The need for our work has never been greater

Young Citizens is an education charity working in primary and secondary schools to help educate, inspire and motivate the active citizens of tomorrow.

A strong, cohesive society can only continue to thrive if each new generation of citizens is equipped and determined to make it happen. But our society faces serious challenges. Faith in the way our democracy operates has been shaken, and healthy scepticism towards elected politicians has turned into contempt and even hatred.

Cynicism and mistrust have been directed towards other institutions, too, including the law and the media.

Communities have become more polarised as robust, informed debate gives way to name-calling and abuse. The echo chambers of social media reinforce entrenched positions, leaving little room to consider other honestly held views. ‘Fake news’ erodes trust, and feeds prejudices.

Shaping schools and influencing policy

The future health of our democratic society is dependent on young people learning to navigate their way through these difficult times and to become active, engaged and motivated citizens. And that’s why we’re here.

We believe passionately in democracy, as the best means to create a fair, just, and equal society. Since 1989 we have helped young people understand society’s democratic structures, and the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. But we do much more than that.

We help them engage in debates and decision-making processes that affect their futures – from the ramifications of Brexit and global economics, to our national and local electoral systems and beyond.

'We help young people learn how our democratic institutions work, and how to take action for change in their own lives and communities.'
Tom Franklin, CEO


Each year we work with thousands of volunteers from many different walks of life to give young people practical, exciting experiences of citizenship in action. These range from teenagers taking part in ‘Mock Trials’ in real courts, in front of real judges, to primary school children learning how to campaign for causes that matter to them in our ‘Make a Difference Challenge’.

Society reflects what we put into our education system

We believe that all elements of active citizenship should be essential parts of young people’s education. Without citizenship education, they will miss out on opportunities and vital life skills, and our democratic society will fail to benefit.

We’ve challenged ourselves over the coming decade to help more young people than ever gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to become active citizens and make a positive contribution to their communities.

Here is a short description of the programmes we offer:

SMSC Quality Mark   (KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5)

Young Citizens is the proud provider of the National SMSC Quality Mark. Schools can benchmark their SMSC provision against a set of nationally agreed criteria developed in partnership with leading education practitioners and SMSC consultants. Following a self-review process schools can benefit from bespoke in-house training or apply to have their grade verified by one of our experts.

Mock Trials   (KS3, KS4)

Our Mock Trial Competitions help young people understand how the law touches every aspect of their lives. By taking part in the competition, young people can improve their life skills – such as critical thinking and public speaking – whilst also gaining an insight into how the legal justice system works. Through enabling students to interact with legal professionals, the competition helps develop employability skills and boosts social mobility.

Go-Givers   (KS1, KS2)

Go-Givers is a bank of resources to help busy primary teachers develop caring and compassionate young citizens. Downloadable lessons and assemblies consist of an editable PowerPoint presentation and a flexible activity plan making the resources easily adaptable for different year groups. All resources support SMSC learning, and the teaching of fundamental British values, and encourage pupils to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to make a positive difference to their community.

SmartLaw   (KS3, KS4, KS5)

A SmartLaw school subscription provides teachers with access to high-quality, tried and tested classroom resources on topics such as Human Rights, Sexting and Cyberbullying. The resources inspire young people to engage in the complex world of the law and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to become legally capable.  Aimed at learners aged 11-19 years the units tackle a number of important SMSC, Citizenship and PSHE themes using the topic of the law.

Make a Difference Challenge   (KS2)

The Make a Difference Challenge is a child-led social action project for KS2 children. It provides pupils with an opportunity to identify and research a social or environmental issue that they feel passionate about, then make a difference through awareness raising, fundraising or taking practical action.

Experts in Schools   (KS3, KS4)

Experts in Schools places professionals from various walks of life into the classroom to work with young people on big concepts. We recruit businesses volunteers and train them. We then supply them with our specialist resources and they deliver discussion-based sessions on the economy, media literacy and fake news, the law and democratic participation.


While these are our main programmes, we also create and run bespoke resources and projects for a broad range of clients. Looking to make a difference or to give even more back to society? We want to help! Contact Therri Tait for any enquires.


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