Our aim is for all students to have a firm understanding of the political system which underpins the values and culture of modern Britain.
Additionally students will gain the synoptic understanding of how the British political system compares to other countries and an appreciation of how our political culture has developed. In achieving these skills our students will be able to go into the wider world with the enthusiasm and confidence to engage in the democratic process.
It feels like there has never been a more important time to understand the political systems and institutions that govern and shape our daily lives. An A Level in Politics will not only give you this understanding but also the ability to critically analyse how politics works and who it works for. You will study key aspects of British politics including the power held at Westminster, and the impact of devolved governments in Scotland and Wales. As well as considering the factors that shape how people participate in politics, including voting in elections and engaging with pressure groups and social movements. This study of British politics will be put into a wider context by studying other political systems such as America and the European Union. Alongside this you will gain a deep understanding of the key political ideologies of Liberalism, Socialism and Conservatism, all of which can support your knowledge and understanding of a variety of other A level subjects. The course is a linear, two year course that is 100% exam based.
Thought provoking content – Lively debates — Relevant to real life – Inspirational speakers – Great record of results – Varied lessons – Westminster Trip – Politics is everywhere!
What do I need?
At least a grade 4 in one Humanities subject at GCSE and a grade 5 in English Language GCSE.
This is a subject not just for budding politicians. Although many of our students go on to study Politics at university it is also popular to combine Politics with other subjects such as History, Economics or English. Furthermore, because it gives students a detailed understanding of current affairs and legislation, it is highly suitable for careers in Business, Journalism and Law.
During the two year course you will have the opportunity to visit Westminster at least once. We alternate between a tour of the Houses of Parliament with a visit to the UK Supreme court and a specialist A Level Politics conference where numerous high profile politicians address the students.
Washington & New York:
The Politics and History department are running a trip to Washington DC & New York at Easter 2019. It is intended that this trip will run every two years so every student who would like to, will get the chance to go during their two years at Sixth Form. The focus of the tour is American politics and the Cold War. Highlights of our itinerary in Washington DC will include a tour of Congress and Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Supreme Court. In New York we will have a full guided tour of the United Nations headquarters, visit the 9/11 Memorial centre as well as experiencing New York from the ‘Top of the Rock’.
A Level Course
We follow the Edexcel A Level Politics (9PL0) course. See the link below for a detailed look at the course specification.
The following is an overview of the course, with some of the key questions students will address:
Component 1: UK Politics
Section A: Political Participation- which includes:
Democracy and participation- How democratic is the UK?
Political parties- What factors shape the success of UK parties?
Electoral systems- Is it time to change the First Past the Post electoral system used in the UK?
Voting behaviour and the media- Are voters influenced more by their social background than political leaders, policies and the media?
Section B: Core Political Ideas- which includes:
A study of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism- What are the key themes and tensions within these ideologies?
Component 2: UK Government
Section A. UK Government- which includes:
The constitution- Should the UK adopt a more rigid, codified constitution like America?
Parliament- How well does parliament scrutinise the government?
Prime Minister and executive- What are the factors that influence the power of the PM?
Relationships between the branches- Where does power lie within the UK political system?
Section B. Non-core political ideas- which includes
A study of Anarchism- What are the main themes and tensions within this ideology?
Component 3: Comparative Politics-The Government & Politics of the USA- which includes:
The US Constitution and federalism- Has this 18th Century document stood the test of time?
US Congress- Is US Congress the ‘broken branch’ of government?
US presidency- Why is the President powerful abroad but severely restricted at home?
US Supreme Court and civil rights- How well are the rights of citizens protected in America?
Democracy and participation- Why are American elections long, expensive and complicated?
Throughout the two years you will tackle a range of different exam style questions. As a department we aim to carry out assessment work timed in class, so that students have a full opportunity to prepare for the A Level examinations. We use detailed feedback sheets to help you recognised your strengths and also improve your work. A sample of these can be found here.
A sample assessment paper from Edexcel can be found at: https://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/A%20Level/Politics/2017/Specification%20and%20sample%20assessments/A-level-Politics-Sample-Assessment-Materials.pdf