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PSA Teachers' e-Newsletter: June 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout history, people have often said that they are living in interesting times, but with a Leave victory in the EU referendum this is most certainly true for us in the here and now. 

The PSA intends to guide our Teacher members through any changes this may have to the current and future exam content and through our access to academic expertise provide our members with information on what Brexit will mean. 

On more usual matters, the PSA also hopes that exams went well for all our members, their students and schools. Please have a look at the below newsletter for the latest news from the PSA. 

New PSA Teachers' Network

Following on from the Chair's Commissions on Reaching Out and Adding Depth, the PSA is keen to deliver the next step in our engagment with our teacher members.

We will therefore soon be launching our new Teachers' Network.

The aims of the Network will include:

- providing a voice for Politics Teachers in the PSA and representing the interests of our teacher members and their schools within the PSA

- connecting our teacher members to other Politics teachers, academics and the wider discipline

- allowing our teacher members a space in an independent peer-led environment to develop a programme of activities to meet their needs and the needs of their students and schools.

- undertaking outward facing activities for the PSA such as representing the PSA to external bodies. 

It is intended that elections will be held for the post of Chair of the Network. Further information about this exciting new development, including the election timetable, will be outlined in July.

Alongside this, the PSA is also planning new teaching resources for our members and a CPD conference at Easter 2017 on teaching the new AS/A Level course content. More details about this will be forthcoming nearer the time.

Manchester Applying to Study Politics Workshop: New Date

Due to industrial action the date for the PSA-Manchester University workshop on Applying to Study Politics was postponed. This will now take place this Thursday 30 June.

The workshop will take place from 11.15am to 3pm at the Cordingley Lecture Theatre, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, Manchester University, Bridgeford Street, Manchester, M13 9PL. 

See here for the programme for the day. 

Please contact josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk if you or any of your students would like to attend. 

Pearson Research on New Politics A Level

Pearson are undertaking research on proposed specifications and sample assessment materials for the new AS/A Level Politics. They have contacted the PSA in order to find out our teacher members views on these matters. Please see the below message from Pearson:

"This research is being conducted across the UK with Heads of Department from schools, colleges and private training providers delivering AS/A level Politics. We are keen to hear from current Edexcel, AQA and OCR centres.

The aim of the research is to gather views on the different specifications and sample assessment materials recently submitted to Ofqual for AS/A level Politics, and on aspects of the structure, content and assessments. If time allows we will also discuss your needs around support for these qualifications.

This research will take the form of a workshop and group discussion with 7 or 8 others. Reviewing the specification and assessment materials will be a valuable process for you, and we will be happy to send your worksheets to you after the workshop to inform your own departmental decision-making and planning. As a thank you for your invaluable participation you will receive an incentive of £150, which you can either retain or donate to your school or charity of your choice, and refreshments will be provided.

The events are scheduled for the week commencing 22 August at locations in London and Manchester."

If you are interested in attending, please contact thomas.harding@pearson.com

2016 PSA Schools' Short Video Competition Theme Launch

As you will be aware, the annual PSA’s Schools Short Video Competition is back! Our focus this year is on the United States and the Presidency. The competition title is:

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

This theme looks not only to the coming 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? Do you need different qualities to be US President than to be UK Prime Minister? How do political systems constrain political leaders?

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.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 21 October 2016. 

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

PSA 'Applying to Study Politics' Workshops

This month the PSA held two workshops on 'Applying to Study Politics at University' at Strathclyde University and King's College London. 

These events allowed 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.

In Strathclyde, we were joined by Professor John Curtice who spoke on quantitative data and the socio-economic factors that underline support/opposition for EU membership. His slides are available here. They provide particularly interesting reading in light of the Leave result. 

At King's College London, Dr Ruben Ruiz Rufino spoke on ‘Satisfaction with Democracy in the Eurozone following the Financial Crisis', while Dr Lee Savage gave a talk on the factors indicating support for the welfare state. His presentation can be viewed here. Please also see this link for photos of the workshop at KCL. 

All presentations from the workshops are available here

In 2017, the PSA will be holding a much more extensive programme of these workshops at various locations around the UK. 

Successful PSA-Parliament Education Service Joint CPD Conference

The PSA-Parliament Education Service Joint Conference on ‘Political Leadership and Power in UK Politics’ was held earlier this month.

Parliamentary speakers at the event included Natascha Engel MP and Baroness Sally Morgan of Huyton.

Natascha Engel spoke about the Backbench Business Committee, which she chaired (2010-2015), her role as a Deputy Speaker, and the disconnect between elites and the general public in the UK. 

Baroness Morgan, who worked closely with Tony Blair during his premiership, spoke about the merging of Number 10 and the Cabinet Office during her time at the top of government and rejected the notion that the Blair administration was rule by 'sofa government'.

The two PSA academic experts at the event gave theoretical perspectives on political leadership. Dr Mark Bennister (Canterbury Christchurch University) spoke on Prime Ministerial power. He highlighted that whilst classic debates on Prime Ministerial power focused on formal constraints such as Cabinet government, contemporary analysis based on informal and more flexible structures was more useful in assessing Prime Ministerial leadership. Mark's slides can be viewed here

Our second academic speaker was Professor Tim Bale (Queen Mary’s, University of London) who spoke on: 'The Art of Opposition'. He outlined that in order to stand a good chance of becoming Prime Minister, a new Opposition leader needed to be seen to be a fresh face; to lead a cohesive party; be visible across the media; be efficient, especially in party management; and pursue adaptabilty in order to benefit from changing political circumstances.Tim's presentation is accessible here

The event provided an opportunity for teachers to hear from prominent parliamentarians and academic experts on issues of political leadership. It is intended that the seminar day will become an annual event between the PSA and PES. Next year's event is pencilled in for June 2017. The theme for the day is yet to be decided, so please do watch this space. 

Parliament Education Service Opportunities

The Parliament Education Service (PES) has some fantastic opportunities for UK schools over the coming months. 

They are now taking bookings for the Autumn Term for their new Parliament Education Centre. The Centre contains themed rooms, which teach pupils about the different parts of Parliament (Commons, Lords, Monarchy, MyParliament) as well as an immersive space where students are taken on a virtual recreation of Parliament's Chambers and a simulated tour of parliamentary history including key moments such as the 1908 Suffragette protest. For further information please see here and to make bookings call the PES on 020 7219 4496.  

For schools in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland there are also opportunities to 'Skype the Speaker'. There is availablity for educational institutions in these areas to talk directly with The Rt Hon John Bercow MP about Parliament and the democratic process. To find out more and register your school's interest please email: educationoutreach@parliament.uk

Millicent Fawcett BBC Radio Programme

The BBC have made the 2006 Great Lives Series 11 episode on Millicent Fawcett available free online. You can listen here now. 

At the turn of the century, Millicent Garrett Fawcett was one of Britain's most important leaders in the fight for women's suffrage. Although people today often identify the militant Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters with the struggle, Fawcett also contributed a great deal to British women obtaining the right to vote in parliamentary elections. 

Other programmes in this series include Eleanor Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky, Benjamin Disraeli, and Barbara Castle

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.