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Government and Politics

What will I learn?

We don’t always like politicians and the things that governments do; however, the business of politics touches every aspect of our lives. We may criticise governments for some of their policies; however, is de Tocqueville correct when he said 'in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve'? Government and Politics is the study of the people in power, how they get there, and how they make decisions.

During your first year, you will study three main themes in British Politics: People, Politics and Participation – asking questions such as:

  • What is democracy?
  • Why do people vote?
  • What is the role of the media in elections?

Governing Modern Britain – asking questions such as:

  • What does the PM do throughout the day?
  • Has Parliament got any power?
  • Where have the Spin Doctors gone?

Political Ideology, asking questions about:

  • Conservatism
  • Socialism
  • Liberalism
  • Anarchism

During your second year, you’ll study two main themes in US Politics: The Politics of the USA – asking questions such as:

  • Was the 2016 Presidential Election significant?
  • Is a $1 billion election campaign value for money?
  • Is broadcast news too influential?

The Government of the USA – asking questions such as:

  • What power does the President actually have?
  • Does the Supreme Court interpret or make the law?
  • Does the composition of Congress reflect the diversity of American society?
How is it different from GCSE?

A Level Politics is different from many GCSE subjects, due to the need to keep up-to-date with current affairs. The course is designed to:

  • Develop your Critical Thinking skills
  • Encourage analysis of the changing dynamics of modern politics
  • Inspire the ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the contemporary political system
  • Provide a qualification in a subject highly regarded by those involved in Higher Education
How will I learn?

You will have up to three and a half hours contact time with staff per week. Lessons will be in small groups and involve a mixture of discussion, group and paired activities. It is expected that you will participate in lessons fully and share your insights and questions with all of us. Together with a sense of humour, thoughtful, substantiated opinions are very welcome.

You will be expected to read the broadsheet newspapers and watch the news on a daily basis. You will have on-line access to a student-designed politics magazine, as well as library resources, DVDs and a variety of text books.

You will be given short answer questions to do before each lesson and be expected to keep a journal of current events as an evidence portfolio. You will also have timed assessments and past papers in class, so that you can develop appropriate examination skills.

How will I be assessed?

As with all subjects, Government and Politics is hard work; however, by applying yourself consistently throughout the course, you can achieve great things. Weekly assessments will be in the form of informal team quizzes.

Examination questions will be set to time at frequent points during the specification:

  • At the end of your second year, you will sit three two hour examinations
  • Each examination paper contributes one third towards your final A Level grade
Where will I find out more?

Further information on the contents of the course can be obtained from the AQA website and members of the Politics Department are always happy to answer questions.

To find out more contact Mrs Wellman:

"There is always another article to read, or another discussion to be had and being able to talk about ideas with my teachers and fellow students in a much more relaxed way is invaluable."

"I remember feeling a sense of satisfaction after my first week, especially given I'd chosen two new subjects I've never studied before, and realising I'd made the right choice. That the subjects I'd chosen were in fact the subjects for me – that was memorable." Current Sixth Formers