Tuesday, 28 January 2014

House of Lords considers an amendment to the Children & Families Bill to teach sex and relationships education

Professor Olga van den Akker provided a live commentary last night (27/01/14) to Eddie Nestor’s questions on today’s proposed House of Lords consideration of an amendment to the Children & Families Bill, which would require all state-funded schools in England to teach sex and relationships education.

It should be compulsory to teach Sex Education at secondary schools to inform boys to respect girls (and vice versa), according to prominent campaigners.

In a letter to The Times, the group, states that schools are in the best position to address the problem, helping girls to protect themselves against unwanted advances and abuse, and educating boys to develop a more respectful attitude.

Although state comprehensive schools are required to provide sex education, independent schools and academies are not. The House of Lords has tabled a discussion which could amend the current law so that all state funded schools may be required to educate pupils on sex and relationships.

THE LETTER: (from the Times, 27th January 2014)

Compulsory sex and relationships education would be a first step towards tackling the rising levels of abuse against women and girls

Sir, Tomorrow the House of Lords considers a vital amendment to the Children & Families Bill which would require all state-funded schools in England to teach sex and relationships education (SRE). We call on peers across the benches to support this amendment as a critical child protection measure.

Girls in the UK experience high levels of sexual and other abuse from boyfriends, friends and relatives. One in three girls experiences groping or other unwanted sexual touching at school, and there are ongoing trials of men and boys for grooming and sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls across the country. We are still lifting the lid on the scale of abuse of women and girls by Jimmy Savile and others under Operation Yewtree.

Schools should be places where children feel safe and supported, and have a vital role to play in helping to develop healthy and respectful attitudes and behaviour. This is not always the case, and numerous recent reports and cases have highlighted how tackling abuse and exploitation is extremely patchy. At a time when violent pornography online is becoming the default sex-educator for some young people, this is woefully inadequate.

The proposed amendment by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch and Baroness Hughes of Stretford would ensure that children are taught about sexual consent, and learn how to develop consensual and respectful relationships. We are simply storing up problems for the future if we do not give young people this essential information.

There is already cross-party consensus on the need to prevent violence against women and girls before it begins, but very little action to achieve this. Compulsory sex and relationships education would be a vital first step on this road.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet; Polly Neate, Women's Aid; Holly Dustin, End Violence Against Women Coalition; Professor Liz Kelly, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit; Marai Larasi, Imkaan; Laura Bates, Everydaysexism; Lee Eggleston, Rape Crisis England and Wales; Professor Clare McGlynn, University of Durham; Dr Miranda Horvath, Middlesex University; Sandra Horley, Refuge; Carlene Firmin, MsUnderstood; Kristina Massey, Canterbury Christ University; Mia Scally, Middlesex University

29th January 2014 - Dr Miranda Horvath provides an update:

You may have seen that the Lords voted against the SRE amendment yesterday. The Government's case is that it should be left to schools to decide how these issues are dealt with and were clearly concerned that the amendment would make SRE compulsory in Primary Schools. Unfortunately, I think this shows a lack of understanding of what is going on in some young people's lives - one of our members is currently working with 2 seven year old girls who were sexually assaulted by boys in their class. Teachers were extremely unconfident in knowing how to deal with the situation and how to support both the boys and the girls. SRE is only a part of the solution to such problems but is an important part, alongside adequate policies and staff training.

So, it is very disappointing but there was a good debate around the issues with mention of The Times letter. This clearly helped increase the pressure, and it's telling that the amendment went to a vote and wasn't withdrawn. If you like reading Parliamentary debates the link is here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140128-0002.htm#140128102000889

The Science Media Centre: Introduction to News Media 

If you’re frustrated by what you read and see in the news and you care about how the media presents your science, or you just want to know more about how the media works then this is the event for you.  The Science Media Centre would like to invite you to our next Introduction to the News Mediahttp://www.sciencemediacentre.org/working-with-us/for-scientists/intro/ session on Friday 21 February 2014.  It will be held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT.  The event will take place from 12.30 until 17.00 with drinks afterwards.

Register your interest
If you wish to attend this free session please send your full name, job title, institution, institutional email address and phone number(s) to introduction@sciencemediacentre.org and we will send you the programme and more information in due course. 

Please do not request a place unless you are sure you can make the date and it is in your diary.  Please also direct any queries to introduction@sciencemediacentre.org

What is involved?
Science has never been as prominent in the news as it is today and it is paramount that the issues are communicated correctly.  We have some excellent science journalists in the UK, but the news stories will never be covered as accurately as we want them to be without the direct involvement of the experts themselves.  At the Science Media Centre we spend a lot of time putting scientists and journalists in touch when science hits the headlines, and experts like you are often in great demand.

This event is for ~250 scientists and is divided into two sessions with a tea break, and includes a drinks reception at the end.  Lunch will not be provided.  The event is completely free of charge. 

