Government and Politics
What is Government and Politics?
Government and Politics focuses on how we manage disagreements in society – national and global. In other words, it concentrates on analysis of current affairs, Parliament and other institutions, and generally the events and issues that affect our day to day lives. A knowledge of such things helps us to answer questions that are both directly relevant to us – for example, why are we allowed to drive at 17 but not vote until we get to 18? – and more general in nature – why are British soldiers deployed in overseas conflicts?
Politics is often regarded as an integrated subject, which draws upon materials and ideas from Economics, History, Sociology, Law, Business Studies and Communication Studies. In reality, however, Politics is more than this - it is the study of decision-making, both inside and outside Government institutions.
Over the next two years, you will examine a range of subjects as you work to broaden your understanding of Government and Politics – for example:
- Political Parties
- The UK Constitution
- Pressure Groups
- The roles of Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet
- Key Political Ideologies – some old (Liberalism) and some new (Ecologism)
The skill areas that you will be expected to develop essentially revolve around research and report writing. These are important as they are valued both by Higher Education and the world of work. Research will involve focused background reading and careful thinking about the issues that you uncover. Report writing – or essays – develop analytical and communication skills and prepare you for your final exams. You will also be provided with numerous opportunities to discuss data-response questions.
Is Government and Politics suitable for me?
The best way to answer this is to consider how current and previous students have responded to the course:
- They have enjoyed visiting speakers and debates in this subject as they felt these two areas particularly reinforced their understanding of the subject. Visiting speakers have included high profile politicians such as Baroness Sharpe and Damien Hinds.
- They have enjoyed working on a Mock Parliament debate and attending Politics Conferences where guest speakers have been well-known MPs.
- They have found writing essays and the reading hard work and also have singled out the fact that the subject is all exam based as an issue.
How will I learn?
Lessons will involve a variety of tasks, individual research, debates, note-taking, videos and use of related websites. Students will sometimes do individual work and sometimes small group work to prepare presentations on relevant areas. The amount of homework will vary, but usually students should aim to do 4 to 5 hours of private study, plus set aside time for relevant television programmes like “Question Time” and build up a media file of relevant articles from broadsheet newspapers.
How will I be assessed?
Coursework: Year 1 - 0%; Year 2 - 0%.
Year 1: AS Level
You will be examined in units 1 and 2 from a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 20 minutes each.
Year 2: A Level
Units 3 and 4 will also be examined externally using a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 30 minutes each.
Politics will give you a deeper understanding of the institutions that affect our daily lives and the people who work in them. This will develop your analytical skills, both in oral and written communication. For this reason Politics is a respected A Level subject that is useful in both employment and Higher Education.
Chris came from TPS, and completed A Levels in Politics, English and History. After his gap year he went on to study Politics and Philosophy. Chris was President of the SU whilst in his second year. Katie (Perins) studied Politics A Level and went to Swansea to study International Relations. Sam (Eggars) studied politics and is now at Aberystwyth studying Politics and Law.
Students studying toward an A level programme should normally have achieved a GCSE grade profile of A-C. For GCSE Maths and English where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively, students with an A-C grade profile may take a full BTEC/Cambridge Technical programme or mixed A level and BTEC/Cambridge Technical programme. You will be able to discuss course ideas and preferences during your College Guidance Interview. Final decisions will be made when you enrol after your GCSE results.
Please note some courses will have specific GCSE entry requirements. Further details will be available at Open Evenings.
The most important qualification for success is enthusiasm for, and interest in, the subject. You must have an open mind and enjoy the challenge of exploring new ideas and ways of working. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
An interest in political issues is the most important requirement for this course, but good writing and research skills are also essential. A - C grade in GCSE English is desirable.
All students will be expected to provide a standard textbook and/or relevant materials. All students will be expected to provide their own stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate). Any further costs are outlined below:
Essential: £30 for textbooks
Optional: £35 for magazine subscriptions, materials and trips which are optional but very relevant to the course.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.