Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Identity, immigration and Britishness

British identity is a topic we've returned to throughout this year, as mandated by the new Conservative government for schools UK-wide.

Here's the PowerPoint (produced by Miss Lister) we've been using:

Using any of the resources provided or others you find, produce a video of between 2-5 minutes in which you explore and set your view on what Britishness/British identity means to you.
this should feature:
  • quotes from politicians and experts
  • headlines from media coverage
  • statistics
  • images
  • 'vox pops' (video footage of) of students or others giving their views on this
 You should include some demographic, census figures in this.

EXTENSION TASKS: review and complete this worksheet:

If there is sufficient, you will also be tasked with completing this:


Some resources you can use not just for this task but for other work (and subjects) too.

20 min clip of a discussion programme filmed in a York school exploring the question "should we promote a united British identity?"

The reaction to this is notable in itself - look at how these two uploaders put an entirely different slant on this show:

In a time of resurgent nationalism in Scotland and Wales, this 7min clip looks at the complexities of fixing on a British identity. There is a real surprise in some of the findings - contrary to the stereotype, older people are LESS likely to identify as British, and this is also true for ethnicity, as is explored in the clip.

BBC REPORT FROM 2008: Ridicule for suggesting promotion of British identity?
The response when a notionally left-wing party, Labour, proposed a national day and compulsory education on British identity, there was widespread resistance and much negative media coverage. This BBC report takes an impartial look at the response to proposals which are similar to those passed some 7 years later by a new right-wing government with little fuss or controversy.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

PRESS right-wing coverage of para Bloody Sunday arrest

NOTE: this contains a range of complex terms, useful for much more than a General Studies exam. If you are a Media student you will in time be familiar with all of these, but can apply these in a range of subjects.

Nifty bit of content analysis (a 'quantitative,' objective' as opposed to subjective [eg semiotics] research methodology) by Roy Greenslade, reviewing how the story of a British soldier's arrest for murdering civilians in Bloody Sunday was treated.

Greenslade notes how the headlines of three right-wing papers focus on the anger of those opposed to the arrest.

He delves deeper, comparing a count of those quoted who are opposed to the number of relatives of the dead quoted, highlighting the stark disparity.

This, by the way, meshes well with a classic political economy approach, the framework laid out in Chomsky's propaganda model. He proposed that five filters ensure that counter-hegemonic ideas (information or arguments that might undermine the power base of ruling elites - it is Marxist influenced) are filtered out of media discourse; the media function not to underpin democracy but to undermine it. One filter is anti-left-wing propaganda, which we can see very clearly with the hysterical, rabid coverage of Jeremy Corbyn (let's not forget the very timid Ed Miliband, judged to be very right-wing by the Political Compass site, was dubbed Red Ed for his supposedly extreme leftist views!). Another is source strategies: selecting and highlighting sources favourable to the interests of the establishment.

The bias is evident - read Greenslade's analysis for more details.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Yr11: Pressure Groups + Protest Campaigns


Protest campaigns are launched every day about all sorts of issues, from the future of our planet to the rage against the X Factor domination of the pop charts!
We're looking at citizen-led campaigns and pressure/protest groups, though big business is quick to mimic the tactics and style of such campaigns, as this list of 20 of the most innovative Facebook campaigns, and this list of 10 top Facebook campaigns, demonstrates.

As a starting point, to demonstrate how campaigns can attract wide attention, consider the various x for Number One campaigns that sought to keep Simon Cowell's latest X Factor protegy off the Xmas number one spot - how many of these campaigns can you name?

Here's music magazine Q's list of their top 5 such campaigns.


Friday, 23 October 2015

Community breakdown

A playlist of videos giving examples of community breakdown - the image below lists the videos included, the actual playable video playlist is further down!

Note that only the beginning of the Theroux clip is shown in lessons, the full programme isn't suitable for younger viewers.
Note too that strong, potentially upsetting, views are expressed in these various clips.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Human Rights

TASK: You will be given one of the 30 human rights enshrined (included) in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (dating back to 1948, a response to the horrors of WW2) to consider. Your task, using your own opinions as well as findings from research (I've provided you with some links with groups for and against human rights below) will be to come up with points on:
  • why it is important
  • examples of where this human right has been denied
  • examples of pressure group campaigns to enforce this human right
  • any argument against this as a human right
  • exceptions to or limits on this human right (does it conflict with others? issues around security, anti-terrorism, extremism? are there any government proposals to reform law on this area?)
  • (most importantly!!!) YOUR views on this: do we need stronger enforcement of this right, or do we need stricter limits on it? Is this a core British value; should we be pressuring other countries to recognise this human right?

