Blunt, Andrew (2012) Citizenship in the United Kingdom Higher Education Sector: The Overlooked Opportunity of Students’ Unions. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The 1998 Crick Report argued for citizenship education to be taught in schools and post-16 education – a hope that has never been realised. This work undergoes an investigation into how citizenship education could potentially look within Higher Education Sector and the potential overlooked structure of the Students’ Unions in
aiding to deliver this programme.

This thesis undergoes a case study on Huddersfield University Students’ Union to see
if there is potential to facilitate citizenship learning and any evidence of citizenship ideals, practices and skills being learnt. This begins by looking at the academic debate on citizenship and citizenship education, outlining models that fit contemporary Britain and Higher Education, concluding with a communitarian approach with an
experiential learning model for Higher Education based on successful programmes in the United States of America.

The organisation is analysed by looking at the purpose and structures of the organisation, cross analysing them with the model of experiential citizenship learning, as well as an investigation into whether citizenship learning can be evidenced to have happened without consciously aiming for it – all to ascertain the feasibility of the organisation’s potential.

Ultimately this found that whilst the foundations were identifiable, there was little to demonstrate communitarian values, but instead neo-liberal values of individuality and markets could be seen at work in current structures.

Fundamentally, the findings of this thesis outline that whilst the programme has potential within the organisation, there are some significant road blocks to using the organisation to facilitate citizenship learning, most notably the Institution itself, as well as an acknowledgement that individual Students’ Unions run very differently so further research would need to be undergone to ascertain the wider feasibility of the concept.

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