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PSA Teachers' e-Newsletter: April 2016

Dear Colleagues, 

This year Easter occured exceptionally early, meaning in some areas the holidays are only now just beginning. We hope for those of you about to begin your break that you have a relaxing time and for those who are back at school this week that you had an enjoyable Easter.

Key news this month includes:

- The announcement of our 2016 programme of FREE PSA Schools Workshops on Applying to Study Politics at University

- An offer for FREE Tickets to the PSA Annual Public Lecture to hear Oscar winning actress and ex-MP Glenda Jackson and The Guardian's Theatre Critic, Michael Billington, speak on Shakespeare and Politics 

- Highlights from the 2016 PSA Annual International Conference 

A call for nominations for PSA Executive Committee vacancies

These news stories as well as others are covered in more detail below. 

FREE PSA Schools Workshops on Applying to Study Politics at University

The PSA will again be holding workshops in June 2016 for Politics students to learn about applying to study Politics at university. 

These events allow students considering their post-18 options an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of the discipline at undergraduate level as well as the application process and opportunities beyond the degree programme. Sessions will include lectures from established academics on contemporary issues as well as talks by admissions tutors on how to write strong applications and by current Politics students about what to expect when they get to university

Workshops will be taking place at the following institutions:

Strathclyde University – Wednesday 15th June
King’s College London - Monday 20th June
Manchester University – Wednesday 22nd June

Click on this link to apply for places at the workshops. 

As PSA members your schools get priority booking for these workshops. Students who have attended these workshops in the past have always found them to be extremely useful. In particular, the session on the application process, which is led by a politics admissions tutor, outlines the process in much more detail than time permits during an Open Day. Lunch will also be provided for students and their teacher(s).

Please note: places are available on a first come first served basis. Students are welcome to attend on their own by registering individually.

FREE Tickets to PSA Annual Public Lecture: Glenda Jackson and Michael Billington In Conversation on Shakespeare and Politics

The Annual PSA Public Lecture will this year be taking place in partnership with the British Library. The Oscar winning actress and Labour ex-MP Glenda Jackson will be speaking in conversation with Michael Billington, the longstanding Theatre Critic of The Guardian. 

The pair will speak on the theme: 'Is Shakespeare Always Political?'. They will discuss the political themes within Shakespeare’s plays and whether he voiced the political issues of his time or if his works have been appropriated by each new generation to suit their own ends.

This annual Political Studies Association public event focuses on a small selection of plays, including Hamlet, King LearThe Tempest, and Henry V, while exploring the breadth of Shakespeare’s work and looking at productions around the world, at political interpretations and at the politics of the audience.

This event will take place on Monday 20th June from 18.30 to 20.00 at the Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB.

Normally the British Library charges for its lectures. However, the PSA has 100 FREE tickets available for this talk. 

These 100 tickets will be opened up to the entire PSA membership, but we do hope that there will a sizeable attendance from students at our member schools, particularly as one of our Workshops on Applying to Study Politics at University will be held on the same day at King's College London. The tickets aren't just available for students studying Politics, but also those studying English Language and Literature, Theatre Studies, Drama and interested pupils beyond the discipline of Politics.  

If you are interested in attending the talk please email with me with details of your school and the number of students attending via: josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk.

Tickets are offered on a first come, first served basis.  

66th PSA Annual Conference Highlights

The week before Easter saw academics from around the world gather in Brighton for the 66th PSA Annual International Conference. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Politics and the Good Life’. 

A full round up of the conference can be viewed here. Photos from the conference can be viewed via our Flickr account, and highlights from the lively online discussions can be found via Storify.

At this year’s Sixth Form Session there was a talk by Professor John Denham (Winchester University), the former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister. He spoke on the topic of ‘England and the EU’ and focused on the effect of how various factors, such as strength of national identity and partisanship, haved shaped how English voters form opinions on the EU. Slides from the talk will be available shortly here.

PSA Executive Committee Vacancies

Nominations are currently open for three vacancies to the Executive Committee, the ruling body of the PSA. There are opportunities to serve as Honorary Secretary to the PSA Executive Committee as well as two vacancies for the role of Trustee of the PSA.