[1:44] Here's the UN on what this concept of 'human rights' means, and where it came from...

[4:31] Here's a guide to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the Human Rights Action Center

[2:30] The 30 Articles of Human Rights ... set to some awful music


There are many campaign and pressure groups such as Liberty and Amnesty International who focus on human rights issues

BBC programme [1hr, but short clips available]: 'Anger over votes for prisoners and the release of Abu Qatada shows just what a toxic issue human rights law has become. In this provocative film, Andrew Neil travels to Europe and across Britain to find out why Britain follows these laws and asks can anything be done to restore our faith in them?'

LIBERTY (pressure group) on the Human Rights Act: 'myth buster'

RED PEPPER (moderate left-wing magazine) on why the Tory government should not change or scrap the Human Rights Act

EARTH TIMES NEWS (business group) From back in 2001, an analysis of why human rights are important for businesses

PHILOSOPHY FORUM (a right-wing contributor argues why human rights are wrong)

DAILY TELEGRAPH (right-wing newspaper) why human rights are protecting the wrong people

AMNESTY UK (pressure group) 8 reasons why we need the Human Rights Act

These links contain factual guides to the legal status of human rights in the UK, EU and globally...

Wiki: the history and evolving nature of  human rights. The Western democracies denied ethnic minorities and women the vote until relatively recently; the human rights agenda and concept has a considerable history...

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: from the UN's website (with multiple further links to explore), here's a rundown of the 30 human rights declared universal in 1948, in the aftermath of WW2. These are not legal requirements under international law, although some of these have over time become part of international law. (Wiki link on this)

How the UN protects human rights: from the UN website again, the UN's own guide to what they do, and the many agencies and strategies involved. More independent sources might question just how successful they have been.

European Convention on Human Rights (Wiki): also strongly influenced by the horrors of WW2, the ECHR came about in 1950, and was passed into law in 1953. This does have the force of international law.

UK: The Human Rights Act: you can try the Wiki; Liberty's guide; or news sources such as The Guardian (a left-wing paper which has some bias in favour of human rights) [Google results] or The Daily Telegraph (a right-wing paper which has some bias against human rights), or the BBC!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Yr11 L2a: Investigating our local MPs

In this lesson we will be:
  • identifying some of our local (regional + parliamentary constituency) elected representatives
  • investigating what MPs actually do!
  • researching the role of Parliament
There are three blog posts for this lesson; you can access each via the links at the bottom of posts.
Can you name the local MP? Do you know which party he represents?

Use the links provided to help answer these questions.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Research What MPs Do

Backbencher Kris Hopkins MP campaigning/conducting PR
We all have a rough idea of what MPs are and what they do ... but what exactly does their job involve, and how do you become an MP?!

You will find below a simple explanation of what an MP is from the Wiki, plus further sample resources to help you investigate the role of MPs.

Your task today is to:
  1. in small groups answer one or more of the following question
  2. Your answer must be clear and in your own words, not just copy/pasted.
  3. Start your answer by copy/pasting in the question!
  4. Where you have used any direct quotes from a website use "", and put the URL (www...) in brackets like this (SOURCE:
  5. Highlight any terminology you've come across in a list at the bottom of your answer
  6. There is likely to be overlap between some answers!
  7. share your answers electronically with 1 or more groups, and electronically share any answers they have
  8. ...until you've got answers to all the questions! 

Friday, 2 October 2015

How Does Parliament Work?

TASK THREE: Working in a group of 2 or 3, use all of the following links to write or type 10 points about how Parliament works, including an explanation (with examples such as this) of what a Select Committee is:

The role of the Culture, Media, Sport Select Committee (official website)
BBC News interactive guide;
Wikipedia entry;
Tim Loughton (MP) guide;
Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield MP) guide; guide.

We will finish off the lesson by checking you can answer these questions:

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Radicalisation and extremism


Background as you came in...