You will be given a beginner’s guide to the media and hear from media-experienced scientists, news journalists, science correspondents and press officers about the realities of the news media.  Topics include:

• how and why scientists and journalists should engage with each other
• top tips for dealing with the media
• how journalists find stories
• the role of the press office
• the role of the news editor

It isn’t:
Skills-based media training.  This session will not prepare you for a confrontation with Paxman or Humphrys but it will give you a flavour of the media to help you understand its demands and make it easier for you to work with journalists.

Is it for you?
These free events are designed specifically for scientists with little or no media experience and we welcome scientists, engineers and clinicians at any stage of their career in academia or industry from any institution (PhD level or professional equivalent and above).

The sessions are especially relevant for scientists working in areas that are controversial and receive a lot of media coverage. They will be very similar to previous SMC Introduction to the Media days – so please don’t register if you have attended before.

Thursday, 23 January 2014




Saturday, 14 June, 2014

We invite postgraduate students and research fellows to submit proposals for papers on psychoanalysis or psychoanalytically informed research. Papers may be from any academic discipline, including psychology, sociology, cultural studies, psychosocial studies, history, literature, art, religious studies or philosophy. We also welcome proposals on clinical or theoretical topics from students on psychoanalytic trainings.

This one-day conference is designed to give postgraduate students from all disciplines who are interested in psychoanalysis an opportunity to present and discuss their research in an informal and intellectually stimulating setting.

Abstracts of 300 words (maximum) should include a title, the name of your university or training organisation and a telephone number. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes long. A further 10 minutes will be allowed for discussion. Sessions of 1½ hours will have space for three papers. There will be concurrent panels to accommodate as many papers as possible. The day will end with a plenary.

The conference takes place at the Hendon Campus of Middlesex University (30 minutes from central London) between 9:30 and 5:30 on Saturday, 14 June, 2014. Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be provided. The conference fee is £40 for presenters and attendees. The fee for Middlesex University staff and students is £20.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday, 23 May, 2014. Early submission and registration is recommended. Abstracts and queries should be sent to: David Henderson, d.henderson@mdx.ac.uk

Centre for Psychoanalysis
Psychology Department
Middlesex University
The Burroughs, Hendon

London  NW4 4BT

Monday, 20 January 2014

Visiting speaker: Fernand Gobet, University of Liverpool

Title: Extraordinary performance: Practice or talent?

Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014

Time: 1pm

Venue: Room CG01

The study of extraordinary performance has been carried out almost independently in two research traditions, the first emphasising practice and the second emphasising talent. The practice tradition has collected empirical evidence strongly supporting chunking as a key learning mechanism and practice as a prerequisite for becoming an expert. The talent tradition has provided convincing data for the importance of (inherited) individual differences in intelligence and working memory as well as for other factors such as starting age and handedness. If future research on extraordinary performance is to be successful, these two traditions must joint efforts to understand the mechanisms involved. Given the number of variables involved, their complex interactions and the fact that they evolve as a function of time, the use of computational modelling is necessary.

Short biography: 
Fernand Gobet earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1992 at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. After a six-year stay at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, where he collaborated with Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon on chess expertise, he was Senior Research Fellow and then Reader at the University of Nottingham. He moved to Brunel University in 2003 to take up a Chair in cognitive psychology. Since 2013, he is Professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Liverpool. His main research interest is the psychology of expertise and talent, which he has studied in numerous domains. He has written six books, including Foundations of cognitive psychology (2011) and he is currently finishing a book titled Understanding expertise.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Department of Psychology Brunel University

Academic Yea2013/14, Seminar Series ‐ Spring Term

January 15th
Changiz Mohiyeddini
Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton
What is an emotion? What is emotion regulation?

January 29th
Carolyn McGettigan
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London
Speech perception in the brain: signals, Systems and (a)symmetries

February 19th (4:30pm)
Nicolas Geeraert
Department of Psychology, University of Essex

March 5th
Andre Szameitat
Department of Psychology, Brunel University

March 19th
Polly Dalton
DepartmentofPsychology,Royal Holloway, University of London
The cocktail party revisited: Mechanisms of auditory attention and awareness

April 2nd
Annemieke Apergis-Schoute
Department of Psychology,University of Cambridge
The neural correlates of threat learning and flexibility in OCD patients

Any queries please email:toshie.imada@brunel.ac.uk

What scientific idea is ready for retirement?

Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas. Few truly new ideas are developed without abandoning old ones first. As theoretical physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) noted, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." In other words, science advances by a series of funerals. Why wait that long?
Ideas change, and the times we live in change. Perhaps the biggest change today is the rate of change. What established scientific idea is ready to be moved aside so that science can advance?  

Embedding Social Media in Academic Curricula and Exploring Technology, Enquiry, and Pedagogy

Date: 14 March 2014
Time:  9:30 to 16:30 
Venue: Hendon Campus - Room CG47 (9 to 12) and Room W157 (13:00 to 16:30)
Description:This workshop offers an interactive opportunity for academics, researchers, and practitioners with or without social media experience, to explore the use and applications of social media in higher education, and to examine how the combination of technology, enquiry, and pedagogy may be used to incorporate social media as an e-learning or blended learning strategy in academic curricula, and to support students’ learning and enhance their professional identity.

