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PSA Teachers' e-News: March 2016

It's been a busy start to 2016! There are four noteworthy items we just wanted to inform you about; 

  • New content for Politics at AS and A Level. 
  • The Civitas EU Project
  • British-German Association essay competition
  • The Orwell Youth Prize

Full details of these items are below. 

New Content for politics at AS and A Level

The Government has published the final subject content for politics AS and A level to be taught from 2017.  You can view the new content here  The PSA responded to the open consultation, you can view our submission here.

The PSA welcomes the fact that the Government has listened to feedback from its consultation with stakeholders and notes that several important amendments have been made that go some considerable way to meeting the concerns raised by the PSA in its response to the Government’s consultation. There were several key areas of concern that the Association along with PSA specialist groups raised during the consultation period.

One area related to the introduction of political ideas and political ideology as a compulsory topic. Concern was raised both regarding the lack of diversity in the cited thinkers as well as the exclusion of some political ideologies - in particular feminism. In this latest and final version of the A level there is now greater diversity of the thinkers named in the Political Ideologies section. There is also a subtle but important move away from referring to these thinkers as key thinkers, and the implicit suggestion that the list is definitive. In its response to the consultation, the Government  notes that it sees these thinkers as ‘just the core theorists that all specifications will be required to include - specifications can include further thinkers and teachers are encouraged to include the work of a breadth of political thinkers in their teaching.’

In relation to the exclusion of feminism, the final subject content now includes feminism as one of five additional ideologies to be studied. A level students are required to choose one additional ideology from this list of five in addition to the three compulsory ideologies. Given that another major concern raised has been the amount of content and that there is too much content overall, the move to consider and include a wider range of political ideologies is significant - offering a pragmatic solution to the difficult question of how many and which political ideas to include. There is also now specific focus on gender and race in the section on democracy and participation.

Thank you for all your input into the consultation process. With your tremendous help the PSA has been able to work with the DfE in a constructive and productive way that has ultimately produced a revised subject content that is more engaging for students, which will hopefully help to attract greater numbers to the study of Politics in schools.

The Civitas EU Project

The Civitas EU Project aims to increase awareness amongst sixth form students about the EU, especially in light of the upcoming referendum on the UK's EU membership, in which some current students will be voting.

Civitas, an independent think tank, works together with the European Movement, an independent pressure group, arranging speakers to give balanced EU talks and to participate in EU debates.

This service is free of charge although contributions towards travel expenses for speakers are very welcome.

Further information can be found on our website: http://www.civitas.org.uk/eu-facts/eu-talks-and-debates/

To arrange an event, schools can contact them on 020 7799 6677 or email anna.sonny@civitas.org.uk

British-German Association essay competition 2016

The British-German Association (BGA) has launched a national essay competition, in English, open to all pupils in UK schools (whether studying German or not), asking the question: 'Germany and Britain: a key alliance for the 21st century?'. Cash prizes totalling £900 will be awarded, with a top prize of £300. The competition runs until 1 May 2016. Please advertise this across your school or college! Prizes will be awarded by the German Ambassador, Dr Peter Ammon, in June.

Further details, poster and entry form may be found on the BGA website: http://www.britishgermanassociation.org/what-is-youthbridge/youthbridge-news/

Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Youth Prize is a writing prize for young people aged 14 – 18, who are a school or college, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. It was established under the auspices of The Orwell Prize, the UK’s most prestigious prize for political writing, and aims to inspire and support the next generation of politically engaged young writers.

Vidya, one of the 2015 winners in the Years 12 and 13 category, said “Entering the Orwell Youth Prize, receiving helpful feedback and incisive critique from the judges, and of course the Celebration Day itself, has given me the confidence to seriously pursue writing as a possible career”.

For more information, please see http://theorwellprize.co.uk/the-orwell-youth-prize/how-to-enter/ or contact the administrator at admin@orwellyouthprize.co.uk or on 0207 848 7930.

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.

We are very sorry to see James Ludley leave but we have found an excellent replacement, Josh Niderost, who is joining us from Remebering Srebrenica, and will be starting on the 14th March. 

With very best wishes,

Helena Djurkovic 
Chief Executive 

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