Government & Politics
Few subjects are as central to our everyday lives as politics. It is about people and power, who has it and how they use it. Politics focuses on studying the real world and finding out how you can make a difference to your college, your community and even your country. If you want to understand how our nation works and how we might improve, Government and Politics is the course for you.
Start date: September 2018 Duration: Two years
Location: SRC Bede Sixth Form
What will you do?
In the first year you will consider important concepts such as democracy, power and influence. You will analyse how Parliament works, and why some are now calling for big changes to the system. As we analyse the 2017 General Election we will ask ourselves what future the Labour party has, whether Scotland will remain part of the UK and if 16-year-olds should get the vote.
Topical questions tackled by our students include:
- Why do we have an unelected House of Lords making laws on our behalf?
- Was the experience of coalition government good or bad for democracy?
- What will be the impact of Brexit on the UK?
In the second year the focus is on global politics and on the development of political ideology. Political ideology is important because it allows us to ask the deep questions surrounding the nature of government and the role of the state.
Topical questions tackled by second year students include:
- How is individual freedom maximised?
- Why is Marxism still relevant?
- What impact will President Trump have on world politics and climate change?
- Is global politics dominated by the rich and powerful?
How will I be taught?
Class and group discussions, debates, TV viewing, individual and group assignments and up to date research tasks. The contemporary nature of politics means that we will not rely on use of textbooks; you will be expected to research a good deal of material independently via the internet or newspapers. In addition, you will have the opportunity to participate in a vibrant student-led politics society which meet to discuss and debate the latest developments. MPs and other representatives are frequently invited to speak.
How am I assessed?
The course is assessed by external examination.
- At least a grade 5/B in GCSE English Language and a 4/C in Mathematics
- Grade 5/B is desirable in English Literature or another essay based subject, for example, History.
Students with AS or A level Government and politics develop a wide range of transferable skills throughout the course, for example, collecting and analysing information, skills of arguing and evaluation as well as communication and writing skills. These skills are highly valued by employers as well as university admissions tutors. The subject is of particular interest for those who might be planning a career in areas such as law, media, the civil service or public relations. The list of suitable careers, however, is nearly endless. Cambridge University regard it as a suitable course for their social science degree courses.
Course overview – Unit 1
- Democracy and participation
- Political parties
- Electoral systems
- Voting behaviour and the media
Core Political Ideas:
- Socialism and communism
Course overview – Unit 2
- The constitution
- Prime Minister and executive
- Relationships between the branches
Other Political Ideas:
Content overview – Unit 3
- Theories of Global Politics
- Sovereignty and globalism
- Global governance: political and economic
- Global governance: human rights and environmental
- Power and developments
- Regionalism and the European Union
What else you need to know:
You will get the opportunity to attend political conferences and debates and there are plans to organize visits to major political venues such as the Houses of Parliament in London.