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 ‘Only by reviewing how we educate can we ensure our students receive a well-rounded education
Increasing Political and Digital Literacy
We live in interesting times and consequently young people are re-engaging with mainstream politics. In June 2017, YouGov conducted one of the largest post-election surveys ever in
the UK and found a quanti able increase in young people voting in the recent General Election. However, those aged between 18-24 years are still less likely to vote than any other demographic. Stamford Endowed Schools are actively seeking to encourage all students to acquire the knowledge and skills which will enable them to become active, informed and tolerant citizens.
Report by Kendal Mills (Head of Pastoral Care) and David Tuck (Head of Politics and Citizenship)...
 We are restructuring our curriculum to:
i) Increase understanding of political institutions and ideas.
ii) Encourage a respect for different viewpoints.
iii) Recognise the trustfulness of news sources.
Increase understanding
of political institutions
and ideas
At Key Stage 3 we aim to teach all students about Parliament and the sovereignty issues relating
to the UK’s membership of the EU. Historically, only students taking A-level Politics have been guaranteed a visit to Parliament but as part of our restructuring we aim to take every student
to Parliament and the Supreme Court before the end of Year
9. To stand in the House of Commons makes the abstract world of politics suddenly real and we believe that every student should experience being at the centre of their democracy. Links with our local MP are very strong and he is a frequent visitor to our schools.
At Key Stage 4 and 5 we are
introducing political ideas such
as liberalism: conservatism,
socialism, feminism and ecologism via key political thinkers such as: Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Betty Frieden and Murray Bookchin. As with Key Stage 3 we are utilising citizenship and personal development curriculum time to achieve this and it will
be taught by History and Politics teachers. From our initial groundwork we have found that interactive technology is a useful gateway to provoke the politically apathetic student. The website isidewith.com allows a student to  ll in an online questionnaire on a range of topics, thus providing a personalised breakdown of
each students’ baseline politics. Conveniently, this can be done using a smartphone. With
a working understanding of political ideas students can begin
to place any of their preconceived conceptions within a political tradition. Introducing new ideas facilitates discussion and debate and students will discuss, perhaps for the  rst time, how state, society and economy should be organised.
Outside the classroom we are also determined to raise the pro le
of political engagement. In the last academic year, we held two ‘Question Times’, with a student chairman, a mixed student/staff panel and a Sixth Form audience. Stamford School Headmaster, Nick Gallop, is also piloting an ‘Ask the Headmaster’ session where he is grilled by the students on how he runs the school. This, we hope, will not only foster a spirit of openness in terms of how the school is managed, but will
also show the students that their voice matters and their ideas and concerns will be heard and acted upon wherever possible.
Encourage a respect for
mutual viewpoints
The national union of students currently has a policy of ‘no platforming’ whereby certain individuals, whose views are deemed offensive are banned from speaking, so as not to disturb the ‘safe space’ of the university. Prominent  gures such as Germaine Greer, Peter Tatchell, Julie Bindel and Katie Hopkins have all been, to differing degrees, victims of this policy. Richard Dawkins has argued that universities are not safe spaces and that freedom of speech underpins a free society. If we are to increase students’ political literacy students must be familiar with contemporary issues in political discourse
and be encouraged to respect mutual viewpoints. As part of the promotion of this, every Head of Department and pastoral leader contributes annually to
a working document with the (somewhat ponderous) title British Values, Tolerance and Anti-Radicalisation in Action at Stamford Endowed Schools,
  Kendal Mills tweets as: @SESPastoral and David Tuck tweets as: @MrTuck2013
David Tuck’s article on ‘Parliamentary Privilege’ will be published in the November edition of Politics Review and his book ‘Political Ideas’, co-authored with Neil McNaughton, will be published in February 2018
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