Our Aims and Programmes
Civitas is a community of researchers and supporters committed to discovering how best to strengthen democracy, uphold limited government, maintain personal freedom, achieve opportunity for all, and encourage free enterprise. We strive to achieve our ideals through independent research, reasoned argument, lucid explanation and open public debate. We stand apart from party politics and transitory intellectual fashions in pursuit of the enduring ideals that have made Britain a fortress of liberal civilisation.
We make our work available in books, pamphlets, online, and in electronic formats and encourage authors to make their arguments accessible to non-specialists. Some publications are designed for use in schools and universities, including a series a factsheets about the European Union for sixth forms. Most recently, we have published a knowledge-rich primary school curriculum designed to enable children of all abilities to share in the intellectual heritage of Western civilisation. We also carry our arguments into schools and universities by organising talks and debates.
Uniquely among think tanks, we play an active, practical part in rebuilding civil society, particularly by running schools on Saturdays and after-school hours so that children who are falling behind at school can achieve their full potential.
Primary Education For Children Falling Behind at School
Many primary school pupils are not learning the basics. On Saturdays and after school hours during weekdays we provide lessons in English and maths for children who have fallen behind. We use a no-frills approach which concentrates on high-quality teaching along traditional lines to enable children to master essential skills quickly. We emphasise small class sizes, reading through synthetic phonics and mental arithmetic.
Civitas operates twenty supplementary schools: eleven in London, with the others in Yorkshire and Birmingham. The schools provide additional English and maths lessons for over 600 primary-aged children each week. Our pupils tend to come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Although many of the parents have high aspirations for their children, they often lack the skills and experience to help them continue learning outside regular school hours.
The aim of the project is to encourage disadvantaged children to be high-achievers, to reach their full academic potential and thereby to open up new opportunities. The children also benefit from a two-week summer school and half-term classes. The effect of the schools on the lives of the children is noticeable in the short-term, and in the long-term it is incalculable. As a result of attending the schools we hope and expect that the children will do better at school and university and find themselves with more options when they join the world of work. We hope they will become prosperous and responsible citizens.
The demand for what the schools are offering is effectively limitless and we have hundreds of children on our waiting lists. We are actively increasing the number of supplementary schools.
Other Education Projects
Children who have been excluded from school are often completely failed by the system. From 2005 until July 2010, as part of a joint project with the London Boxing Academy (LBA), we taught English, maths and information and communications technology (ICT) to teenagers who had been excluded from school. The aim was to reach 14-16 year-olds, who had often been in trouble with the police, by offering boxing and fitness training. Our role was to teach English, maths and other GCSE subjects.
The co-founder of the LBA, Chris Hall, has started a new project for similar young people, the Footsteps Football Academy, also in Haringey, for which we provide some financial support and evening classes.
Teaching Materials and Talks For Schools
Core Knowledge – a New Primary School Curriculum
After several years of denial under the last Government, it is now generally accepted that education standards have been falling. The state monopoly is now being challenged by free schools and academies and there is a real chance of a radical transformation. But ending monopoly is just the first step. We have published a knowledge-rich curriculum that will allow schools to bring out the best in every pupil from every background, prepare children for public responsibilities, and encourage social cohesion by emphasising our common heritage. There are six books, one for each of the primary school years, beginning with What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know. The books give parents the tools to judge how effectively their children are being taught. The full primary curriculum is available online at Core Knowledge UK.
The European Union
As part of our continuing effort to ensure that schools are supplied with objective materials about the EU we provide a network of speakers willing to talk to schools, whether in normal lessons or lunchtime or after-school meetings. Our speakers’ panel now comprises over 190 lords, MPs, MEPs, journalists, academics, business leaders and political activists. Civitas has arranged over 870 EU talks and debates during the past three academic years.
Factsheets have been prepared for use in schools, covering topics such as the CAP and the impact on the developing world. Their preparation is overseen by independent advisers from schools and elsewhere to ensure objectivity. They are free at our website and were downloaded over 400,000 times in 2015 and are currently being used in over 750 schools with sixth forms, which is about a quarter of the total number.The remarks of this teacher are typical: ‘I thought I would drop you a line to say thank you for your wonderful website – it is extremely supportive for teaching the A2 politics unit on the EU’.
