Citizens' curriculum

The Citizens’ Curriculum is an innovative, holistic approach to ensure people have the English, maths, digital, civic, health and financial capabilities they need.

This approach taps into what motivates adults to learn, through giving learners a voice in co-designing curriculum content and careful contextualisation, ensuring that people are learning skills which are relevant to their lives and work.

In the UK around 1 in 6 adults struggle with reading and writing, and around 1 in 4 adults find maths difficult. In addition, 850,000 people are not proficient in speaking English and one half of adults in England and Northern Ireland is unable to use computers effectively.

This increasingly locks people out of opportunity and society. Only one in two people with poor literacy are in work, compared to more than eight in ten people with those skills. Increasingly many public services are ‘digital by default’ requiring a combination of digital and literacy skills to access them.  People with lower levels of literacy numeracy are less likely to vote, and face barriers to everyday community and social interactions and activities.

Too few people take basic skills courses each year, and the numbers have fallen in recent years. The Citizens’ Curriculum aims to help change this. We argue that local and national commissioners of learning provision should build this approach into their plans, and that providers, practitioners and other stakeholders design provision that embeds this approach.

Related resources

  • Projects 12 08 2020

    A Citizens’ Curriculum for Lambeth and Southwark

    As part of their Multiple long-term conditions programme, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has commissioned Learning and Work Institute (L&W) to scope a Citizens’ Curriculum pilot in Lambeth and Southwark.
  • Research and Reports 01 09 2018

    Managing Money App

    Managing Money is an Erasmus+ funded project which aimed to address the growing need for Europe’s citizens to increase their financial understanding, supporting them to understand and manage their financial circumstances.
  • Research and Reports 18 10 2017

    Citizens' Curriculum Follow-up Evaluation Report

    The evaluation of the piloting activity broadly confirmed the feasibility and success of the Citizens’ Curriculum approach in a range of delivery contexts across the adult learning and skills sector.
  • Research and Reports 01 10 2017

    Citizens’ Curriculum Coaching Guide

    This resource offers practical guidance on how to use non-directive coaching techniques to support and add value to the Citizens’ Curriculum approach. 
  • Research and Reports 01 03 2017


    Guidance on Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA) has been updated to support the expanding role of RARPA in quality assuring non-regulated provision under the Adult Education Budget.
  • Research and Reports 01 02 2017

    Citizens’ Curriculum Participatory Resource Pack

    This resource, developed by Learning and Work Institute and EFA London, offers practical guidance on how to use participatory techniques to support and add value to the Citizens’ Curriculum approach.
  • Research and Reports 01 06 2015

    Citizens’ Curriculum Case Studies

    Listen to our podcasts, where some the people who took part in our pilots discuss the benefits of being involved in the Citizens’ Curriculum learning approach. Find out more in our case studies which cover different parts of England.
  • Research and Reports 01 02 2006

    Adult Financial Capability Framework

    The Framework is an invaluable resource for all those involved in financial capability education, including basic skills tutors, money advisers, teachers and trainers.

Useful links