Sixth Form: Politics

Subject Overview

Politics exists because people disagree. They disagree about how they should live, about who should get what, and about who should make decisions.  Politics is the most basic and necessary of social activities.  Without orderly existence, society would degenerate into a civil war of each against all.

The purpose of the course is to help deepen knowledge and understanding of one of the most powerful forces operating on people, communities and corporations today, namely government and politics in the UK and around the world. This knowledge and understanding is valuable for all citizens. It is also essential in many careers today.

Students will learn how the British and American political systems work, their origins and how they operate.  In addition, we will examine some core ideas and philosophies, and the founding principles of modern democracies.

This is your opportunity to become an informed citizen.

Entry Requirements

A Grade 5 in English Language or English Literature is strongly recommended.

Syllabus (Course Outline and Structure)

We will be following the Politics syllabus:

There are 3 papers to be taken in order to complete the A Level qualification each worth 33⅓ %.

Component 1: UK Politics

  • Political Participation – democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour, and the media
  • Core Political Ideas – conservatism, liberalism, and socialism

 Component 2: UK Government

  • UK Government – the constitution, parliament, the Prime Minister and executive, and relationships between the branches
  • Optional Political Ideas – either anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism or nationalism.

Component 3: Comparative Politics

  • USA – the US Constitution and federalism, US congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court, democracy and participation and civil rights.

Activities and Trips

If possible, a trip to the House of Commons in Year 12.

Courses References

UK Politics

  • Heywood A – Essentials of UK Politics (Palgrave, 2017)
  • Jones B (editor) et al – Politics UK (Routledge, 2018)
  • Leach R, Coxall B and Robin L – British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

US Politics

  • Ashbee E – US Politics Today (Manchester University Press, 2019)
  • McKay D – American Politics and Society (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)
  • Peele G et al – Developments in American Politics 8 (Red Globe Press, 2018)

Other Information

What other subjects complement Politics?

This subject goes extremely well with History, English, Sociology, Economics or the Sciences.

What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

Taking the A Level in Politics will give you adaptable skills which will enable you to understand and assess ideas and arguments, and to construct and communicate clear answers to problems based on well-validated evidence.

You can progress to higher education courses such as a degree in Politics, International Politics/Relations and Political Science, as well as degrees in related subjects such as History, Geography, Economics and Social Policy.

You will also be able to progress to vocational qualifications such as BTEC Higher National Certificates/Diplomas in subjects such as Public Services, Business or Media (Journalism).

What careers could you pursue?

The study of politics can lead to a variety of careers within areas such as journalism and broadcasting, management, publishing, local government, public policy and policy research, interest groups, local government and the voluntary sector, as well as within politics itself.

To find out more, discuss with Mrs Hunt.