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Are you interested in how our country works, what different political parties stand for and how relations with different countries operate? Do you know what the difference between a written and unwritten constitution is and how this explains some of the political turmoil in the United Kingdom in recent years? Would you like to know more about how to make your voice heard over the fundamental issues of our times; such as climate change or equality? Are you interested in a career in the civil service, law, or journalism? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then Politics is the subject for you!
A Level Politics is the study of the structures of government and the concepts behind it. Over the two year A Level you will gain a thorough understanding of how our government works, the make-up of our country, elections and what each political party believes in and the principles they seek to introduce. You will also gain an understanding of politics on the international stage and how problems and issues are discussed and dealt with in different ways. You will also explore theory and thinkers behind key political ideology including Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Feminism.
This A Level is taught from the EDEXCEL board over two years. You will sit three papers at the end of your second year and the subject is fully exam assessed.
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including Maths.
A grade 5 or above in English Language.
In the first year you will study two units.
1. ‘UK Politics’: In this unit you will gain an understanding of what democracy is and what systems we use in the United Kingdom for both direct and representative democracy. You will look at the extension of voting rights and how human rights have been developed. You will gain an understanding of the different political parties and their beliefs in the United Kingdom. You will examine referendums and our voting systems and analyse their strengths and weaknesses. Lastly you will look at how voting behaviour is influenced by the media and critically evaluate what happened in the last three general elections.
2. ‘UK Government’: This unit focuses on the structures of government in the United Kingdom and explores the nature of the unwritten constitution, how Parliament works, the powers of the executive and the relationship between the two. It also explores other institutions such as the Supreme Court and analyses where sovereignty in the UK political system lies. You will gain a thorough understanding of the make-up of the UK Political system and processes for making laws.
In the second year you will study two more units.
3. ‘Comparative Global Politics’: This unit explores the global political system. You will study globalisation and the role of the state in a global economy as well as global governance institutions, such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation. You will also look at key issues such as human rights, environmental concerns, and regionalism before finally looking at issues in international relations and power blocs.
4. ‘Core and Non-core Political Ideologies’: In this unit you will look at the key concepts and ideas behind the main political ideologies in the United Kingdom of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. You will explore how these concepts have evolved over time and who the key thinkers in these ideologies are. You will also study the ideology of feminism in the same manner to explore how this ideology has developed and changed over time.
Studying politics is useful for a range of careers that require an understanding of the political structures in our country and worldwide. This includes journalism, the civil service, work in the charity sector, academia or in business. Many subjects are good combinations for Politics, including History and Law due to the obvious similarities in content, Geography due to the global politics unit and sections on issues and debates. English Language and Literature are also good subjects, due to the focus on essay writing and constructing arguments. Economics and Philosophy are also useful subjects, especially if you wish to go onto to do a PPE based course at university.
There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom for Politics. This includes a trip to Parliament to see the seat of our democracy. We have also previously held a husting in the Sixth Form for candidates for the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency in the general election. Politics learners may find it useful to join our Social Academy which organises cultural awareness and political events throughout the year and would benefit from membership of our Legal, Sociology or History Academies.