Monday, October 10, 2011

Improving the UK's citizenship test

Readers will know that I have long argued for several reforms of the UK's citizenship test. This is the result of having become a naturalised British citizen who has had to sit the test. One important improvement is updating the questions and answers. The current test is based upon a now out of date textbook. Questions about demographics are problematic because the population has changed (and the test relies on 2001 census data), questions about government departments and services are problematic because many have changed in name and/or function, and questions about support are problematic for this same reason.

But it is about much more than getting the questions up to date, but the content of what is asked. I've been long surprised at the relative absence of British history and basic law from the current test. This has been noted in a recent post and I've spoken about this today in a pre-recorded programme for BBC Radio 4.

I am delighted to report that the Prime Minister agrees and he has today announced major changes to the UK's citizenship test. The new test will be published in 2012 and one major change will be the inclusion of British history. This is a welcome change and I applaud its inclusion. Indeed, I'm very happy to work with colleagues to help enact these improvements (contact details here).

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