Sixth Form: Government and Politics

Subject Overview

Politics exists because people disagree. They disagree about how they should live (Moral questions), about who should get what (Resource Questions), and about who should make decisions (Power questions). Students will be expected to understand how the British political system works, its origins and how it operates. In addition, we will examine some core ideas and philosophies such as conservatism, lliberalism, socialism and the founding principles of modern democracies.  In the second year of the course we focus on American politics.

Politics is the most basic and necessary of social activities.  Without orderly existence, society would degenerate into a civil war of each against all. Here is your opportunity to become an informed citizen.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry requirements.

Syllabus (Course Outline and Structure)

We will be following the Edexcel Government & Politics syllabus:

There are 3 papers to be taken in order to complete the A Level qualification:

Component 1: UK Politics

 Written examination: 2 hours

 33⅓ % of the qualification

 84 marks

Content overview

1. Political Participation - students will study:

  • democracy and participation
  • political parties,
  • electoral systems
  • voting behaviour
  • the media.

2. Core Political Ideas - students will study:

  • conservatism
  • liberalism
  • socialism.

 

 

 Assessment overview

 Section A: Political Participation

One 30 mark questions from a choice of two (each question is based on a quote) – students must complete one of these.

Plus one 30 mark question from a choice of two – students must complete one of these.

Section B: Core Political Ideas

One 24 mark question from a choice of two.

 

 

 

 

Component 2: UK Government

Written examination: 2 hours

33⅓ % of the qualification

84 marks

Content overview

1. UK Government - students will study:

  • the constitution
  • parliament
  • Prime Minister and executive
  • relationships between the branches.

2. Optional Political Ideas - students will study one idea from the following:  

  • anarchism
  • ecologism
  • feminism (tbc)
  • multiculturalism
  • nationalism 

Assessment overview

Section A: UK Government

One 30 mark questions from a choice of two (each question is based on a quote) – students must complete one of these.

Plus one 30 mark question from a choice of two – students must complete one of these.

Section B: Optional Political Ideas

One 24 mark question from a choice of two.

Component 3: Comparative Politics

Written examination: 2 hours

33⅓ % of the qualification

84 marks

Content overview

For USA, students will study:

  • the US Constitution and federalism
  • US congress
  • US presidency
  • US Supreme Court
  • democracy and participation
  • civil rights

Assessment overview for USA option (3A)

Section A

One 12 mark question from a choice of two, which assesses AO1 and AO2.

Section B

One compulsory 12 mark question based on a source, which assesses AO1 and AO2.

Section C

Two 30 mark questions from a choice of three, which assesses AO1, AO2 and AO3.

Activities and Trips

A trip to Paris in Year 13. If possible, a trip to the House of Commons in Year 12.

Complementary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities

Almost every student who has studied Politics has asked the question "Why isn't everyone in Year 12 studying Politics?"  Whatever pathway you choose, sciences, arts, or humanities, you cannot escape the fact that later in life you will have the right to vote and have a say in how your country is run - so do it from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance. This subject goes extremely well with History, English, Sociology, Economics or the Sciences.

Subject Resources

We strongly recommend that students subscribe to the "Politics Review" magazine - perfectly tailored to help A Level students maximise their grades (£12 pa). In addition, it is vital for students to have a good revision guide (£8), and an alternate textbook (£18).

Schemes of work

Past Papers

Courses References

  • Dunleavy P et al - Developments in British Politics 8 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)   Grant M - AS Level Government and Politics (Nelson Thornes, 2005)
  • Grant W - Pressure Groups and British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)
  • Hennessy P - The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution (Orion, 1996)
  • Heywood A - Essentials of UK Politics: An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
  • Heywood A - Key Concepts in Politics: An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)
  • Jones B (editor) et al - Politics UK, 6th Edition (Longman, 2006)
  • Jones B and Kavanagh D (editors) - British Politics Today, 6th Edition (Manchester University Press, 2003)
  • Kingdom J - Government and Politics in Britain, 3rd Edition (Polity Press, 2003)
  • Kingdom J - British Politics: A Global Perspective (Polity Press, 2008)
  • Leach R, Coxall B and Robin L - British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
  • McNaughton N - Success in AS Politics for Edexcel (Hodder Arnold, 2006)
  • Roberts D - British Politics in Focus (Causeway Press, 2004)
  • Stoker G - Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

US Politics

  • Ashbee E - American Society Today (Manchester University Press, 2002)
  • Ashbee E and Ashford N - US Politics Today, 2nd Edition (Manchester University Press, 2004)
  • Ashbee E - Representation in the USA (Resource Pack) (Hodder Arnold H&S, 2003)
  • Ashbee E - Governing the USA (Teacher Resource Pack) (Hodder Arnold H&S, 2003) Bennett A J - A2 US and Comparative Government and Politics (Philip Allan, 2005)
  • McKay D - American Politics and Society, 6th Edition (Blackwell, 2005)
  • McKeever R, Zvesper J and Maidment R - Politics USA, 2nd Edition (Longman, 2005)
  • Peele G et al - Developments in American Politics 5 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
  • Storey W - US Government and Politics (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

Multimedia links

Other Information

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

Taking the Edexcel Advanced GCE in Government and 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.   With a GCE in Government and Politics, you can progress to higher education courses such as honours degrees in politics, international politics/relations and political science as well as to 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).

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 Mr Kiddy. Also you can find further details on the Edexcel website.

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Image by Petr Kratochvil