PPT VID1: 1:50 Russia Today PM Cameron's Plans to Tackle Extremism

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Policy or Personality? Which decides voter choice?

“The public debate and the media, which is becoming increasingly celebrity culture, rather hysterical, sensational, and reduces the whole thing to theatre. Everybody’s election campaigns are presidential, everything’s attributed to the party leader. What matters is how the party leader eats a hamburger and all this type of thing." - Ken Clarke, former Tory government minister, 2015 

He also appealed to the media to raise their sights from personalities and focus on policy. “The media treatment of any politician over unsubstantiated allegations, be it David Cameron, me or anyone else, is wrong and too much of our media is obsessed with personality politics, obsessed with personal criticism of politicians and therefore detracting from very serious issues around housing, living standards, jobs or world peace.

“I say that kindly. I’m a member of the NUJ actually. Can we try to have more of a grown up media? Or is that too much to ask?” - Jeremy Corbyn 'has not decided' whether to kneel in front of Queen

ISSUE: Has politics, or at least the coverage of this, become just another genre of TV/media entertainment, centred on personalities and 'star' power? Does our media properly perform its 'fourth estate', 'watchdog' duties?

Jez, he can rock a knitted jumper...
The media has a new bogeyman with 'Red Ed' duly vanquished...

But maybe he needs a bullet-proof vest?

The radio interview, as reported by ITV News:

The equally disastrous appearance on the Sunday Politics Show with Andrew Neil (start from 4:17):

The former Green leader defends her on C4 News; should/does Lucas' superior media performance matter?

Media coverage was consistently condemnatory and dismissive of Bennett - does this harm the Greens? Consider how closely UKIP's fortunes are tied to Farage.

As the recent spotlight on The Sun's page 3 has reminded us, Rupert Murdoch's entry into the UK media market back in 1968 (buying the NoTW, spectacularly closed in 2011 after the phone hacking scandal broke, and The Sun in 1969) has had far-reaching consequences. A comparison of the nature of newspapers then and now is extraordinary: all, whether popular/tabloid/mid-market (the red-tops) or quality/broadsheet have hugely upped their coverage of soft news (sport, celebrity, human interest) and cut some aspects of their hard news (politics, foreign affairs etc).

This has led to the development of two terms to describe a phenomenon which has since spread beyond the press into all media: tabloidisation and dumbing down.

Have the media, with their frequent focus on personality of leaders and the soap opera of parties' internecine (internal) splits and rivalries rather than policy, turned politics into another form of entertainment, 'politainment'?

There are those who would argue that the media does not in any way perform its fourth estate, watchdog duty as the guarantor of democracy. Noam Chomsky famously argued that it operates on a 'propaganda model', filtering out any radical content that challenges the governing elites (Manufacturing Consent) and creating a false sense of political competition (Necessary Illusions). Russell Brand has rather less scholastically put forth similar views recently, urging people not to vote.

Use the resources below to make up your own mind...
Politainment. The big story of 2014. Politainment is what unites Boris, Brand and Farage, the men who dominate our political dialogue to such an extent that we’ve given up talking about it in favour of talking about them. It’s an old idea (Texan politico Bill Miller coined the phrase “Politics is show business for ugly people” back in 1991, before Jay Leno), but with a twist. Today’s personality politicians are all (to some extent) outsiders. They don’t have to stand a chance of making PM – or stand at all – to make the weather. The centre is so indistinct that the fringe has become the natural area of interest. A sideshow has developed, with circus acts to match. Ugly business for show people. [Lauren Laverne, The Boris, Brand and Farage show: why politicians should steer clear of showbiz]
Politainment, a portmanteau word composed of politics and entertainment, describes tendencies in politics and mass media to liven up political reports and news coverage using elements from public relations. Of doubtful virtue, declining amounts of content and substance can easily be compensated by giving news stories a sensationalistic twinge. Politainment thus ranges on the same level as edu- and infotainment. [Wiki]
Living Color: Cult of Personality.