The PSA would welcome applications from our teacher members. All positions are for a term of three years starting on the 24th June 2016. 

All nominations must be proposed and seconded by PSA members. If there are more nominations than vacancies an election via electronic ballot of the whole PSA membership will take place. 

For information about the roles and responsibilities of these positions, the application process and nomination papers see this link.  

Nomination papers must be returned via post or email by Friday 15th April at 12 noon


FREE PSA-Parliament Education Service Joint Professional Development Conference

There are still spaces available for the above FREE event, which will be held on Tuesday 14th June 2016 on the Parliamentary Estate.

The theme of this conference will be ‘Political Leadership and Power in UK Politics’. The day-long event will cover aspects of political power at the heart of British politics, such as the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Cabinet as well as the power dynamics within political parties.

Delegates will also be invited to attend an optional Tour of the Palace of Westminster and the new Parliament Education Centre during the morning of the conference. Those members who have already registered will be sent additional information later this week.

If you haven’t previously done so, you can register your interest for this event by completing the form through the following link

OfQual Consultation on Proposed Conditions and Guidance for the new Politics AS and A Levels

As you will be aware from the newsletter that I sent to you last week, the PSA are keen to draw the attention of our teacher members to a current consultation by the exams regulator OfQual. The consultation is focused on the ‘Conditions and Guidance’ for exam awarding bodies on interpreting the new subject content for the AS and A Level Politics from 2017. Such subject specific guidance is usual following on from a review of content, such as the one recently undertaken on AS and A Level Politics by the Department for Education.

The consultation document can be viewed here. The PSA have given their response and this can be accessed through this link.

As teachers, the proposed guidance on assessment objectives may be of most interest to you. We would encourage teachers to read the consultation and to respond. The best way to do this would be to complete the consultation document here and email it to consultations@ofqual.gov.uk. Please include the words ‘Politics Consultation 2016’ in the subject line and cc the PSA via: josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk. In so doing, the PSA will have a clearer idea of our members’ views on this issue.  The deadline for responses is 8th April 2016.

Best Practice Review into Post-16 Politics Education in Ireland

A new Politics and Society course will be introduced in Ireland at the Leaving Certificate Level from 2018. The new course specification is being piloted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in 41 schools across Ireland from September 2016. For more details see here.

MC Bride Consulting is creating teaching resources in response to this and as part of this process are conducting a Best Practice Review into the teaching of Politics for students aged 16 and over in several European countries, including the UK.

They are particularly interested in the British example because of the recent reforms to A Level Politics in the UK. They are seeking participants who teach Politics A Level in Britain to take part in telephone or Skype interviews. These will last between 30 to 40 minutes long and be based on 3 to 4 semi structured questions. These will be focused on teaching strategies, assessment techniques and resources.

The results of the review will feed into the work of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the development of resources to be used in Irish classrooms and will be shared to the PSA membership on its completion.

Teachers who are interested in taking part should contact Ms. Mary Teresa Mc Bride via: maryteresa@mcbrideconsult.net.

Keeping up-to-date with the PSA schools' initiatives

Follow the PSA on Twitter or search for the #PSAschools hashtag for real time updates for all our schools' activities, news and campaigns.

As a PSA Teacher Member you have full access to the Schools’ Area of the PSA website.  Here you can find all the latest information about the following initiatives we offer to schools:

•         Free Speakers Programmes for Schools sessions
•         Free professional development resources
•         Free subscriptions to leading publications, including Political Insight
•         Priority registration to PSA schools' events
•         Priority registration for student career workshops

Keeping In Touch...

Don't forget, members can access the Teachers' e-News archive online here.

We're always keen to hear from you, so please keep in touch or let the PSA know how we can serve you better. If you feel any colleagues would be interested in this e-Newsletter, please forward them a copy.

With very best wishes,

Josh Niderost

Programme Development and Outreach Officer

020 7321 2545
PSA Head Office, 113a Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6HJ.