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Profile of Civitas

Civitas Key people

The team includes the Director, Dr David Green, Deputy Director Robert Whelan (who is also Managing director of the New Model School Company) and Deputy Director Anastasia de Waal, who is responsible for research. The Chairman of their Trustees is the Hon Justin Shaw.

Basic philosophy

Civitas is the Institute for the Study of Civil Society. It started as the Health & Welfare Unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs but divorced from it in order to grow and because libertarian elements within the IEA disapproved on the focus on non-narrowly economic issues.

Civitas has given a lot of attention to the failings of state schools, hospitals and welfare provision as well as carrying out research on crime and immigration.

Recent achievements

Very much a "do tank" Civitas' most impressive recent effort has been establishing three independent day schools for primary school aged children. The fees (about £5,000 a year) are much lower than other fee paying schools. They are roughly in line with the cost per pupil of state education. The company that operates them is an offshoot of Civitas called The New Model School Company Ltd. The lessons learnt in the process are an important influence on Michael Gove MP as he drafts a supply-side revolution for the whole of the UK schools system.

A related Civitas project concerns supplementary schools. These have provided lessons for 350 children a week who have been let down by the state system. They have also undertaken a literacy project in Tottenham with the London Boxing Academy. Youths who have been permanently excluded from state schools are helped through a mixture of sport and academic work to pass their GCSEs.

While other think tanks might write monographs lamenting the inadequate teaching of British history, Civitas raised money to reprint Our Island Story by Henrietta Marshall, sending out thousands of copies to those school libraries than wanted them.

Civitas has also arranged for teaching materials and visiting speakers to help ensure that the European Union is taught objectively in schools.

So far as their research work is concerned, Civitas has estimated that membership of the European Union costs the UK £40 billion a year.

Civitas has also covered Islamic extremism and a report on Muslim schools. They have warned parents against a "misplaced confidence" in Ofsted reports.

Some criminologists derided a report they produced suggesting that crimes was getting worse due to a breakdown in "shared values." It also annoyed the police. Dr David Green has been Britain's leading champion of the policy described by former Home Secretary Michael Howard as "prison works". He argues that more incarceration reduces crime, mainly because high-frequency offenders are removed from the streets (see here, here and here).

They have also have a blog.

Future plans

There are plans to increase the number of supplementary schools during 2010 if sponsors can be found.

On the research side they are looking at crime with a focus on young offenders - this will include an assessment of whether tagging is effective, also how prison education could be improved and what more could done to prevent crime taking place through early intervention.

A paper on immigration will look at how newly arrived immigrants could integrate more effectively - for instance with help learning English.

A paper on the curriculum will propose changes to the National Curriculum - particularly with regard to history.

Ruth Lea, formerly of the Centre for Policy Studies, is chairing a Civitas project on reviving manufacturing industry.

Approximate budget and number of staff

As a charity their accounts are published. Last year their income was £975,311. 19 members of staff are listed in heir website.

Contact details


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