Nigel Farage plays Fruitcake or Loony on HIGNFY

Click below to view further resources

Their policies are erratic, but their leading lights have pledged support for slashing taxes on the rich, privatising public services and repealing basic workers’ rights.
Sentiments, though. Just 36% of voters believe that Nigel Farage was privately educated, even though he was schooled at the prestigious fee-paying Dulwich College; over half believe the same for the state-educated Ed Miliband. Farage has successfully effected an everyman appeal, complete with the almost compulsory pint of bitter at every photographic opportunity. He doesn’t sound scripted, but rather talks in the language of common sense; he presents himself as the outsider against the machine. In a world of relentlessly on-message, professionalised career politicians, it takes little to shine. (Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in leftwing populism)

Nigel Farage's Weather Forecast on BBC Politics Show
Notably, this was uploaded by 'UKIPwebmaster'.

Gordon Brown Overheard Calling Woman Bigot

Gordon Brown Hears the News...

A Typical HIGNFY Gordon Brown Feature

WochIT News: Green Party threaten to sue over 2015 TV Debate exclusion

Ed Miliband on HIGNFY

Ed Miliband Repeats Himself

Discussion: Media's Portrayal of Ed as Wallace

Telegraph: Tips for Ed's New Media Adviser

David Cameron: Miliband is a complete mug

David cameron labels Nadine Dorries 'frustrated'

WebCameron (spoof ending)


Some further resources for researching this question:;;;;;;;;;;

2015 Election Campaign:
Comparison of Mail/Metro coverage.
Attacks on Ed Miliband's personality: Stephanie Flanders condemns intrusion; Mail/Metro (owned by same company) coverage compared;

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Political Compass Test

This links into an earlier post, in which I set out resources explaining the terms 'left-wing' and 'right-wing'.

The PC website carries a 'test' or survey which invites you to express on a wide range of issues, and then seeks to map your views onto the spectrum of left- to right-wing and authoritarian to libertarian. You might question its judgements on the essential nature of our current political parties, but they make for a useful talking point:
Some contentious judgements!

You can take the test here.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Interactive world map lets you track every country's migration history

Monday, 7 September 2015


You will be formed into small groups with the 20-minute task of researching one major news story from summer 2015: 15 minutes to research individually, then 5 minutes to organise your findings as a group so you can brief the class on this issue.

You can present your briefing with or without display technology: the format of your briefing is down to you.

Start by agreeing a group leader who can check everyone is looking at a different resource to gather information, and help organise bringing your individual findings together into a briefing that is easy to follow.

Each student will contribute a short briefing, with some facts, quotations, opinions.

Each group will present a briefing on their topic which presumes the audience (the class!) has no knowledge on this topic or event. the style or format of this is up to, but must feature everyone's contribution. This should last around 2 minutes: its a short briefing!

Each group should also select an appropriate YouTube video and pick out a section of around 1 minute to show. Copy the URL and paste it in as a comment (scroll to the very bottom of the post and click 'add comment'). If you click share below a video, you can tick a box to make that link start playing at a specific point in the video.
Click on the web page address to highlight it; copy [CTRL+C] and paste as a comment to this post, adding your topic and the time the video should start at
I've provided a very basic Google link, but you could try key words with news sources such as BBC or Guardian (BBC will be simpler usually, Guardian [newspaper] or Telegraph or Independent more complex, Mail or Express or Mirror less so).

(look under the pictures for a hyperlink taking you to a simple google search for news on this story)

1: A storm brewing in the far East... BASIC SEARCH.
2: Cutting remarks branding government action as cruel ... BASIC SEARCH.
3: Burying a peace deal? BASIC SEARCH.
4: Leeds to rival London? BASIC SEARCH.
5: Jez we can? BASIC SEARCH.
6: Man oh man... BASIC SEARCH.
7: Degrading and downgraded... BASIC SEARCH.
8: Trumped up views? BASIC SEARCH. The gaffer.
9: Straight outta excuses? BASIC SEARCH.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Prison with a recording studio: how Norway does it differently

If you read through to the end of this short article, you'll find some interesting stats comparing crime in Norway and the US, which takes pride in the harshness of its prisons. Food for thought: should we focus on punishment or rehabilitation?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Report says youth suffering while pensioners prioritised

UK ‘failing its young’ as gulf grows between generations
“The foundation’s vitally important index makes it clear that the UK is failing its young,” he said. “The UK, like other developed economies, has engaged in fiscal, educational, health and environmental child abuse.”
Click here to read the article; it uses quite complex language, being from a broadsheet newspaper

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Gambling, Addiction and FOBTs

It starts with a short list of hyperlinked (CTRL-click to visit the page in a new tab, keeping this page open!) articles and a podcast, most looking at the issue of 'FOBTs' (gambling machines found in bookies which many are getting addicted to).
Videos on this follow.
Finally, there are a series of links for researching specifically the issue of teen/young problem gamblers.

