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PSA Teachers' e-News: September 2015

FAO:  , 7th September.

Dear ,

I hope you have had an enjoyable summer break, and also that you and your students had a successful results day(s) last month!

This is the first monthly PSA Teachers' e-Newsletter of the academic year, which begins an exciting 12 months ahead as we continue to develop our offering to schools.

Also, on the PSA Teacher Forums this month (full details below) we're really interested to know whether the excitment of recent political events has helped to increase your student numbers for the new academic year? Let us know here.

NEW: PSA Teachers' Topic Guides

The PSA has commissioned a suite of Teachers’ Topic Guides which aim to pitch resources for A-level and Scottish Higher Curriculum teachers looking to keep up with modern developments, and/or provide material to more advanced students who may be able to go beyond the basics and either grasp more difficult concepts or read further on the topic.

We're delighted to formally publish the first two in the series of these guides:

  1. "Pressure Groups and Government" by Professor Paul Cairney (Stirling).
  2. "EU Institutions and Their Relationships" by Dr Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt (Brunel)

Further guides are currently being finalised and we are hoping to be launching an additional 4 or 5 Teachers' Topic Guides by the end of September. Further details will be outlined in due course.

Additionally, if there is a particular area of the curriculum that you feel would benefit from a PSA Teachers' Topic Guide, then please get in touch and let me know: james.ludley@psa.ac.uk

Teacher Members can download PSA Teachers' Topic Guides for free from the PSA website here: www.psa.ac.uk/psa-teachers'-topic-guides (login required)

COMPETITION: “Designing for Democracy – what would you propose?”

There is still time to enter this year’s PSA Student Short Video Competition.

Returning for the fifth year, we have teamed up with YouGov and the Design Commission to ask your students to explore the question:

Designing for Democracy – what would you propose?” 

The aim of this competition is to get students exploring the advantages and disadvantages of different types of democratic systems, whilst creating their own proposal. Interestingly the competition has been blogged or publicised by many MPs and politicians from around the country.

Check out our competition poster outlining all the details about this year’s competition and for how to enter. For video ideas please view our 2014 competition page online here.

The deadline for submissions is October 16th 2015. Please contact Jame Ludley when you are ready to upload your video.

Parliament Week 2015

Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connect people with parliamentary democracy and what this means to them and their community.

Organisations, schools and universities across the UK run events and activities throughout Parliament Week which explore this theme. Parliament Week is coordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords. All events can be found online here.

Partnering with the People's History Museum, Manchester

Monday 16th November, 1pm - 4pm

We are delighted to announce that for this year's initiative we are partnering up with The People's History Museum, Manchester who are kindly hosting the PSA's 'big' workshop for what will be the main PSA Parliament Week event on the afternoon of Monday 16th November.

Registration and full details for the event on 16th November at PHM is open online here.

It will consist mainly of small group discussions facilitated by politics undergraduate students or academics, to support a discussion on what parliament does and how it could improve in the future.

As always PSA teacher members will receive priority registration. However, please note that all groups of students MUST be accompanied by at least one member of teaching staff and groups must be registered via a teacher and not individually.

Run a PSA Parliament Week workshop in your classroom...

7 September - 22 November 2015 | #PSAPW

We want to encourage PSA teacher members to lead a workshop about Parliament in your classroom. Each workshop would be divided into two parts: one identifying what Parliament does; the second reflecting on what it should do better in the future.

Workshops could be led by students for a non-politics audience. Target audiences could also include Key Stage 4 pupils thinking about Government and Politics at A-level (although this doesn't apply in Scotland). Last year, we had 15 regional workshops (for details, click here)!

In order to support these workshops, we have produced a a Resource Pack. This contains support, ideas and guidelines to undertake a successful workshop. You can find the Pack by clicking here.

Workshops can be held at any time between 7 September and 22 November 2015. If you are interested in running a workshop, please let us know by completeing this online form here.

PSA Teacher Forum Discussions

There is now an online discussion forum for teacher members and academics alike to participate in a discussion about the shape the new A-level curriculum should take and the reforms the PSA should promote to the exam boards.

Additionally, we hope that the forum functionality will be a useful tool in sharing ideas and generating discussion amongst our ever growing teacher network.

For example, we're really interested to know whether the excitment of the General Election and the Scottish Referendum before that has helped to increase your student numbers for the new academic year? Let us know here.

You can access and add to the current forum discussions online here. Or simply click on the "PSA Communities" drop down tab, click "Schools", and then click the "Forum" button at the bottom of the right-hand side toolbar.

Education Committee - call for evidence on the work of Ofqual

The Education Select Committee is holding a one-off evidence session on the work of Ofqual with the Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, and the Chair of Ofqual, Amanda Spielman, on Wednesday 14 October 2015.

The Committee is inviting short written submissions on the work of Ofqual in regulating examinations, including reform of GCSEs and A levels.

Full details can be found online here. The deadline for receipt of evidence is noon on Friday 2 October 2015.

Festival of Freedoms: Celebrating 800 years of rights and representations

1 September – 25 October 2015 | #freedomsfest

Enjoy more than 30 free talks, debates, exhibitions and walks taking place at the Houses of Parliament and venues across the UK.

Parliament Education team will be questioning the impact of equality legislation, drawing parallels between 18th century petitioners and how to petition Parliament today, examining parliamentary recording and reporting, unearthing hidden histories and introducing you (sometimes in person!) to some of our political and democratic pioneers.

To book your place and for full details click the following link.

VIDEO: Personal Statement - what universities are looking for

In June and July we successfully ran a series of free one-day workshops for students thinking of studying politics as a single or joint honours degree.  The workshops covered areas such as: selecting the right course and institution, the application process, and what to expect when you get to university. 

As your Upper Sixth or Higher students begin to think about drafting their personal statements, please take a moment to share the following video from Dr Lee Savage, Admissions Tutor at King's College, London for his thoughts and advice on the application process:

Both presentations were delivered at our workshop on 'Applying to Study Politics at University' at University College London on 29th of June 2015.

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.

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.