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PSA Teachers' e-News: November 2014

FAO:  , 17th November

Dear ,

The PSA now has a record number of Teacher Members from across the UK. I would like to welcome all new members who have recently joined during the PSA's promotional subscription period. We have been working hard this year to expand and enhance our offering to schools. Increasing Teacher Membership will go a long way to ensure these aims are met and we can continue to provide the services and support which are important to you and your students.

Also, my thanks thanks to our longer standing members for their continued support in promoting the PSA to colleagues at neighbouring schools and colleges.

November's Teachers' e-Newsletter comes a little later in the month than usual whilst we finalised the finer details of some exciting and important events - all of which are outlined below. Don't forget, if you missed a previous monthly Teachers' e-Newsletter members can access the Teachers' e-News archive online here.

A-level Reform Meeting: London 30/01/2015

Government and Politics A-level is a valued and important element of sixth form study and the PSA is very keen to help facilitate dialogue and engagement to ensure progress is being made for new course content.

To this end, the PSA are convening a meeting of Government and Politics A-level teachers and representatives from all the main awarding bodies to discuss A-level reform on the afternoon of Friday 30th January, 2015 4pm – 5.30pm at a central London location.

The Association share the concerns of many of our teacher members in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that the Government and Politics A-level will be among the final A-levels to be reformed, leaving it in continued uncertainty.

The PSA has raised these concerns to government and OFQUAL previously. You can read more about our correspondence online here. As well as some thoughts regarding the decoupling of the AS and A-level specifications here.

We feel a meeting of this nature would be beneficial, allowing awarding bodies and teachers to come together and consult on the curriculum changes, giving teachers the opportunity to hear where they are currently up to with their decision making process, and also to develop a clear and realistic picture of the challenges that lie ahead for Government and Politics.

To register for this meeting, please e-mail James Ludley. The venue will be in central London (TBC). Capacity is likely to be limited and places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

A-level Reform and Teachers' Workshop: Belfast 23/01/15

The PSA is pleased to announce the details for a FREE half-day Teaching Political Studies: Development Workshop in partnership with the University of Ulster on Friday 23rd January 2015 from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.

A programme for the day can be viewed here.

The workshop will bring together leading political education specialists from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland Assembly and UK Parliament’s Education Service to discuss the teaching of politics in secondary and further education schools and colleges. It will feature a range of presentations on key aspects of the Government and Politics Curriculum.

In addition to this, we are pleased to be joined by CCEA’s Subject Officer for Government and Politics for a session regarding the developments to the reformed A-level specification.

Full details and how to register for this workshop can be found on the PSA's website here. Politics Teachers in NI should also note the following event this Friday: CCEA's Revision of Specifications Consultation Event.

The Politics of Flooding and Climate Change at Bath Spa University

15 Dec, 2014, 3.45pm - 6pm at Bath Spa University

The PSA and Bath Spa University are inviting Key Stage 4 & 5 students to join them for a FREE interactive workshop discussing “The Politics of Flooding and Climate Change between 3pm – 6pm on Monday 15th December, 2014.

The workshop will ask students to examine the political, cultural and community responses to flooding and climate change and will provide participants with the academic tools of analysis to interrogate these important questions.

In addition to exploring these questions, the 'Remembering the 2014 Floods’ exhibition, which ran at Bridgwater Arts Centre from the 4th to the 8th of November, will return for one day only on the 15th of December at Bath Spa University in conjunction with the workshop.

This event is aimed primarily for A-level students of all subjects but we welcome Key Stage 4 students with an interest in this subject. Please do forward the details of this workshop to geography colleagues in your school.

Capacity is limited and places are allocated on first-come-first-serve basis. Please register directly with James Ludley or call 020 7321 2545.

Hardcopy or #Hashtag?: young people’s vision for a digital parliament

TODAY the PSA are once again organising one of the showcase Parliament Week events which will take place in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House from 1.45pm to 4pm.

The event, “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?”, is a debate involving up to 120 young people exploring their vision for a digital parliament, led by actor and film maker Femi Oyeniran.

Read the 15 winning ideas from the “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?” regional workshops which will be debated during the event online here.

As part of their Stand Up, Be Counted campaign, Sky News have agreed to live-blog from the event. Follow the hashtag #PSAPW for live updates on Twitter.

Organisations across the UK run events and activities throughout Parliament Week which explore what parliamentary democracy means to them and their community. Parliament Week is coordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords. All events can be found online here.

PSA's 2014 Student Short Video Competition

The entries for this year’s PSA Student Short Video Competition were fantastic! 2014 also saw a record number of entries - thank you to those who encouraged students to take part.

Returning for the fourth year, we teamed up with YouGov to ask your students to explore the question: "Europe - in or out?"

We are still in the process of uploading all of the video entries onto the PSA's website for a special page showcasing the students' work. We will of course let you know when this is "online".

The winners of the Student Short Video Competition will be revealed on 25 November at our PSA Awards Dinner in Church House, Westminster.

Changing World – ESRC photographic competition 2015

As part of the ERSC's 50th anniversary celebrations, Changing World photographic competition will examine how the world has changed over the last 50 years, how will it continue to change and what social sciences can tell us.

The competition offers six diverse categories for your students to enter, ranging from the family to technology to the environment. Their images should convey how they think the world has changed or will continue to change.

The competition is open for those aged 14 to 18 who have an interest in photography or the social sciences with £2,000 of prizes to be won. Details of how to enter can be found online here.

PSA launch new Chair's Commissions

The PSA are inviting applications for positions on two new Chair's Commissions which are being set up to help set the strategic direction and aspirations of the Association. The role of commissioners for the Chair's Commissions on Reaching Out and Adding Depth is to challenge, to think differently, to draw in new insights and to see opportunities where others might see only problems. They will be expected to report back to the Executive in September 2015.

More information on the Chair's Commissions and instructions on how to apply can be found on our website. PSA Teacher Members are encouraged to apply.

PSA Chair Matthew Flinders is encouraging anyone with questions on the Commissions or indeed on any aspects of the PSA Executive to email him directly via m.flinders@sheffield.ac.uk.

Politics Degree Guide from Whatuni and iCould

The PSA are beginning to commission materials that will be useful for schools and colleges when discussing the merits of both politics at FE and HE level to your students.

With Year 11 Open Evenings likely to be taking place between now and the New Year and Year 12 students already beginning to think about university course choices, please do explore some of the video and text resources from Whatuni and iCould.

Additionally, we also advise contacting local univeristies who very often have subject related promotional material or career guides, such as this guide from the University of Hull.

Keeping in touch...

Follow the PSA on Twitter or search for the #PSAschools hashtag for real time updates for all our schools' activities and news.

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.