Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

PSA Teachers' e-Newsletter: May 2016

Dear Colleagues, 

The revision and examations period is in full swing across the UK. We wish all of your students the best of luck and hope that they will be rewarded for all of the hardwork that they and you have undertaken.   

Key news this month includes:

- A reminder about Voting for Elections to the PSA's Executive Committee

- FREE Tickets to the PSA Annual Public Lecture

 The Launch of the 2016 PSA Schools' Short Video Competition

These news stories as well as others are covered in more detail below. 

You may remember that over the last couple of months, we published a call for nominations for two Trustee positions on our Executive Committee.

As four members have come forward for these two vacancies, we are now holding an online election on our website by Single Transferable Vote (STV).

Voting is now open for two vacant positions on the Executive Committee of the PSA.

Voting will run until 22:00 on 6 June 2016.

Login in to the PSA website and visit https://www.psa.ac.uk/election/16/ in order to cast your vote.

Candidates include Dr Joanie Willet, current PSA Executive Member; Dr David Wendelken, Politics teacher and member of the PSA’s Chair’s Commission on Reaching Out; Dr Donna Smith non trustee member of the PSA’s Education and Skills Committee; and Dr Umut Korkot, long standing PSA member. You can read more about the candidates on the PSA website.

Remember, only PSA members are eligible to vote in this poll and you will have to log-in to our website in order to vote. In the event that you have any queries regarding this election, please forward them to the PSA's Communications Officer, Stefanie Mair.

FREE Tickets to Annual PSA Lecture

There are still tickets available for the Annual PSA Public Lecture, which this year will be taking place in partnership with the British Library. The Oscar winning actress and Labour ex-MP Glenda Jackson will be speaking in conversation with Michael Billington, the longstanding Theatre Critic of The Guardian.

The pair will speak on the theme: ‘Is Shakespeare Always Political?'. They will discuss the political themes within Shakespeare’s plays and whether Shakespeare voiced the political issues of his time or if his works have been appropriated by each new generation to suit their own ends.

This annual Political Studies Association public event focuses on a small selection of plays, including Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, and Henry V, while exploring the breadth of Shakespeare’s work and looking at productions around the world, at political interpretations and at the politics of the audience.

This event will take place on Monday 20th June from 18.30 to 20.00 at the Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB.

Normally the British Library charges for its lectures. However, the PSA has 100 FREE tickets available for this talk.

These tickets have been opened to the entire PSA membership, but we do hope that there will a sizeable attendance from students at our member schools. The tickets are available for all students at our members schools, but may be of most interest to those studying Politics, English Language and Literature, Theatre Studies, and Drama.

Those interested should apply now to avoid disappointment.

Tickets are offered on a first come, first served basis. 

If you are interested in attending the talk please email with me with details of your school and the number of students attending via: josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk.

Revision Resouces 1

The PSA Blog is a great resource for expert analysis of political developments and events. Recent articles can provide contemporaneous research on a range of topics to give that added depth to higher level exam answers. Examples include: 

The New Blues? Explaining the success of the Scottish Conservative Party at the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections (Alia Middleton)

Brexit’s Bogeyman: The Much-Maligned Court of Justice of the European Union (Colin Murray)

Corbyn’s Organisational Dilemmas: Leaving a Mark, Making a Movement (Jake Watts)

Our Media briefings on the recent elections in the UK can also provide a backdrop for revising UK politics. Though please do note that the briefings contain predictions, which in some cases did come to pass. Students should always check on the results of the elections online, but the briefings do outline broad trends and historical realities. 

See here for briefings on:

Scottish and Welsh Elections (Professor John Curtice, Professor Richard Wyn Jones, and Professor Laura Cram)

Mayoral Elections (Professor Tony Travers and Professor Robin Hambleton)

English Local Elections (Professor Colin Rallings, Professor Michael Thrasher, and Professor Matthew Goodwin)

You can see the video of these and past briefings here.

