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The aims and objectives of the Politics A Level are to enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of contemporary political structures and the surrounding issues in their historical context, both within the UK, the USA and globally.

By developing a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes pupils will come to an informed understanding of the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics. By combining the study of the structure of governments and political systems alongside political theories, pupils will become more informed of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups and their relationship within a political structure.

The transferable skills garnered from such a study will focus on developing the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements and an informed interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics in adult life.


Course Structure

There are three papers, each of two hours, sat at the end of the Upper Sixth. Paper One assesses UK Politics and the interaction between people and the political system. It addresses topics such as democracy and participation in the UK, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media. The core UK political ideas of conservatism, liberalism, socialism will also be studied in both a historical and philosophical context.

Paper Two assesses the structures of the UK Government, incorporating a detailed understanding of the UK constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, and relationships between the branches of government. In deliberate contrast this will be studied alongside the oppositional political ideas of anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationalism.

Paper Three is a comparative paper, assessing the US Constitution and federalism, US congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court, democracy and participation and civil rights, alongside theories of Global Politics, sovereignty & globalisation, global governance, political and economic, global governance and issues of human rights. Each paper requires pupils to respond in short-form essays to a choice of questions.


Requirements & Study Methods

Students of Politics learn how to write crisp, lucid and informative essays and how to handle ideas and factual content with precision and meaning. At A Level they begin to investigate the subject further for themselves, reading with interest and purpose, keeping abreast of current affairs and referring to historical examples. Above all, they learn to think clearly, broadly and creatively, contributing to lively discussion in lessons. Some fluency in writing, enthusiasm for reading and the courage to draw their own conclusions are an advantage. All these skills are encouraged by individually tailored support throughout the Sixth Form. The best students of Politics are also self-starters who do not always need to be told what to do. Those who want to understand why current affairs are the way they are will gain the most from this subject.


After A Level

Students of Politics have a reputation for transferable skills in their detailed knowledge and penetrating analysis, ensuring that they have a route not only into law, politics, journalism and the Foreign Office but also into business and industry. The best universities recognise the value of this training, which is why Politics at A Level has become a respected qualification at university entrance.

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