The 8 Key Concepts

The 8 Key Concepts of the Global Dimension in Education

(Based on Developing the global dimension in the school curriculum DFID, DfES, et al, 2005 – you can download a copy here)

Underlying the idea of the global dimension to the curriculum are 8 key concepts see The 8 concepts provide a conceptual framework for thinking about and building them into the curriculum. ‘Global citizenship’ appears as one of the 8 concepts, however, each of the concepts can be related to the programme for study for National Curriculum Citizenship and can also be promoted through other subjects.


Global citizenship

Gaining the knowledge, skills and understanding of concepts and institutions necessary to become informed, active, responsible citizens.

  • developing skills to evaluate information and different points of view on global issues through the media and other sources
  • learning about institutions, declarations and conventions and the role of groups, NGOs and governments in global issues
  • developing understanding of how and where key decisions are made
  • appreciating that young people’s views and concerns matter and are listened to; and how to take responsible action that can influence and affect global issues
  • appreciating the global context of local and national issues and decisions at a personal and societal level understanding the roles of language, place, arts, religion in own and others’ identity


Understanding and respecting differences and relating these to our common humanity.

  • appreciating similarities and differences around the world in the context of universal human rights
  • understanding the importance of respecting differences in culture, customs and
  • traditions and how societies are organised and governed
  • developing a sense of awe at the variety of peoples and environments around the world
  • valuing biodiversity
  • understanding the impact of the environment on cultures, economies and societies
  • appreciating diverse perspectives on global issues and how identities affect opinions and perspectives
  • understanding the nature of prejudice and discrimination and how they can be challenged and combated

Human rights

Knowing about human rights including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • valuing our common humanity, the meaning of universal human rights
  • understanding rights and responsibilities in a global context and the interrelationship between the global and the local
  • understanding that there are competing rights and responsibilities in different situations and knowing some ways in which human rights are being denied and claimed locally and globally
  • understanding human rights as a framework for challenging inequalities and prejudice such as racism
  • knowing about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European declaration on Human Rights Act in UK law
  • understanding the universality and indivisibility of human rights


Understanding how people, places, economies and environments are all inextricably interrelated, and that choices and events have repercussions on a global scale.

  • understanding the impact of globalisation and that choices made have consequences at different levels, from personal to global
  • appreciating the links between the lives of others and children and young people’s own lives
  • understanding the influence that diverse cultures and ideas (political, social, religious,
  • economic, legal, technological and scientific) have on each other and appreciating the
  • complexity of interdependence
  • understanding how the world is a global community and what it means to be a citizen
  • understanding how actions, choices and decisions taken in the UK can impact positively or negatively on the quality of life of people in other countries

Conflict resolution

Understanding the nature of conflicts, their impact on development and why there is a need for their resolution and the promotion of harmony.

  • knowing about different examples of conflict locally, nationally and internationally and different ways to resolve them
  • understanding that there are choices and consequences for others in conflict situations
  • understanding the importance of dialogue, tolerance, respect and empathy
  • developing skills of communication, advocacy, negotiation, compromise and collaboration
  • recognising conflict can act as a potentially creative process
  • understanding some of the forms racism takes and how to respond to them
  • understanding conflicts can impact on people, places and environments locally and globally

Social justice

Understanding the importance of social justice as an element in both sustainable development and the improved welfare of all people.

  • valuing social justice and understanding the importance of it for ensuring equality, justice and fairness for all within and between societies
  • recognising the impact of unequal power and access to resources
  • appreciating that actions have both intended and unintended consequences on people’s lives and appreciating the importance of informed choices
  • developing the motivation and commitment to take action that will contribute to about a more just world
  • challenging racism and other forms of discrimination, inequality and injustice
  • understanding and valuing equal opportunities
  • understanding how past injustices affect contemporary local and global politics

Values and perceptions

Developing a critical evaluation of representations of global issues and an appreciation of the effect these have on people’s attitudes and values.

  • understanding that people have different values, attitudes and perceptions
  • understanding the importance and value of Human Rights
  • developing multiple perspectives and new ways of seeing events, issues, problems and opinions
  • questioning and challenging assumptions and perceptions
  • understanding the power of the media in influencing perceptions, choices and lifestyles understanding that the values people hold shape their actions
  • using different issues, events and problems to explore children and young people’s own values and perceptions as well as those of others

Sustainable development

Understanding the need to maintain and improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for future generations.

  • recognising that some of the earth’s resources are finite and therefore must be used responsibly by each of us
  • understanding the interconnections between the social, economic and environmental spheres
  • considering probable and preferable futures and how to achieve the latter
  • appreciating that economic development is only one aspect of quality of life
  • understanding that exclusion and inequality hinder sustainable development for all
  • respecting each other
  • appreciating the importance of sustainable resource use – rethink, reduce, repair, re-use, recycle - and obtaining materials from sustainably managed sources.