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PSA Teachers' e-News: August 2015

FAO:  , 10th August.

Dear ,

I hope you are recharging your batteries during your summer break! August's e-Newsletter outlines initiatives from the PSA looking ahead towards the new academic year.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to offer my best wishes on behalf of the PSA to your students ahead of results day this Thursday. May we also offer our thanks to you all for your hard work and dedication in helping to achieve, what I am sure, will have been excellent results.

Those Government and Politics students who this week receive positive news and have been accepted onto a degree course in Politics will be at an advantage because of the enthusiasm for the subject that they will have gained from their A-level studies.

Encouraging young people to become more engaged in politics has never been more important.  The Association remains dedicated to making the case that the study of politics prepares students for many forms of employment, as well as further study, and we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure Government and Politics remains a valued and important element of sixth form study.

My best wishes to you and your students again and thank you for your continued support.

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 in the series of these guides on "Pressure Groups and Government" by Prof. Paul Cairney (Stirling).

Further guides are currently being finalised, so please send us any initial comments on the first draft and we can then follow up on any feedback for future guides. We will be launching an additional 4 or 5 Teachers' Topic Guides by the end of September and 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)

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

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.

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.

For our overall Parliament Week programme we are very lucky to once again be supported by the Convenors of the PSA's Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group, Prof. Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds) and Dr Louise Thompson (University of Surrey), who were behind our 2014 ‘Hardcopy or #Hashtag?’ initiative.

Our broad plan for 2015 is to produce a Resource Pack aimed at sixth form students looking to better understand Parliament which schools and universities can use to facilitate their own workshops in the run up to Parliament Week. The workshops will encourage small group discussions about what parliament should look like in the future and how it should carry out its work. We hope that the content will aid teaching towards the curriculum but also develop students' wider learning - meaning it could involve students from other disciplines.

The event at the People's History Museum will effectively by a large scale workshop and the culmination for the overall initiative. We are currently finalising the resources and programme for Parliament Week 2015 and will release details as soon as we can.

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.

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.

PSA Teacher Forum Discussions

Work has recently been undertaken by our web developers to create 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.

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.

We took the decision not to send e-mail notifications when an initial topic or response is posted as we felt this would generate lots of potentially unwanted e-mails. So please do check back to this area of the website to keen informed of forum discussions. Please also note that individuals must be logged into the PSA website to respond to forum posts.

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.