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PSA Teachers' e-News: November 2014

FAO:  , 5th December

Dear ,

It always amazes me how quickly the academic year passes and this has been a particularly busy one so far! As we enter the final weeks of the calendar year, on behalf of everyone at the PSA may I offer you and your students at our season’s greetings. 

Thank you for your continued support during 2014. I hope you have a relaxing Christmas and a good break when it comes.

"Completing GCSE, AS and A Level Reform" consultation results

This week there have been some developments from Ofqual who have now published their "Completing GCSE, AS and A Level Reform" consultation results.  

This doesn’t actually say too much more about the “third tranche” subjects, such as Government and Politics A-level.  Read the end of Page 3 in their summary document which makes a brief statement on the process for reform of subjects to be taught first in 2017.

A-level Reform Meeting: London 30/01/2015

Given the outcome of Ofqual's consultation, the PSA is very keen to help facilitate dialogue and engagement to ensure progress is being made for new Government and Politics course content.

To this end, the PSA is convening a meeting of Government and Politics A-level teachers and representatives from all the main awarding bodies to discuss A-level reform on the afternoon of Friday 30th January, 2015 4pm – 5.30pm at a central London location.

We hope this meeting is also a strong opportunity and the step in the right direction to help secure the subject’s future.  Ultimately, the awarding bodies have commercial factors to consider and must therefore decide whether the subject is worth investing in, so it is in our interests to promote the vibrancy of the subject in schools and colleges to awarding bodies of all descriptions.

We do hope you can join us. To register for this meeting, please e-mail James Ludley. The venue will be in central London (TBC). Capacity is likely to be limited and places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

A-level Reform and Teachers' Workshop: Belfast 23/01/15

The PSA is pleased to announce the details for a FREE half-day Teaching Political Studies: Development Workshop in partnership with the University of Ulster on Friday 23rd January 2015 from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.

A programme for the day can be viewed here.  Full details and how to register for this workshop can be found on the PSA's website here.

We are pleased to be joined by CCEA’s Subject Officer for Government and Politics for a session regarding the developments to the reformed A-level specification.

Portsmouth Grammar School crowned the winners of our Schools Short Video Competition 2014

Five students from Portsmouth Grammar School (pictured) were announced as the winners of the annual PSA Student Short Video Competition by Speaker John Bercow MP at the final of the Competition at Speaker's House on 11 November.

The winning students, Dom Waters, Lara Spirit, Nick Ward, Ellie Jewell and Hugh Summers were presented with their award by PSA Chair Matthew Flinders at the PSA Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday 25th of November. The students have also been offered the chance to work as interns at YouGov for a week.

Students were asked to explore the question: "Europe - In or Out?" when making their short videos and the winning video composition was a clever and creative spoof of ITV's The Jeremy Kyle Show.

All of the entries to another successful year of the Student Video Competition are now uploaded onto the schools' area of the PSA website. Thank you to everyone who took part!

Hardcopy or #Hashtag?: young people’s vision for a digital parliament

Students from 15 schools and youth groups from around the UK descended upon Westminster on Monday 17 November to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts on how digital technology can be used to increase youth engagement with Parliament.

Digital maps, apps and forums are just some of the platforms that students suggested could be utilised to help their peers better engage with Parliament. The event, “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?” was a culmination of a series of fifteen workshops organised by the PSA in UK schools and universities between 8 September and 20 October, 2014 as part of this year’s Parliament Week initiative.

After a lively discussion involving the panel (actor and film maker Femi Oyeniran, Aileen Walker, Director of Public Engagement, House of Commons and Drew Thomson, Founder of Starcount) and the audience, an interactive vote using electronic voting handsets determined that the favourite idea of those in attendance was Vloggers by Sebastien Rocks and Daisy Bamfield of Oakwood School, Kent (pictured above with Femi Oyeniran).

To read about the concept behind Vloggers and the other 14 ideas which were presented on the day, please see our official "Hardcopy or #Hashtag?" handbook. Photos from the event have now been uploaded to our Facebook page and we have also published a detailed Storify of the successful day at Portcullis House.

Free Parliamentary drop-in sessions

Parliamentary Outreach holds free regular drop-in sessions for anyone who wants to find out more about how Parliament works, and how to get involved.

Forthcoming sessions:

Thursday 18 December 2014
Thursday 15 January 2015
Thursday 19 February 2015
Thursday 26 March 2015

The sessions are open to anyone who wants to learn more about the House of Commons and the House of Lords. All you have to do is book a place.  If you are interested in attending one of the drop-in sessions, please contact Parliamentary Outreach via this link.

Changing World – ESRC photographic competition 2015

As part of the ERSC's 50th anniversary celebrations, Changing World photographic competition will examine how the world has changed over the last 50 years, how will it continue to change and what social sciences can tell us.

The competition offers six diverse categories for your students to enter, ranging from the family to technology to the environment. Their images should convey how they think the world has changed or will continue to change.

The competition is open for those aged 14 to 18 who have an interest in photography or the social sciences with £2,000 of prizes to be won. Details of how to enter can be found online here.

PSA Christmas Office Hours

The PSA Head Office will be closed from:

Wednesday 24th December - Thursday 1st January

Please contact info@psa.ac.uk between 20th December and 4th January.

Or call 020 7321 2545 to leave a message.

Keeping in touch...

Follow the PSA on Twitter or search for the #PSAschools hashtag for real time updates for all our schools' activities and news.  Don't forget, if you missed a previous monthly Teachers' e-Newsletter members can access the Teachers' e-News archive online here.

I’m always keen to hear from you, so please keep in touch or let me 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,

James Ludley
Programme Development Officer

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