One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Charles de Gaulle
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama
A level Politics at St. Anthony’s and St. Aidan’s Sixth Form is relevant to our students in many ways. The course provides an opportunity for students to learn about the origins and development of democracy and representation. They will understand the ways in which people can contribute to and participate in politics to become active citizens.
Students develop knowledge and understanding of the role of elections, political parties, parliament, the prime minster and judiciary in the UK and US. They develop an understanding of the way citizens can influence decision-making and the role that institutions play in society.
The A Level curriculum guides students through an understanding of the workings of the UK political system alongside an understanding of representation through elections and pressure groups. Students then move onto a comparative study of the US. They also explore the role of political ideologies: conservatism, liberalism, socialism and feminism and analyse how these have influenced our political system and their own thinking often challenging preconceived ideas.
Students develop skills of research and debate and learn to evaluate arguments critically. They will learn to express their arguments and evidence fluently in their essay writing. During lessons, they develop skills of public speaking and active listening.
A level Politics is challenging and students are expected to read widely and keep up to date with national and international events and current Political debates.
It requires high levels of comprehension and an ability to write effectively to meet the demands of the assessment objectives by demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of political institutions, theories and concepts. It also requires developed skills in analysis and evaluation to meet the highest levels in source based and essay questions.
What distinguishes A level Politics from many other A levels is the synoptic element of the course. This requires students to work across different parts of a qualification and to show their accumulated knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject area.
Politics is a subject that requires students to carry out research and reading regularly and therefore contributes greatly to develop independent learning skills. It also teaches transferable skills such as analysis and evaluation of evidence, inference, critical thinking skills, written and oral communication (including the development and expression of arguments). It often leads to students studying a variety of Arts, Humanities or Law based courses at university and it often paired with History, Economics, Geography, Law or Sociology.
Politics is also directly relevant to student’s daily lives and the wider world around them. The course aims to stimulate a lifelong interest in Politics. It enables them to appreciate the structure of our political system, their role within it and their responsibilities as citizens.
We aim to develop students who can:
- develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context, both within the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA
- develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes
- develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the influences and interests, which have an impact on decisions in government and politics
- develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups
- develop the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements
- develop an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.
Why study Politics?
Some students who choose to study Politics at A Level do so because they wish to study the subject at degree level. Many do so, however simply because they are interested in current affairs or they find that it combines well with other subjects such as History, Sociology or Law. This course continues to be well respected by all universities.
Students will follow the Edexcel syllabus, which is both British and US Politics and includes the Feminism option.
Links with GCSE
The subject will be a new one at A Level but it does link well with History as many of the skills developed for GCSE History, analysis, evaluation and the ability to form an argument, will be of great value in the study of Politics.
Students will also have the opportunity to visit London during the course, where they will have a tour of Parliament, attend a debate in the House of Commons and observe proceedings during a court case at the Old Bailey.
We have also attended various day schools at local universities and participated in the European Youth Parliament debating competition.
There are four content areas:
1. The constitution
3. Prime Minister and executive
4. Relations between the branches.
There are four content areas in UK Politics:
1. Democracy and participation
2. Political parties
3. Electoral systems
4. Voting behaviour and the media.
There are three content areas in Core Political Ideas:
Non-Core Political Ideas
Government and Politics of the USA
- The US Constitution and federalism
- US Congress
- US presidency
- US Supreme Court and US civil rights
- US democracy and participation
- Comparative theories
Skills to be developed:
- Students must comprehend and interpret political information in relation to areas of UK politics and core political ideas.
- Students must fully understand, critically analyse and evaluate areas of UK politics and core political ideas.
- Students must identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between content studied, providing a basis for comparing the UK with the USA and appreciating the UK’s position in global politics.
- Students must construct and communicate arguments and explanations with relevance, clarity and coherence, and draw reasoned conclusions about UK politics and core political ideas.
- Students must comprehend and interpret political information in relation to areas of
- Students must fully understand, critically analyse, and evaluate areas of US politics.
Students must identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between content studied, providing a basis for comparing the UK with the US.
- Students must construct and communicate arguments and explanations with relevance, clarity and coherence and draw reasoned conclusions about US politics.
- Students must develop knowledge and understanding of key political concepts.
- Students must use appropriate vocabulary.
- Additional skills such as organisation, managing conflict, assertiveness, talking to the public and time management.