Family and Marriage
The main school subject in which the issue of the family and marriage is raised is Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE). We supply educational materials, including lesson notes, for teachers of PSHE. Several factsheets have proved popular, either in hard copy or via our web site. In calendar year 2015, over 200,000 copies of the factsheets were downloaded by schools.
Click here for factsheets for teachers and our programme of school talks about the EU.
Research – Improving the Stock of Public Knowledge
Facilitating Informed Public Debate
We facilitate informed public debate by providing accurate factual information on the social issues of the day, publishing informed comment and analysis, and bringing together leading protagonists in open discussion. Civitas never takes a corporate view on any of the issues tackled during the course of this work. Our current focus is on issues such as education, health, crime, social security, manufacturing, the abuse of human rights law, and the European Union.
We ensure that there is strong evidence for all our conclusions and present the evidence in a balanced and objective way. Our publications are usually refereed by at least two independent commentators, who may be academics or experts in their field.
Before founding Civitas in 2000, Dr David Green had been at the Institute of Economic Affairs since 1984, and Director of the IEA Health and Welfare Unit since 1986. He was a Labour councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne from 1976 until 1981, and from 1981 to 1983 was a Research Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Deputy Director / Director of Family & Education
Anastasia de Waal was appointed Deputy Director in November 2009. She continues to be the Director of Family and Education at Civitas. A social policy analyst, she is also a qualified primary school teacher, trained specifically for teaching in the inner city. She is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media, panellist for The Observer and board member of Women’s Parliamentary Radio.
Her publications include Inspection, Inspection, Inspection, 2006; Second Thoughts on the Family, 2008; and Inspecting the Inspectorate, (ed.), 2008.
Editorial Director and Director of Communications
Daniel joined Civitas in March 2013. He was previously a journalist for 12 years, including nine in the House of Commons, most recently as Political Correspondent for the Press Association.
Director of Civitas Schools
Michele Ledda joined Civitas in 2007 to co-ordinate the supplementary schools project in Yorkshire. In 2015 he became the Director of Civitas Schools.
Curriculum Project Director
Emma joined Civitas in 2012 to work on the Core Knowledge UK curriculum project. She is a qualified primary school teacher with experience working in inner city London. She taught in a state primary school for five years, was religious education co-ordinator and a member of the senior leadership team. In her previous position Emma ran after-school training for parents to support their children’s learning and acted as a mentor for newly qualified teachers. Emma qualified as a teacher on a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) programme after working as an assistant in the European Parliament in Brussels.
Director of the Civitas Criminal Justice Unit (Visiting)
Professor Malcolm Davies joined Civitas in November 2000 as part-time Director of the Criminal Justice Unit.
Professor Davies is also Director of the Criminal Justice Centre based in Ealing Law School at Thames Valley University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley (1987/8 and 1990), and at the Law School at UC Davis (1987/8 and 1990); and, a visiting Lecturer on the International Criminal Law Programme in the Department of Criminal Law and Procedures, at the University of Helsinki (1994 and 1996).
In 1990 he was awarded a one-year Senior Research Fellowship in the Bureau of Criminal Statistics, in the Attorney General’s Office in California. His other international collaborations have been in recent years with National Research Institute of Legal Policy, Helsinki and the Department of Criminology at the University of Oslo.
His research interests and academic writings have focused on sentencing theory and policy, the credibility of community sentences, sentencing policy in other jurisdictions, especially California, and European harmonisation of sentencing policy. His latest collaborative project with Finland and Norway involves an analysis of judges’ views on sentencing burglars.
He has written with Dr Hazel Croall and Jane Tyrer JP a widely used textbook Criminal Justice: An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales, first published by Longmans in 1995; now in its second edition (1998). He is also author of Punishing Criminals: Developing Community-Based Intermediate Sanctions, Greenwood Publications, Connecticut, 1993; and, with J-P Takala and J Tyrer, Penological Esperanto and Sentencing Parochialism: A Comparative Study of Non-Prison Punishments, Dartmouth, Aldershot, 1996. Forthcoming publications include: ‘The Criminal Justice System of England and Wales’ in The Encyclopaedia of Crime and Justice, Macmillan Reference: New York: and with J-P Takala and J Tyrer, ‘Sentencing Burglars in England and Finland’, in Sentencing and Society: International Perspectives, eds. N. Hutton and C. Tata, Ashgate: Aldershot.
