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PSA Teachers' e-Newsletter: July 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The Summer holidays have most definately arrived and it has even been relatively sunny in most of the UK. We hope that you are all having an enjoyable and relaxing break wherever you are. 

News this month includes:

- News from the DfE on Brexit

- New PSA Teaching Resources on the Prime Minister and the Cabinet 

- The announcement of the timetable for the election of a Chair for the PSA's new Teachers' Network 

- And please remember the Schools' Video Competition 

These and other stories can be found below. 

Brexit News from the DfE

Following on from the UK's decision to leave the European Union, some of you have been in touch for news on the effect that Brexit will have on the new subject content delineated in March 2016 for the reformed AS/A Level in Politics, which will begin from September 2017. 

Having spoken to civil servants at the Department for Education, they have stated that the section on the European Union in the new subject content still stands irrespective of the UK's membership of the EU. This includes the need to:

Develop knowledge and understanding of:

• the aims of the EU and the extent to which they have been achieved; the role of the EU in policy making and the impact of it on UK political systems and policy making

However it remains to be seen, how the exam awarding boards interpret this requirement in light of Brexit. Currently the two exam boards, which will offer A Level Politics from 2017 are in the process of submitting draft specifications and sample assessment materials to OfQual for approval. The PSA has been involved in an advisory role with both of these organisations, Pearson/Edexcel and AQA. 

New Teachers' Topic Pack on the Prime Minister and Cabinet

This month the PSA releases its new Teachers' Topic Pack on the subject of The Prime Minister and Cabinet. This resource has been written by Dr Mark Bennister, Reader in Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University.

In 2012 Mark published a monograph on Prime Ministerial Power in Britain and Australia and he is editor of the forthcoming volume The Leadership Capital Index: A New Perspective on Political Leadership to be published by Oxford.

He was Principal Investigator (2015-16) on a Nuffield Foundation funded project investigating ‘Prime Ministerial Accountability to Parliament’. In April 2013, he gave oral evidence on Prime Ministerial Power to the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee. He has published academic material on political leadership, prime ministerial power, political oratory and British and Australian politics. 

The guide includes references to the early days of Theresa May's premiership and has two case studies on parliamentary accountability and cabinet collective responsibility as well as options for advanced students to explore. 

PSA Teachers' Network: Election of Chair Timetable

Last month, we sent you news about the creation of a Teachers' Network within the PSA. The PSA's work for our teacher members across the UK is a central focus of the organisation's output and this Network, led by one of you, will be the mainstay of our work in this area. 

An election will be held in September for posts within the Network:

- Chair

- Secretary 

- Treasurer

- Communications Officer

- Events Officer 

To nominate yourself for the any of these roles you will need to fill in this nomination form and return it to me via josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk. Please also attach a short statement describing why you want this position and what you would do in post. 

The nomination period, as outlined below, will not open until 5 September. An election will take place of the teacher membership later that month (see below for important dates).

The Constitution of the new Network is here.

Important Dates:

Nominations will be open from Monday 5 September until Friday 16 September

If necessary, the election period will run from Monday 26 September until Monday 3 October

The Chair of the Teachers' Network will be invited to attend PSA Executive Committee Meetings. The next one of which will be in Sheffield from 20 - 21 October 2016. EC meetings are quarterly and normally held on a half day in central London. 

If you have any questions about this then please contact me via: josh.niderost@psa.ac.uk

Is Shakespeare Always Political? - The PSA's Annual Public Lecture

The PSA's Annual Public Lecture took place at the British Library in central London last month. The theme of the lecture was: 'Is Shakespeare Always Political?' 

2016 is, of course, the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard and the event saw the long standing Theatre critic of The Guardian, Michael Billington discuss Shakespeare's work in conversation with Glenda Jackson, the former Labour MP and Oscar winning actress. The discussion was chaired by Professor Elizabeth Fraser, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University.  

During the evening Michael discussed the subversive nature of seeing Shakespeare performed behind the Iron Curtain and Glenda spoke about preparing to play King Lear at the Old Vic later this year. 

To watch the lecture in full please visit the following link on the PSA's Youtube Channel here

Our next lecture will be given by the Oxford social geographer Danny Dorling on 28 November. More information about how to obtain tickets for you and your students will be available after the summer break. 

2016 PSA Schools' Short Video Competition

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 Teaching and Learning Specialist Group Conference at Newcastle University

The PSA has some 57 specialist groups which provide members with a space to express shared issues.  These range from areas such as Parliaments and Legislatures to Scandinavian Politics and Women & Politics. As PSA members you are entitled to join 3 of these groups.

One of these specialist groups is the Teaching & Learning Specialist Group, which is a network primarily consisting of academics who are interested in exploring pedagogic developments within the politics discipline at university level. 

Their 2016 annual conference is entitled: The Winds of Change: New Challenges and Opportunities for Teaching Politics and IR. This is held jointly between the PSA and the British International Studies Association and will take place at Newcastle University from 13 - 14 September 2016. 

Ostensibly, this is an event for academic researchers. However, this year's conference will be covering themes including the major political and geopolitical changes that we are witnessing at the UK, European and global levels; and technological changes in teaching Politics. Both are issues that teachers working at the secondary level may find of interest. 

For more information about the conference please see here. To register please visit this link. The fee for attending the conference is £30. 

Manchester University's Pre University Courses

The University of Manchester's School of Social Sciences runs a range of Pre University Courses, which provide A-Level students with workshops teaching key skills for undergraduate study as well as undergraduate assignment preparation and completion tasks. 

Courses are offered in Politics. Economics, Sociology, Philosophy, and Social Anthropology.  

The scheme is funded by the OFFA (the Office for Fair Access). It is designed to promote fair access to higher education and is for state funded schools only.

Eligible students must meet one of the following criteria:

- Live in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to higher education or an area which has a high level of deprivation. Use this online tool to check your students’ home postcodes.
- Come from a home where neither parent attended university in the UK or abroad.
- Be in receipt of or entitled to discretionary payments/16-19 bursary/Pupil Premium at school/college.
- Be in receipt of or entitled to free school meals.
- Be living in, or have lived in, local authority care

For more information please see here or contact Dr Tom McCunnie, Admissions Tutor & Widening Participation Manager at the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester. 

'The Conversation' - Online Academic News Platform

The Conversation is a growing platform that provides readers with academic analysis and views across a range of different news affairs. Content on the websites is written by praticising academics in a relevant field. Some articles are written by PhD students, but only if it directly relates to their doctoral research. Their website found here provides information about research in areas such as Politics & Society and Education.

The Conversation was originally established in Australia, but its UK operation is funded by over 60 UK universities providing a vast and growing amount of content.

The Conversation also regularly publishes content originating from the PSA's own Blog

News from the PSA Blog

The PSA Blog features contemporary content from academic members of the PSA in response to new stories or fresh research findings. 

This month in light of the tumultous changes at the top of government there has been much coverage of the rise of Theresa May to the premiership, including:

This May Be Tory Feminism: The Second Woman PM Is Not Margaret Thatcher Mark II by Julie Gottlieb

Britain’s next PM: Theresa May sank rival by painting a more convincing portrait of leadership by John Gaffney 

A ‘bloody difficult woman’: What do the Tory grassroots want of Prime Minister May? by Paul Webb, Tim Bale and Monica Poletti, which reveals findings from their ESRC funded research project on Party Membership.  

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.