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PSA Teachers' e-News: May 2015

FAO:  , 5th May.

Dear ,

From conversations I’ve had with teacher members at recent events or via e-mail, the General Election is certainly proving to be a catalyst in generating interest in the study of politics amongst young people. I hope this is true for your students too, especially as they are preparing for their exams.

Speaking of exam preparation, there are two sections on "Revision Resources" within this edition of PSA Teachers' e-News that we hope are helpful for certain aspects that may come up in this year's exams.

Please also make use of our online PSA Conference resources which are a 'bite size' way exploring key issues:

  • Videos (including our 'Election Talk' interview series)
  • Podcasts (including short soundbites and interviews with expert PSA academics)

In addition to these resources, please find below all the details of our planned conference on “Pressure Groups, Anti-politics and Representation”, and a final reminder about our series of workshops on applying to study politics at university which are taking place around the UK in June and July.

Revision Resources: PSA General Election Media Briefings

The Political Studies Association has now held all three of our planned General Election Media Briefings. BBC Parliament recorded all the briefings and you can watch these back on the BBC's iPlayer here.

Additionally, we have now made available a number of resources for download (including podcasts and slides) from the Briefings:

The Conservative Party - Professor Jane Green (University of Manchester)
Video - Podcast - Slides

The Labour Party - Professor Tim Bale (Queen Mary, University of London)
Video - Podcast

The Liberal Democrats - Dr David Cutts (University of Bath)
Video - Podcast - Slides

UKIP - Dr Matthew Goodwin (University of Nottingham)
Video - Slides

The Green Party - Professor Sarah Birch (University of Glasgow)
Video - Slides

The SNP - Dr Rob Johns (University of Essex)
Video - Slides

The Latest Forecast and Likely Coalition Permutations (16 April 2015) with Professor John Curtice (University of Strathclyde), Dr Jennifer Hudson (University College London) and others.
Slides and Presentation Pack - Video (via BBC) - Podcasts

We hope that you find these useful for your teaching.

Revision Resources: Conservative Party modernisation

The PSA Blog has recently published a series of posts on Conservative Party modernisation, based on a selection of papers from the forthcoming special issue of British Politics on 'Conservative Modernisation From Opposition to Government'.

The blogs are useful as additional reading for students when exploring potential exam questions/ issues around ideologies, with a Conservative Party focus. For example, several blogs could be used to partly answer last year's question: To what extent are the major parties internally divided over policies and ideas? (June 2014, (6GP01))

  1. Conservative Party Modernisation 1: A ‘slick re-branding exercise’? Theory vs Practice
  2. Conservative Party Modernisation 2: From Big Society to Small State
  3. Conservative Party Modernisation 3: David Cameron, the Conservatives and the environment
  4. Conservative Party Modernisation 4: Feminism, Feminization and the Conservative Gender Problem
  5. Conservative Modernisation 5: European integration - from silence to salience and schism
  6. Conservative Modernisation 6: What does modernisation in Conservative immigration policy actually mean?
  7. Conservative Modernisation 7: The Rise and Fall of Conservative Modernisation

The blogs have been produced and edited by leading members of the PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Specialist Group. Image: The Open University CC BY-NC-ND

Pressure Groups, Anti-Politics and Representation Conference

The Political Studies Association is organising a Sixth Form conference on “Pressure Groups, Anti-politics and Representation”. The conference will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th October 2015 at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in North London.

The conference will consist of full group sessions and informal breakout sessions, covering issues around, although not limited to, radical movements, environmental activism, digital campaigning, gender and race representation, and internationalism. A draft programme is available online here.

The theme links in with Magna Carta celebrations but gives a unique angle. The conference will bring the research/ workshop discussions together with a panel of representatives who are actively out there “doing” or campaigning on these issues.

There is no charge for this event and PSA Teacher Members will be offered priority booking.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided to students and their teacher(s).  Places are limited and allocated on a first-come-first-served basisImage: Viewminder CC BY-NC-ND

Registration Is Now Open

Registration for the PSA's Sixth Form conference on “Pressure Groups, Anti-politics and Representation” is now open via the PSA's Eventbrite page:


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

Final Places Remaining: free workshops on applying to study politics at university

For the fourth consecutive year, we are running a series of free one-day workshops in late June and early July for students who are thinking of studying politics as a single or joint honours degree.

The workshops will cover areas such as: selecting the right course and institution, the application process, and what to expect when you get to university.  New for 2015 - all workshops will include a session called "Working in Politics" delivered by a practitioner to talk to prospective politics students about their experiences of working in political roles and how a degree in politics could relate to this. A draft programme can be viewed online here and this year’s dates are as follows: 

University of Stirling  [20 places remaining] - Tuesday 16th June  
University of Manchester  [35 places remaining] - Wednesday 24th June
Warwick University  [25 places remaining] - Thursday 25th June  
University College London  [<15 places remaining] - Monday 29th June  
University of Bristol  [25 places remaining] - Wednesday 1st July  

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).

REGISTER online via the PSA's Eventbrite page.

“Designing for Democracy – what would you propose?”

Our annual competition is back! For the fourth consecutive year, we are inviting groups of A-Level and Higher Education students to submit short videos on a topical subject. This year’s competition asks students to explore the question:

Designing for Democracy – what would you propose?” 

The aim of this competition, kindly sponsored by both the Design Commission and YouGov, is to get students exploring the advantages and disadvantages of different types of democratic systems, whilst creating their own proposal.

As in previous years, the winning group receive their award at the PSA’s Annual Awards Dinner in London in December which is broadcast on BBC Parliament.  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 school holidays! 

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.

LiberTeas: Sunday 14 June 2015

Monday 15 June marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, which was the document that laid the foundations for the rights and representation that we enjoy today.

To commemorate, Parliament Week are asking the nation to take a moment to celebrate, debate and reflect on those rights which we very often take for granted but which people throughout history have campaigned to make happen or fought to preserve.

Find an event near your school.

Teachers’ Institute 29 June - 3 July 2015

Immerse yourself in the politics of Parliament with this unique professional development opportunity. Teachers of Government & Politics, Citizenship and related subjects, and other education professionals, can apply to experience an intensive, informative and unforgettable course based at the Houses of Parliament.

The programme covers travel costs (for UK delegates), residential accommodation and most meals. All resources, workshops and events are free of charge.

For full details and how to apply - please visit the HoP Education Service website here.


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 including our Annual Parliament Week event
•         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.