I wanted to write to you all and introduce myself as the new Head of the Teachers’ Network, and to explain what we hope to be achieving in the forthcoming months and years. Professor Matt Flinders, Chair of the PSA, has been working on a ten year strategy for the PSA and he very much wants schools, colleges and secondary education institutions to be a central part of the PSA community.
We are, of course, at another one of those crossroads where at the time of writing, we await the final approval of the new specification for A Level Politics. This, of course, is not a satisfactory situation, and at the last PSA Executive Committee meeting I explained the pressures this is generating. The PSA will continue to work with the exam boards to attempt to resolve the matter of approval as soon as possible.
This is both an exciting and a challenging time, and I hope that the PSA can help with the transition. On the positive side, our students should be some of the best prepared candidates for Politics degrees, and the university sector wants us to be involved in keeping them up to date with how successful or otherwise the new specifications prove to be. At the same time, many institutions are under pressure with the new linear A level courses and are only offering students three courses at A Level instead of four. We are aware that some teachers are experiencing a drop in numbers. In the coming months we hope to produce promotional material encouraging the study of Politics at this level.
The new course also offers challenges in terms of teaching expertise and resources. We will all be teaching ideologies and for some this will be a change. Similarly, a new option in Global Politics has been strongly supported by the university sector, but again this sets comparable challenges. We will be working with our university colleagues to provide up to date and accessible resources for our classes, and we have started planning a conference to be held early in 2018 where we will review how the new specification is working and will offer workshops in Ideologies, US and Global Politics, as well as events throughout 2017.
We on the committee need to hear from you to see how best the PSA can support its teacher members. Please email us any thoughts and suggestions. We have a world class resource bank, comprising the expertise of our university sector, which is keen to help either by producing resources or offering input to schools. It is important that we increase our membership as it is clear the PSA is not well known amongst Politics teachers. To remedy this, we aim to try to establish regional and cluster groups, and your help in spreading the word will be vital.
I feel that we have a real opportunity to provide members access to resources and events to assist with teaching the new qualification and to build a meaningful relationship with the university sector which will be of enormous benefit to ourselves and our students.
David Wendelken, Chair of the PSA Teachers' Network