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Politics

Type of Qualification:
Politics (part of the history department)
Type of Qualification:
A Level
Exam Board:
Edexcel
Requirements:
Grade 6 in English Language / Literature and at least a Grade 6 in a Humanities subject (History/Geography/RE)

Course Content

Autumn Year 12: We start with UK Politics, which covers concepts like democracy, political participation, voting systems, political parties, pressure groups, election campaigns and the trends in the voting behaviour of the electorate. This gives students a basis for exploring the current issues in the UK’s politics: Example Question: ‘Evaluate the view that the UK’s democracy is in crisis’.

Spring Year 12: We look at the workings of UK Government, which builds on the knowledge of the Autumn term by exploring the UK’s constitution and civil liberties, the workings of Parliament, the power of Prime Ministers, the relationship with the Devolved Regions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the increasing role of the Supreme Court. It also explores the UK’s complex relationship (now academic!) with the EU. This allows students to assess where power truly lies in the British political system and explore the case for further reform. (Example Question: ‘Evaluate that prime ministers have become increasingly presidential since 1979’).

Summer Year 12: We finish the first year by studying the Core Political Ideologies of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. This takes students to the key ideas which inspire and inform all political issues today. They will examine the works of key political thinkers (Including Locke, Marx, Rawls and Rand). This unit stretches students to consider the view taken by the different ideologies on human nature, society, the role of the state and the economy. It also explores the tensions between ideologies. We also study a Non-Core Ideology: Nationalism. (Example Question: ‘To what extent do socialists agree with achieving equality of outcome?).

Autumn – Spring Year 13: In the final year we study the Politics and Government of the USA. This provides a nice contrast to the UK and allows students to draw comparisons between two democratic systems. Students start by gaining an understanding of the Constitution and how it shapes all aspects of US political life. They then move to cover the topics of democracy and elections, parties, Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and Civil Rights. (Example Question: ‘Evaluate the view that money is the most important factors for a successful presidential campaign’)

Style Of Assessment

All three papers are assessed through exams at the end of Year 13. There is no coursework element

Paper 1: 2 hours exam: One ‘source-based essay’ and one essay assessing UK Politics. One essay on the Core Ideologies

Paper 2: 2 hours exam: One ‘source-based essay’ and one essay assessing UK Government. One essay on the Non-Core Ideology

Paper 3: 2 hours exam: One ‘Examine’ question, one ‘Analyse’ question and an essay. All assessing US Politics

Whose kind of course?

You must already have a curiosity and love for politics!

You should be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

  • Do I check the news every day?
  • Do I follow events as they develop?
  • Am I able to make links between events and spot ‘big’ themes and trends?
  • Do I try to understand events or issues if I am not 100% informed?
  • Do I have an opinion about most issues? Do I share and debate these with others?

 

IF you can honestly say ‘yes’ to all of them, then politics will be a good choice for you!

Finally, this is a subject which is assessed through writing. Essays the majority of marks awarded so a willingness to both read and write extensively is essential.

Career Prospects

University Course: Politics, History, International Relations, Economics, Philosophy, International Development

Careers: ALL! But specific careers which value a strong awareness of politics include: journalism, the Civil Service, Media, Policy Research, Local Government, Uniformed Services, the Law, charities (and many more!)