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FACTASS: The New (1986) Joint Forum of Academic & Teaching Associations In The Social Sciences

June 1, 2011

The 1980s posed a considerable challenge for those of us in the social sciences.  Just when professional consciousness of the social curriculum was being articulated, the resources and opportunities to develop it were under serious threat, both politically and in terms of resources.  Some of us in different social science and social education disciplines therefore conjoined as FACTASS (of which I was founder / Convenor) to address these threats directly.  This 1986 Forum announcement was published in Social Science Teacher.

FACTASS: A New Joint Forum For The Social Sciences (1986)
The Association of Teachers of the Social Sciences (ATSS) has recently been integrally involved in a new venture, the Joint Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences, which has the aim of promoting and developing social science and social education at all levels. Amongst the other organisations at present represented in this Forum are the British Sociological Association, the Economics Association, the Politics Association and the Social Administration Association.

One of the first decisions of the Joint Forum was to contact the Directors of Education of every Authority in the U.K, to offer the expertise of member associations in the development of social science in-service training following the current round of examination and curriculum changes. This was felt to be especially important as it is know that many Authorities do not have Advisers in the social sciences, and these subjects may thus be particularly vulnerable to marginalisation because such training is to be LEA-based.

In the same letter Directors were also informed of FACTASS plans for a ‘rolling conference’ (probably to three different venues) in 1987, intended particularly to enable  students to have a brief taste of campus life and study, whilst their teachers have a chance to catch up on academic areas and, very importantly, on course and career opportunities for their students available in or through higher education.

Amongst the next tasks which the Joint Forum will probably undertake will be forming closer links with the Examination Boards, and a more thorough look at the links between the social science disciplines as they are taught in non-advanced education, as well as at the ways in which curriculum integration can be achieved between advanced and non-advanced social science courses. It is hope the practical steps, such as the ‘rolling conference’ and offers of help with Inset (in-service teacher training), will be the beginning of a concerted effort to stress the importance of social science and social education in the curriculum at all levels.
Hilary Burrage
[Founding Hon.] Convenor, FACTASS

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