Resources for Revision 2

A new website is setting out to engage young people in the UK on the EU referendum on 23rd June. 'Me & EU' aims to give young voters relevant information about the EU, which will aid and support them in making a decision in the run up to the referendum. This website can also be used as a set of resources for revising on the EU in preparation for exams. 

The ESRC-funded site is part of the wider 'The UK in A Changing Europe' project, which is producing a body of independent research on UK-EU relations. Recent research shows some 81 per cent of 12-to-24 year olds feel that they don’t know enough about the EU and how it affects their everyday lives.

The 2014 study completed by Dr Darren Sharpe of the University of East London (UEL) shows that only 7 per cent feel that they know ‘a lot’ about the EU, and just 12 per cent feel that the EU impacts on their lives ‘very much’.

On the issue of the EU please also look at this video made by Shout Out UK and supported by the PSA.

2016 PSA Schools' Short Video Competition Theme Launch

For the 5th year running the annual PSA’s Schools Short Video Competition is back! With much coverage and anticipation of the US Presidential election across the world, this year’s competition is taking inspiration from the United States. The competition title is:

Do you need to be Superman/Superwoman to be US President?

This theme looks not only to the coming likely contest between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump for the Presidency in November of this year, but also enables entrants to consider and reflect on the past eight years of the Obama presidency.

Themes to be explored may include: What personal attributes do you need to be a successful President? How do political systems contrain political leaders? Do you need different qualities to be US President than to be UK Prime Minister?

Please see more information about the competition here.

Please see how to upload and submit videos here.

Videos should be no longer than 4 minutes long.

This year’s competition has been kindly sponsored by Yougov, the polling organisation. As in previous years, the winning group receive their award at the PSA’s Annual Awards Dinner in London in November.  Accommodation is provided for them, along with their teacher in a central London hotel. On top of this, the winning students will each be invited to spend a week voluntarily shadowing the YouGov political team during their holidays. 

We look forward to receiving the entries, which are always creative and imaginative responses to the question.

For any queries about the video competition please contact me via: josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk

Final Places for PSA 'Applying to Study Politics' Workshops

The final places are available for this year’s programme of ‘Applying to Study Politics at a British University’ Workshops.

These events allow students considering their post-18 options an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of the discipline at undergraduate level as well as the application process and opportunities beyond the degree programme. Sessions will include lectures from established academics on contemporary issues as well as talks by admissions tutors on how to write strong applications and by current Politics students about what to expect when you get to university.

Workshops will be taking place at the following institutions:

Strathclyde University – Wednesday 15th June [<30 places remaining]

King’s College London - Monday 20th June [No places remaining]*

Manchester University – Wednesday 22nd June [<40 places remaining]

*A reserve list for places for the London workshop will be introduced to fill the spaces of anyone who drops out of the workshop, so please do still apply for places for your students and you will be contacted as to the success of your application.

In Strathclyde we will be joined by the psephologist Professor John Curtice to discuss the current Scottish political landscape after last week’s elections to the Scottish Parliament. At KCL Dr Ruben Ruiz Rufino will talk on ‘Satisfaction with Democracy in the Eurozone following the Financial Crisis', while Dr Lee Savage will speak on ‘How Issue Framing around the Migration Crisis affects Attitudes towards the EU’.  Finally, in Manchester the academic lecture will be given by Professor Angelia Wilson, a specialist in social values, the Christian Right and feminist political theory.

Click on this link to apply for places at the workshops.

Students who have attended these workshops in the past have always found them to be extremely useful. In particular, the session on the application process, which is led by a politics admissions tutor, outlines the process in much more detail than time permits during an Open Day. Lunch will also be provided for students and their teacher(s).

Please note: places are available on a first come first served basis. Students are welcome to attend on their own by registering individually.