Conference details: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/events/detail/2014/Workshop/HSC/14-03-14-elearning-blended-learning 
Provisional Programme: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/disciplines/hsc/Events/2014/Elearning-blendedlearning-prov-prog140314.pdf 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

DARTP - PTR Academic Assistant Role

The BPS Division for Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology are looking for a motivated, keen and enthusiastic psychology postgraduate to act as an academic assistant for the journal Psychology Teaching Review. Ideally, the candidate will be able to help in this role for the next 4 months, with a view to extending.The person we are looking for will have excellent communication skills (verbal and written), time management skills and will be able to work independently with very little direct supervision.  The assistant will be available on a flexible basis (max 7 hours in any one week) to work under direction of the Editor to ensure the smooth running of the PTR which has two issues annually (Spring and Autumn).Duties include, setting up and maintaining a database of submitted manuscripts to record date of submission and the following actions:·         
1)   Author submits manuscript

2)   Email acknowledgment sent

3)   Manuscript sent to Associate Editors and arrange for it to be reviewed by two referees

4)   Associate Editor receives reviewers’ comments and makes recommendations to Editor

5)   Author is informed of decision, which normally requires some re-drafting and re-writing

6)   Author resubmits manuscript

7)   Editor accepts or send back to Associate Editor for further review 

To keep the system working, the assistant will need to regularly monitor what stages each manuscript is at, send reminders out to Associate Editors and/or reviewers and keep authors informed.  Sometimes the delay is such that the manuscript needs to be sent to other reviewers.The assistant will also liaise with the publishers to make sure that copyright forms are completed and sent, that proof reading required by authors is completed in time to meet the P4P schedule of deadlines.The assistant will further liaise with the Books Review Editor and Abstracts Review Editor ensuring deadlines are kept, and that reviews are proof read.From time to time, the assistant may be asked to carry out other duties which contribute to the effective and regular production of the PTR.Rate of payBased on hourly equivalent of HERA grade 2, spine point 8£8.22 per hourIndicative hours per month would be between 10 and 30 and there is no average month!If you would like to apply for the role please send your CV with a  covering letter that demonstrates how your skills and experience fits the job description (above) to Dr Jacqui Taylor jtaylor@bournemouth.ac.uk The Deadline for applications is 17th January 2014.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Roundtable discussion: What are children’s ‘best interests’ in international surrogacy?


   Hosted by BASW PROGAR           Registered Charity No. 1013235

Workshop Funded by SRIP

Professor Olga van den Akker (Middlesex University) with Colleagues Dr Marilyn Crawshaw (University of York), Professor Eric Blyth (University of Huddersfield), Andy Elvin (Chief Executive Children & Families across borders) and PROGAR are hosting a SRIP funded invitation only roundtable discussion entitled:

What are children’s ‘best interests’ in international surrogacy?

Friday 10th January 2014

There is growing interest and concern about aspects of international surrogacy. We recently produced a paper (Crawshaw M, Blyth E, & van den Akker O, 2013 The changing profile of surrogacy in the UK – Implications for national and international policy and practice, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, DOI:10.1080/09649069.2012.750478) in which we identified some particular issues regarding the lack of systematic data collection across relevant UK agencies and the resulting difficulties for policy development and monitoring. In addition while there is a growing lobby for the ‘right to parent’ through the use of surrogacy arrangements, debates about children’s best interests are more difficult to find.

At this roundtable discussion, we will be bringing together representatives from a range of government departments (Dept of Health, Immigration Service, Office of the Children’s Champion, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dept for Education, Passport Office, GROs), the HFEA (regulator for assisted conception), relevant professional services and organisations (BASW, Cafcass, CfaB, ISS, NAGALRO), legal representatives, academics and others including consumer groups.  Our aim is to both identify key issues facing those present and, where possible, agree actions to be taken forward, including in the inter-agency, multi-disciplinary context.

The event is being hosted by PROGAR, a coalition of UK child and family welfare organisations and individuals who have worked in the field of surrogacy and donor conception for many years. It is funded by SRIP (Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology). 

For further information about the discussion please contact Professor Olga van den Akker:


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

ESRC seminar series: Work Life Balance in the Recession and Beyond

Professor Suzan Lewis and Dr Nicky Payne will host the first in a series of seven seminars at Middlesex University on January 17th 2014.

The series of seven seminars will examine the work-life balance challenges for employees, employers and policy-makers posed by economic recession and austerity measures. For example, do economic pressures overshadow social and individual concerns and if so, are policies and practices to support work-life balance threatened? Implications for gender equality, health and well-being, care and care-giving, employment relations and innovative workplace and policy initiatives will be considered in both the UK and in other national contexts. The seminars will also explore the impacts of economic recession and austerity on individuals, families, organizations and the wider community.

An underlying theme of the series is the question of how to meet a triple agenda of enhancing employee work-life balance, sustaining or enhancing organisational effectiveness, and contributing to social justice.

For further information about the seminar series please contact Professor Suzan Lewis or Dr Nicola Payne at worklifeseminars@mdx.ac.uk or visit the website www.esrc-work-life-seminars.org.uk