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Government and Politics

Course Overview

Politics develops the skills of enquiry and analysis as well as the ability to debate an issue and construct a balanced argument. These skills provide an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers, for example law, journalism, the media, administration and management.

Entry Requirements

5 in an English Language or Literature GCSE.

Students require a D Grade in the AS Level or in their end of year exam to progress from Year 12 to Year 13.

Qualities Required

Students do not need to have studied politics before but an interest in current affairs is essential. Students also need to be willing to join in discussion and to keep up to date with contemporary political developments.

Links with Other Subjects

Politics complements and combines well with History, English, Sociology, Economics, Geography and Psychology but many students also choose it to provide a contrast to A Levels in Mathematics and Science.

Exam Board

Edexcel

Method of Assessment

AS Level – two exam papers :
1. UK Politics (1 hour 45 minutes)
2. UK Government (1 hour 45 minutes)

A Level – three exam papers:
1. UK Politics and Core Political Ideas (2 hours)
2. UK Government and Optional Political Ideas (2 hours)
3. Comparative Politics – USA (2 hours).

What will I Study?

This is a highly relevant course which deals with issues which affect everyone. The course is broken down into three main areas:

1. British Politics

Students will gain an insight into the ways in which the British political system works and how politics affects all aspects of our daily lives. Areas of study include:

  • Parliament – is it just a lot of shouting? 
  • Prime Minister and Cabinet – who runs the country? 
  • Elections – do they really change anything? 
  • Constitutional Reform – does the system need changing? 
  • Participation – why do (or don’t) people vote? 
  • Political parties – what do they believe in? 
  • Democracy – is it important? 
  • The United Kingdom – how united is it?

2. American Politics

Students will gain an insight into how the US political system operates. This will enable students to make a direct comparison with the UK political system. 

  • Congress – what’s the difference between the House and the Senate? 
  • The President – how powerful is he? 
  • The Supreme Court – will it abolish the death penalty? 
  • Elections – why did Trump win and Clinton lose? 
  • US Civil Rights – how well protected are the rights of US citizens?
  • Constitution and Federalism – what powers do the States have?
  • Pressure Groups – enhancing or destroying democracy? 
  • Political Parties – do they mean anything in the USA?

3. Core Political Ideas

Students will explore the three traditional political ideas of conservatism, liberalism and socialism. Students will learn about the core ideas and principles and how they apply in practice to human nature, the state, society and the economy, the divisions within each idea and their key thinkers. Students will also explore one of five additional political ideas:

  • Anarchism 
  • Ecologism 
  • Feminism 
  • Multiculturalism 
  • Nationalism.