Should politics be in the school curriculum?

In a recent meeting held at WeAreTheCity HQ we voiced our opinions on the politics and discovered that the younger team members were oblivious to the subject.

We then debated on whether politics should be taught at a younger age in school or even become a GCSE in its own right. We have gathered opinions from some of the WeAreTheCity team and a student on work experience to share their thoughts on the subject, here’s what they had to say:

Eloise
Eloise Neal aged 16 WeAreTheCity.

‘As a recent school leaver myself I strongly agree that politics should be taught at school. With the 2015 general election round the corner the topic has been very popular in our meetings and I have realised that I’m completely oblivious to the subject. To be honest I’m not the sort of person to buy a newspaper or sit and watch the news as I have never really been interested and personally think the whole subject is boring however, I believe that the only reason that I am naïve towards politics is simply because I was never informed about it at a younger age. I don’t blame school for this as I know that I could have easily researched it myself, read a newspaper or put the news on every now and then but I feel that I have never had the interest because I was never really told about it therefore I don’t think much of it. I have a younger sibling who is only 10 years old and I think she should have the opportunity to learn about politics at her age so that when she reaches my age she would have more knowledge and possibly even decide on a different career option and I am sure the government would appreciate more kids taking an interest. This could help people like me make the correct decision when they are at an age that they can vote.’

I believe that politics should be a part of the school curriculum because it is a pinnacle subject of everyday life and should be a necessity to be taught in depth how politics work

Joshua
Joshua Bennett aged 17 WeAreTheCity.

‘I believe that politics should be a part of the school curriculum because it is a pinnacle subject of everyday life and should be a necessity to be taught in depth how politics works and how politician’s parties function. Although we cannot vote at such a young age it would still be a crucial piece of knowledge to have after your adolescent life into your adult life. We should learn about things like what the parties want to do with the country, how to vote, what we should base our votes on etc. In my opinion there are certain subjects certain schools teach which could be replaced with politics as it would be utilized far more often in life than said subjects. If politics was implemented into schools as a GCSE I would definitely take it as I find it very interesting to know how our country is being run and who is running it because unfortunately at a young age you haven’t got enough understanding to find this out so having it at school would ensure a more efficient way of learning about it. One minor problem with this option that I foresee is that if it was to become compulsory that some students may not be interested in learning about politics and then it may put them off which is not something the government would want to happen, so therefore making it optional would be a good idea.’

Sarah Wood aged 15 Sweyne Park School, Essex (Work experience)

‘I believe that politics should be included in the school curriculum because it is an important subject that will make an impact on our lives when we are older. Even if we choose not to vote it should be an informed decision. I personally, still being at school, do not know enough about how politics works and I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable voting for a political party that could influence my adult life. By being taught at an age that I was able to understand politics and it might possibly change my career path and because of this I believe it should become an option for those who are interested. After just choosing my options I believe that I would not have chosen politics as an option because I think there are better subjects that can help my choice of career. As I can understand people may find it boring and become less interested in politics which completely contradicts why it was first implemented.’

Brandon
Brandon Cumbers aged 17 WeAreTheCity.

‘I think it is important to learn politics in secondary school because when you are old enough to vote you will know what politics are about, you will know what’s going on in the world and in your own country. So if the schools add a lesson in to the curriculum once a week they will be getting knowledge.’

I think politics as a GCSE is a great option from young people hoping to pursue this as a future

Che
Ché Sadler aged 17 fashion blogger, WeAreTheCity.

‘In my opinion I believe that Politics should be a subject in school to give young people an insight in how the system works, I think information about parties, how and where to vote and also how they’re vote can affect the future for themselves and others, so that in the future they can make the right choice when voting. Being a young person myself I can say that I do not have enough knowledge about politics although I wish I did. I think politics as a GCSE is a great option for young people hoping to pursue this as a future and will also be good for their CV, but on the other hand other people may find it boring and uninteresting at a young age.’

From all of the comments it is evident that all students find this subject interesting.

Upon quizzing them they agreed they would rather have taken politics as an option instead of other subjects. Currently politics is touched upon within History at GCSE Level.

The challenge facing politics education is the impartiality in educating it. Being able to give students informed choices and a deeper understanding of what makes sense for the individual would help young voters decide and vote.

Encouraging teenagers to vote should definitely be held within their education.

We all seem to have a political party of choice either from family ties, our industries and environments we work and live in.

Maybe a regular debate with local politicians from all main parties and tutors would be a way of educating our future generations?

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