Catherine Green is responsible for the subscription and membership service.
Carol Bristow joined Civitas in 2010 as Office Manager.
Janet Russell joined Civitas in 2000 to manage book sales and distribution.
Professorial Research Fellow (Visiting)
Dr Catherine Hakim joined Civitas in 2013. Her personal website is here.
Professorial Research Fellow (Visiting)
Professor Peter Saunders joined Civitas in 2010. His personal website is here.
Professorial Research Fellow (Visiting)
Professor David Conway joined Civitas in 2004. Before joining Civitas he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Middlesex. His publications include A Farewell to Marx; Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal; Free-Market Feminism; The Rediscovery of Wisdom and In Defence of the Realm: The Place of Nations in Classical Liberalism; A Nation of Immigrants?, 2007; and Liberal Education and the National Curriculum, 2009.
Jon Gower Davies
Senior Research Fellow (Visiting)
Jon Davies joined Civitas as visiting senior research fellow in 2008.
Senior Research Fellow (Visiting)
Jonathan Foreman joined Civitas as visiting senior research fellow in 2011 to work on overseas aid and policing.
Education Research Fellow (Visiting)
Robert joined Civitas in 2013, having spent two years on the Teach First programme teaching history in a secondary school in Birmingham. He now teaches at the West London Free School.
In 2013, total income was £893,821. Of this, donations amounted to £822,921. A further £33,032 was received from the sale of publications and an additional £37,868 from interest and dividends.
Our policy is to encourage donations from a wide variety of sources so that we are not unduly reliant on any one donor. So that authors can write without fear or favour, our publications are not sponsored. Many companies and charitable foundations like to focus their charitable giving on a specific project, such as a Saturday school, and so we do allow organisations to sponsor our supplementary schools. Philanthropic support for the education of children who are falling behind at school does not involve a potential conflict of interest.
We publish the names of donors who, on request, are willing to be identified. However, we respect the privacy of donors when they have a legal right to make charitable donations without being publicly identified. While transparency is an important value, there are also good reasons why some foundations and individuals prefer not to be identified. This might include modesty, personal security, or a desire to avoid being aggressively targeted for donations by other organisations.
Saturday schools and the primary school curriculum
Donations for Civitas Saturday schools and the related curriculum development project came to £366,405 in 2013. Of this, £258,000 came from charitable foundations, £83,500 from limited companies, and £4,905 from individuals.
The largest donations from charitable foundations were £150,000, £40,000, £35,000, £20,500 and £12,500.
Named companies gave as follows: Macmillan £19,000; Google £25,000; News International £19,500. Another company gave £20,000.
Research, seminars, and publications
A total of £456,516 was donated for our research, seminars, publications and related work. Charitable foundations gave £249,000 and companies donated £19,500. One company gave £10,000, another gave £5,000, and the others gave smaller amounts.
Individual donations of £5,000 or more came to £105,000 and individual donations of under £5,000 reached a total of £83,016.
The largest individual donation was £60,000, followed by donations for £20,000, £15,000, and £10,000. The remainder were for smaller amounts.
Annual report and audited accounts for 2010
Annual report and audited accounts for 2011
Annual report and audited accounts for 2012
Annual report and audited accounts for 2013
Annual report and audited accounts for 2014
Annual report and audited accounts for 2015
- Meg Allen
- Ivan Bradbury
- Dr David Costain (Chairman)
- Sir Alan Rudge
- Professor Peter Saunders
- The Honourable Justin Shaw
- Lord Vinson of Roddam Dene
Academic Advisory Council
- Professor Brenda Almond (University of Hull)
- Professor Barbara Ballis Lal (UCLA)
- Professor Peter Collison (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
- Professor Tim Congdon
- Professor David Conway (Middlesex University)
- Thomas Griffin
- Professor Dennis O’Keeffe (University of Buckingham)
- Professor Robert Pinker (London School of Economics)
- Professor Duncan Reekie (University of Witwatersrand)
- Professor Peter Saunders
- Dr Jim Thornton (University of Nottingham)
- Professor James Tooley (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)