FREE PSA-Parliament Education Service Joint Professional Development Conference

There are still places available for the FREE upcoming PSA-Parliament Education Service Joint Conference on ‘Political Leadership and Power in UK Politics’ on Tuesday 14th June on the Parliamentary Estate. The PSA and PES have been working closely to bring together a group of expert speakers to examine the themes of political leadership and the exercise of power at the top of British politics. The event will provide an opportunity for teachers to hear from prominent parliamentarians and academic experts on these important topics in the content specification.

Speakers at the event include Baroness Sally Morgan of Huyton. Baroness Morgan worked closely with Tony Blair during his leadership of the Labour Party and on his election victory in 1997 she was appointed Political Secretary to the Prime Minister. She headed the Prime Minister’s political office and also worked as Director of Government Relations in Downing Street as well as a Minister in the Cabinet Office. Baroness Morgan also served as Chair of Ofsted (2011-2014). She was elevated to the peerage in 2001. She is eminently qualified to speak on the practice of leadership at the highest level in UK politics.

There will be two academic experts at the event. Our first will be Dr Mark Bennister. Mark is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Canterbury Christchurch University, Convenor of the PSA’s Specialist Group on Political Leadership, and author of Prime Ministers in Power: Political Leadership in Britain and Australia (2012). Mark will be speaking on Prime Ministerial Power and the Core Executive.

Our second academic speaker will be Professor Tim Bale. Tim is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary’s, University of London. He co-founded the PSA’s Specialist Group on Conservatives and Conservatism and his most recent books include: Five Year Mission: The Labour Party under Ed Miliband (2015), European Politics: A Comparative Introduction (2013, 3rd Ed), and The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron (2011, 2nd Ed). Tim will be speaking on the topic of: ‘How to Lead an Opposition’.

A further parliamentary speaker is yet to be confirmed. The day will begin at 9am with an optional tour of the Parliamentary Estate. The conference proper will start at 11am. The day will end at 4pm.

This event is free. For those of you who haven’t already, places can be booked via completing the Booking Form accessible via the webpage here. Attendees should select the option for the Seminar Day on 14th June and return the completed forms to David Carr from the Parliament’s Education Outreach Team via teachertraining@parliament.uk cc’ing myself via josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk.

Democratic Devolution: A Young Citizen's Assembly

In April, the PSA was represented at ‘Democratic Devolution: A Young Citizen’s Assembly’ which was held at the People’s History Museum on the Left Bank in Manchester.

Instigated by Dr Andy Mycock at the University of Huddersfield, this event provided an opportunity for young people across Greater Manchester to examine the devolution proposals to the region in detail. They were able to question civic, business and charity leaders on the effect of these plans and develop ways in which they as young citizens can engage in their local democracy. Some 70 young people, mainly Sixth Form students, attended. 

Speakers included Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council; Ed Cox, IPPR North; and Jennifer Williams from the Manchester Evening News

Slides for the event can be found here. A snapshot of photos from the event can be found here.

It was great to meet with the PSA teacher members who attended. I hope to meet as many of you as possible in person over the coming months.

Family Audio Tours of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament have released new dates for their family tours of the Parliamentary Estate. These are aimed at children from the age of 7 -12 and are a great way to introduce young children to Parliament and what goes on there. 

The tours are available every Saturday (except 14 May) and on most weekdays at Whitsun half term (27 May to 3 June) and during the summer holidays (26 July to 2 September).

One child goes free with each paying adult. Advance booking is recommended but not always essential. For more information, please see the Visiting section of the UK Parliament website.

There will also be special ‘Queen and Parliament’ tours on three Saturdays in June. This will follow the route of the royal procession during the Queen’s Speech as well as the route of the Black Rod on that day. These will take place on 4th, 11th, 18th June. These tickets must be booked in advance. 

Tickets for these tours can be purchased online, by calling +44 (0)20 7219 4114 or in person from the Ticket Office at the front of Portcullis House on Victoria Embankment.

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.

With very best wishes,

Josh Niderost

Programme Development and Outreach Officer

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