Young People and Politics

This research strand aims to tackle youth disengagement in politics.

Young people walking

Led by Dr James Weinberg, Lead Fellow of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democratic Participation, this research has identified gaps in citizenship education policy implementation and highlighted changing points of emphasis or values within the curriculum.

It has formed the focus of professional debates across networks forged in academia and the third sector, as well as parliamentary inquiries.

The research has been fed into the policy-making process at the highest levels through secondments within the Department for Education and No.10 and through significant engagement with cross-party parliamentary groups and select committees, along with establishing a number of strong working partnerships with parliamentarians, HE and secondary school institutions, and education leaders in the third sector.

Research outputs

A key project carried out in this strand focused on the practice and politics of citizenship education in UK schools, which has resulted in an article published in the UK’s leading education research journal. This study interrogated teachers' understanding of, opinions on, and preparedness for the delivery of citizenship education. Dr James Weinberg worked with institutional partners to gain access to 110 teachers from more than 60 schools across England and Wales. This rigorous mixed-methods study gathered quantitative survey data from participants as well as a rich body of qualitative data from focus groups.

Drawing on focus group data collected by Dr James Weinberg in the summer of 2018, as well as available documentation recorded by Hansard Society online, his latest paper interrogates the role of the House of Lord’s select committee on citizenship and civic engagement in setting the agenda for evidence-based policy in the area of citizenship education. Using innovative quantitative methodologies that allow text to be mined in-depth as statistical data, Weinberg et al. find (a) the House of Lord’s committee reflect the views and opinions of both policy stakeholders and policy recipients in their report in a way that Government documents do not, and that (b) the Government promotes an individualistic, character-based agenda on citizenship education that is neither current nor supported in the minds of third sector experts, academics, or those on the frontline of school delivery of the subject.