November 2012

The know zone

  • Warning signs
    Schools and colleges owe a duty of care to pupils and the wider public and could be held liable where damage is caused to a person or property by their actions or failures. Richard Bird explains. More
  • Energy crisis
    Exhausted teachers don’t make for good teachers. As funding gets tighter and pupil-teacher ratios increase, schools need to help staff lighten their load, says Sam Ellis. More
  • Lead vocals
    Quotes from Mark Twain, Aaron Levenstein, WIE Gates, Louis Brandeis More
  • The Write Stuff
    Alistair Macnaughton, 53, has been head of The King’s School, Gloucester, for five years. A former arts journalist, his previous posts include director of theatre at Charterhouse School and second master at King’s School, Worcester. More
  • Political insight
    Parliament’s Education Service aims to inform, engage and empower young people to understand and get involved in Parliament, politics and democracy. More
  • Clean bill of health?
    Nearly half of ASCL members say that preparing for inspection is one of their top concerns. Here, leaders share their views on whether the latest inspection reforms, especially short notice and the focus on teaching quality, have made inspection more or less fit for purpose? More
  • Adding value was one of the big stars of the road this summer, providing roadside assistance to members on their way to be part of the Olympics, off on their holiday or even something as simple as taking the kids to school or driving to work. More
  • Leaders Surgery
    Teachers' Standards advice and Advice on allegations against teachers More
  • Shifting sands...
    With flawed data being used in this year’s performance tables and by Ofsted inspectors, exam results being kept artifficially low, and the huge inconsistencies in GCSE marking, how do schools and colleges measure improvement? How do parents and governors? Is it now time to take matters into our own hands, asks Brian Lightman? More
  • Layered Cake
    Most people have an idea of what to expect when becoming a headteacher, but there are many aspects of the role that simply only experience will reveal as Geoff Barton explains. More
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Political insight

Parliament’s Education Service aims to inform, engage and empower young people to understand and get involved in Parliament, politics and democracy.

What is Parliament’s Education Service and who is it for?
The service works with schools and members of Parliament from both Houses to reach young people. Services are free and designed to support the teaching and learning of political literacy across the UK curricula and beyond. Emma-Jane Watchorn, head of education at the service, said, "At Parliament’s Education Service, we’re passionate about inspiring and engaging young people in the democratic process. We aim to break down barriers, challenge perceptions and demonstrate that Parliament and politics can be relevant, interesting and fun!"

Who else is involved?
The service also works with a variety of partners to reach new audiences, from the University of the Arts London (UAL) Widening Participation team to the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) and the BBC.

What resources does it provide to schools and colleges?
The service provides resources and engagement opportunities to schools and colleges, including a popular education visits programme at Westminster, a year-round programme of teacher training and outreach events, digital resources (available online at www. such as interactive whiteboard resources, active learning games and inspirational videos, as well as printed publications and audio-visual resources. In addition, a range of competitions, including the annual film competition, Lights, Camera, Parliament!, for pupils at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, offer schools the chance to connect with Parliament on a creative level and even have their work displayed or screened in Parliament. School councils of all ages can enter the Speaker’s School Council Awards where winners have the chance to visit Parliament and meet the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Are there any events planned for this year?
Upcoming teacher training seminars and events include:

  • 30 October – PGCE student seminar day
  • 20 November – Twilight teacher training session for A level teachers
  • 4 December – General Introduction to Parliament seminar day for all teachers
  • 4 June – General Introduction to Parliament seminar day for all teachers
  • 11 June – Specialist teachers’ seminar day for A level teachers
  • 18 June – Twilight teacher training session for A level teachers
  • 1-5 July – Teachers’ Institute (applications will open in January 2013)

All of these events will be held in Parliament, Westminster. There is also a year-round programme of school visits to Parliament – check the website for details.

What other activities is the organisation involved in?
Parliament’s Education Service sits within Parliament’s public engagement team. Upcoming public engagement projects include Parliament Week, which offers schools and other partners opportunities to explore Parliament, politics and democracy throughout a week of activity in November (19-25). This year a new debate project, Create the Debate, is launching on 22 October, with a free downloadable pack for schools. All the details can be found on the Parliament Week website:

Find out more

For more information about the service, see the website or contact them at