Citizenship Foundation

Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent UK charity which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society. It focuses particularly on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding.


In 1984 solicitor Andrew Phillips (later Lord Phillips of Sudbury) persuaded the Law Society to fund an experimental project in association with the National Curriculum Council. This was the Law in Education Project

This landmark project developed teaching materials to introduce students to their legal rights and responsibilities and the role of law in our democratic society.

Although being a citizen necessarily involves knowing one's legal rights in everyday situations and something of the legal principles underpinning them, it has not been common practice to teach law in schools as part of a basic social education.

Besides developing knowledge and understanding of the law, the materials expected students to engage critically with the content and purpose of the legislation, encouraging critical thinking and democratic discussion. Concepts such as rights, duties, responsibilities, justice, law, power, and authority were introduced.

Based on the achievement of the Law in Education Project, the Citizenship Foundation was established in 1989 and began by broadening its emphasis on law-related education.

New projects were begun, looking at primary citizenship, moral education, political literacy and work with alienated groups such as young offenders.

The Foundation lobbied with others for the inclusion of citizenship education on the National Curriculum, convinced of its fundamental importance in underpinning all areas of public life. It recognised that 'citizenship education' is sufficiently different from 'social education', and must include every aspect of public life, such as law, politics, morality, philosophy and economics.

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