Ian Galloway, (cited in Herald Scotland, 2010). Meanwhile, the Scottish Catholic Church claimed that sectarianism was still very much in abundance in Scotland. The director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office is quoted stating that:
The bigotry, the bile, the sectarian undercurrents and innuendos must end. Such hateful attitudes have had their day. They poison the well of community life. They must be excised and cast out once and for all (Kearney, cited in Herald Glasgow, 2010).
This section has focused primarily on the Catholic/Protestant take on sectarianism as it is this that Scotland is infamous for. However, it must be noted that sectarianism can apply to any religion. MacMillan, discusses the plight of the Muslim community in Glasgow who have been slated for wanting to open their own school with accusations that their display on difference are root causes of social division (2000:266). In order to prevent history repeating itself, the next generation must be educated in such a manner so that Scotland can put sectarian attitudes into dustbin of history and build a better society (J.McConnell, 2006).
Education for Citizenship as a means to eradicate sectarian values and attitudes from Scotland
The Scottish Government claim that Education for Citizenship has the potential to address the negative values and attitudes that feed sectarianism and stresses the importance that education plays in eradicating sectarianism in Scotland and claims that Curriculum for Excellence is itself a programme for tackling sectarianism (Salmond, 2005). This view is supported by Deuchar and Holligan, who after identifying that youngster received little input regarding sectarianism in schools stated that Curriculum for Excellence is the opportunity to teach controversial issues (2008).
To support these claims, the Scottish Government created an educational resource for teachers called Dont Give it, Dont Take it, with the sole aim of supporting teachers to promote anti-discrimination (Scottish Government, 2005). Then, in 2007, HMIe, released Count Us In: Promoting understanding and combating sectarianism, which provided examples of initiatives which promote anti-sectarianism. They highlight the importance of addressing this issue with young children because the result of sectarianism…can be that young people develop limited ways of thinking which narrows their view of the world and damages their relationship with others (2007:1), therefore, we must teach our children to see beyond their own interests and commitment and take a wider, more impartial view of the world (Miller, 2000:29).
Schools across Scotland have adopted a wide variety of approaches to anti-sectarian education which contribute to successful learning (HMIe, 2007:6) and the evidence gathered from school inspections indicate that primary school children have embraced these approaches positively (HMIe, 2007). One popular approach is twinning, where neighbouring schools, one denominational and one non-denominational come together to work collaboratively on an anti-sectarian project. Angie Kotler, Strategic Director of the Schools Linking Network, supports twinning as it creates opportunities to develop and deepen childrens knowledge and understanding of identity/ies, diversity, equality and community (2010:49). She also stresses the importance of addressing controversial issues in schools as we cannot assume that children will have other opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding. Education for citizenship is a means by which this can be achieved as it is a vessel for tackling controversial issues such as human rights,… peace and conflict resolution, social equality and appreciation of diversity (LTS, 2011b). Through these issues, sectarianism in Scotland can be addressed and hopefully, in time, the legacy of sectarianism in Scotland can be wiped out (Salmond, 2005).
However, if initiatives such as twinning are to be done successfully then according to Dr Uvanney Maylor (Reader in Education, University of Bedfordshire), lessons promoting shared values and citizenship belonging would need to facilitate an appreciation of how difference is experienced outside school (2010:247), an opinion echoing that of one made earlier by Maitles (2005) and Dower (2008). Maylor states that children will only be able to understand and respect diversity if they have learnt to understand and respect their own identity, (2010). In schools this can be achieved by creating a positive school ethos which challenges sectarianism and religious prejudice whilst encouraging and promoting diversity, social inclusion, equality, equity and positive behaviour (LTS, 2011c).
In 2003, Finn, stated that, with regards to sectarianism, education…has much to contribute to an understanding of this conflict. So far it has failed to do so (2003:905). With the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence and supporting documents from HMIe, it appears that education is striving to overturn this perception and is sending a clear message that sectarianism will not be tolerated within Scottish primary schools (HMIe, 2007). Perhaps, in Scotland, with its unique relationship with sectarianism this entails, as a matter of urgency, a new and more inclusive definition of Scottishness if the nation is to be one and at peace with itself…the Scotland of the future must contain no inner exiles (Reilly, 2000:39).
Human Rights Act 1998
Articles relevant to this review are:
Article 9 Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
- Freedom to manifest ones religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Article 14 Prohibition of discrimination
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
(National Archives, 2011)
Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990
Articles relevant to this review are:
- States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
- For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
- The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.
- The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
- States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
- States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
- Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
(Office of the United Nations, 2011)
Standards in Scotlands Schools etc. Act 2000
Section 2: Duty of education authority in providing school education
(1) Where school education is provided to a child or young person by, or by virtue of arrangements made, or entered into, by, an education authority it shall be the duty of the authority to secure that the education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential.
(2) In carrying out their duty under this section, an education authority shall have due regard, so far as is reasonably practicable, to the views (if there is a wish to express them) of the child or young person in decisions that significantly affect that child or young person, taking account of the child or young persons age and maturity.
(National Archives, 2011a)
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