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Dear PSA teacher members,

2014 has been a very busy year for the Political Studies Association.  A whole host of new and exciting developments have happened since we last wrote to you – including exciting news for our Teacher Members.

Outlined in your Spring 2014 e-Newsletter are all the details for the number of activities and workshops scheduled for this summer and later this year that we hope will be of interest to you and your students. In addition to all of this, we are delighted to announce that our Short Video Competition will return for a fourth year – the competition guidelines are detailed below.

Developing our communication with schools

Your membership and engagement with our organisation is important to us as your students are the future of our discipline and we are putting increasing resources into expanding our offering to schools. To help enhance our schools’ activities, the PSA has appointed a new member of staff in our London Office.  Working closely with our teacher members, James Ludley joins us as our new Programme Development Officer. 

This is a new role and one which we hope will act as a point of contact for all our teacher members and help to develop the resources and services we provide which matter to you and your students. James is contactable on: james.ludley@psa.ac.uk or  0207 330 9284.  Please get in touch if you have any initial thoughts or ideas on how your membership experience could be improved or enhanced.  As a priority, James will be working on producing a suite of teaching resources.

FREE workshops on applying to study politics at university

Throughout June and July we are once again holding a number of free half-day workshops across the country on applying to study politics at a British university.

These free workshops are designed for your students and include a lecture by a leading academic in Political Studies. The workshops will cover areas such as: selecting the right course and institution, the application process, and what to expect when you get to university. Lunch will also be provided. 

The 2014 workshops are taking place on the following dates:

  1. Wednesday 18 June - University of Edinburgh
  2. Tuesday 24 June - University of Manchester
  3. Monday 30 June - University of Nottingham
  4. Wednesday 2 July - University College London
  5. Friday 11 July – University of Bristol

There will also be plenty of opportunity for your students to ask questions at each session. Please book early to avoid disappointment by completing the Schools Workshop Registration Form or by contacting the PSA on: info@psa.ac.uk/020 7330 9288.

Exclusive to PSA teacher members: 'Speakers Programme for Schools'

Academics from across the politics discipline are available to visit your school free of charge to give lectures to your students on any subject of your choice related to the A Level or Higher Curriculum.

As well as finding the academic best suited to the subject of your lecture, the PSA will pay all travel costs, even where these exceed the costs of teacher membership.

Read about Dr. Cathy Gormley Heenan's (pictured), of the University of Ulster and a trustee of the PSA, visit to Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry, Co. Down here.

For more information about the programme, please visit our website

'Student Short Video Competition 2014'

We are delighted to announce that the PSA Student Short Video Competition is returning for a fourth year.

This year’s competition asks your students to explore the question: "Europe - in or out?"

We are inviting groups of A Level and Higher Education students to submit short videos on this subject.  Shortlisted groups will be invited to Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster to discuss the ideas raised in their video with a panel of politicians, journalists and academics.

The winning group will receive their award at the PSA’s Annual Awards Dinner in London on 25 November, broadcast on BBC Parliament, with accommodation provided for them and their teacher in a central London hotel.  On top of this, the winning students will each be invited to spend a week shadowing the YouGov political team* during their school holidays!

For last year’s winning entry, all the rules and how to enter, please click here.  

*Please note that these are work experience positions and are therefore unpaid. However, YouGov will contribute £5 per person per day towards expenses.

Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission: Young People and Politics

As part of our on-going commitment to promoting political activism and democratic engagement, the Association is pleased to announce the publication of a new volume, Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission: Young People and Politics.

The volume builds on the work of the Youth Citizenship Commission and other research by members of the Political Studies Association and seeks to further energise debates about young people and democratic participation.  An electronic copy of the Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission: Young People and Politics volume can be downloaded here.

For further details of PSA youth citizenship events linked to the project or to ask for a hard copy of the volume, please contact Dr Andy Mycock.

2014 election media briefings

The PSA hosts a number of briefings throughout the year on topics of interest to the media.  The videos and briefing papers are accessible via our website and may be downloaded as a useful resource to your lessons and teaching.

The Royal Town Planning Institute: Bringing planning into the classroom

To celebrate its centenary, Ambassadors from the Royal Town Planning Institute are visiting schools all over the UK and Ireland to explain how planning affects so many aspects of our lives.  This will be a very good opportunity to get young people aged 11-18 thinking about the place where they live, and the challenges communities face in the future.

Michael Martin, Careers Lead at the RTPI is working with the PSA to encourage schools to take up this opportunity for their students:

“We want to show students how professional planners are involved in important issues every day. If students are studying politics or social sciences and are concerned about issues such as the environment, then at some point a career in planning may be the right choice.

“Our Future Planners programme takes place in your classroom, by an RTPI Ambassador who will deliver a film and a presentation relating to the environment and human impact. As well as this programme, we are also developing materials to support teachers, helping them build a planning element into their teaching.”

To find out more and to arrange an RTPI Ambassador visit please see RTPI's website

PSA Teachers’ Group

To ensure we are in touch with the specific needs of teacher members, a Teachers’ Group was recently formed.  Consisting of 7 Teacher Members from around the UK, this group meets regularly with PSA Trustees to feed in how we can continue to provide the best resources and services that matter to you and your students.

The group welcomes and encourages new members who are keen on working with us to enhance our offering to schools.  Please let us know if you would like to become more involved with the Teachers’ Group.

Educational visits to Europe House in London

Whether you're teaching about Europe in Geography, History, Citizenship or Politics, a visit to the European Parliament information office in the UK will help support your work and enhance your students' learning. 

The sessions are specially designed to be interactive, politically neutral and suitable for for 11-18 year olds at schools and colleges, including those studying for GCSE, A-Level and BTEC qualifications.  They are completely free of charge – find out more here.

Education Committee inquiry into examinations for 15 to 19 year olds in England

The Education Committee will hold a short inquiry to follow up its previous work on examinations for 15 to 19 year olds in England. 

The Committee has invited brief written comments on plans for the administration and structure of the new GCSEs and A levels in advance of the first session.  For more information and how to respond, please visit our news page

Political Insight magazine

As a teacher member you receive copies of the PSA’s topical magazine Political Insight.  You will have noticed the magazine has been redesigned to be more visually compelling and always includes at least one article on an issue covered in the A Level or Higher curriculum.  We hope it continues as a valuable teaching resource for our teacher members.

We are always keen to hear from you, so please keep in touch, and let us know how we can serve you better.  If you have colleagues you feel would be interested in this e-Newsletter, please forward them a copy.