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'We don't learn democracy, we live it!': consulting the pupil voice in Scottish schools

Maitles, Henry and Deuchar, Ross (2006) 'We don't learn democracy, we live it!': consulting the pupil voice in Scottish schools. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 1 (3). pp. 249-267. ISSN 1746-1979

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As the education for citizenship agenda continues to impact on schools, there is a need to begin the discussion around examining the kind of initiatives that can push it forward. In Scotland the proposals should, it is argued, permeate the curriculum throughout the school. Yet there is the fear that the responsibility of all can become the responsibility of none. This paper examines, through case study research carried out by the authors, initiatives in schools designed to take forward the citizenship agenda in the light of children's rights. The first two relate to firstly the impact of pupil councils in primary schools and secondly the impact of discussing controversial issues in the primary classroom. The third outlines the impact on values and dispositions of developing more participatory, democratic practice in the classroom. The paper concludes by calling for both more initiatives of this type and more evaluation of their worth.