FOBT = fixed-odds betting terminal

The resources below present a variety of views and experiences of gambling, including stories from some people who are addicted to gambling. Many argue that these 'FOBTs' are a key part of 'problem gambling', and you'll notice that one of the videos is from a pressure group specifically campaigning to ban these.

You should start with this feature by the NHS, which features a problem gambler also profiled by the BBC.

Newspaper articles
I gathered these from one source, The Guardian (they collect similar stories here); if you go on to other papers' websites websites you can find more such stories, some with different views

1 Curb on betting terminals will enforce cut in maximum stake
Ministers to tackle 'crack cocaine of gambling' with new limits on fixed-odds betting terminals

2 Students who gamble their loans away
'I lost £8,000 in an hour,' says a student gambler. Why are students increasingly drawn to betting?

3 Bookmakers retaliate in battle over tax on FOBT high street casinos
George Osborne's tax on fixed odds betting terminals has the bookmaking industry scaremongering about job losses – a weakness racing can exploit

C4 News Debate (5mins)
An industry spokesman and a gambling addict debate the issue of FOBTs.

BBC Look North Report (5mins)

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Bristol teens finish A-Levels...then organise protest march through Facebook

Teenage anti-austerity protesters in Bristol challenge ‘lazy’ stereotype

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Where in the world can 16 year olds vote?

Votes for 16- and 17-year-olds – where else outside Scotland?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Price of Politics: For a Fiver YOU could be electing party leaders

Want to get involved in party politics? It costs less than you think

Monday, 8 June 2015

Teens and drug usage

As teens, you are bombarded with media imagery glorifying drug usage; the following is a 1980s track that the media didn't realise was all about drug use. Can you think of any acts (or other media content: films, TV characters, games etc) that glorify drug usage?

That's not the only track that the media didn't realise was really about drugs; this BBC article lists others.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

ELECTION 2015 What UK school votes revealed

‘A corner of Tory Bromley has just turned red.’ How the school electorate is voting

Sunday, 3 May 2015

ELECTION video mash-ups

The general election campaign sees the usual range of party political broadcasts and posters, but there are some rather more fun mash-ups out there, where footage is re-edited and re-presented to twist and transform the original meaning or message. The Observer brought together a few of these; click on the <READ MORE> link below to find the link; the picture is just a screenshot of the article.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

NightStop - Bradford charity helping young homeless

Bradford NightStop's website is packed with content, including profiles of young people who have used the service to make a fresh start.
NightStop work with local volunteers to provide advice and practical assistance, not least an alternative to the worst response to homelessness, sleeping on the streets, to 16-25 year-olds who find themselves in crisis and without a home.

There is a wealth of further information on what they do, how they can help, and links/contact details for NightStop and other relevant local agencies, on their website.

Below you can view a short film introducing you to some of the young people who have been helped by NightStop, and some of the volunteers who help ensure Bradford's young people have an alternative to sleeping on the streets - even one night doing this can lead to multiplying problems, and make it more difficult to resolve the problems that led to the homelessness.

Below you can find a PowerPoint quiz on homelessness and the law (amongst other issues), and photographs of NightStop in action.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Designing your own lesson on teen health

YOU will be teaching the class...
...Not just presenting findings from your research, into a health issue and how it impacts on young people, but thinking of how best to make this interesting for and to engage your classmates

LESSON 1: You will have some time to form a group, agree a topic and begin to think about the lesson.
LESSON 2: Time to plan and bring together materials.
You must make sure everyone in the group has ALL of the materials produced by the groups. If you have audio, video, PowerPoint, pdf or Word documents, you can send them to me and I will embed them within this post to help with this!
LESSON 3: Deliver your 15 minute mini-lesson!

Here are the two documents to help you with this work; the instructions (including hyperlinks you might find useful) and an example of a lesson plan: