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.
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 US politics
- .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.
We know from all those who internally, and externally, review the work of our school that our students are cheerful, creative, conscientious and confident. Employers regularly tell us that our students are professional and act with honesty and integrity. Our school has been very successful with numerous external accreditations, for the community and the individuals within it, over many decades. Our staff and students very much feel part of our Mercy community.
Our Politics A Level curriculum helps our students to develop the detailed knowledge and skills required to progress to the next stage of education, employment or training. Our teaching and learning programmes support our students to know, understand and remember more knowledge about the British and American Political systems and the core ideologies of Socialism, Liberalism and Conservatism. In addition, they develop their knowledge of the key ideology of Feminism. This allows them to achieve subject fluency, enabling them to grow and develop as Politics students. Politics allows pupils to develop knowledge of different cultures and values, reflecting on the similarities and differences with their own lives. They are able to understand the growth and importance of both human and civil rights. They develop critical analysis and evaluation of a wide range of Political sources and other people’s viewpoints. They learn key communicative skills in both oral debate and written essays. Their essay skills continue to develop throughout the course with regular support and feedback. Exemplar materials from the exam board are used to hone their skills. Politics students are encouraged to develop their own opinions on topics; using evidence to defend their positions whilst being open minded enough to consider other evidence that might change their opinions. These transferable skills enable students to prepare themselves proficiently for their next phase of learning and work.
Staff in the Politics department support subject specific literacy and numeracy for all our students to help them succeed in their studies and they aim to develop holistically the gifts and talents of each individual within a caring, compassionate, charitable and challenging Christian environment.
Our impactful Politics curriculum develops students with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to have a positive impact within family, friendship groups, school, university, the workplace and the wider community. Our wide-ranging and broad-based curriculum offer, and varied extended curricular opportunities, within Politics provide an opportunity for everyone. We provide opportunities to discuss ideas with academic lecturers from Russell Group universities. We also visit London as part of their studies where they are able to tour Parliament, attend debates, have the opportunity to question politicians and visit the Supreme Court. They also observe a court case in the Central Criminal Court. The students also have the opportunity to participate in local and general elections by carrying ballot boxes or counting votes. Many students have been able to have work experience placement with local MPs.
We know that our students are reliable, responsible, resilient and radical individuals who are ready to use their talents positively wherever life may take them. Generations of students have chosen St. Anthony’s over the decades and centuries. We are extremely proud of our alumni, many of whom are regular contributors to our school community as it continues to grow and develop. Many families have fourth or fifth generation connection to our school and many staff have given decades of service, such is the impact of being part of this school community.
Everyone in our community is aware of what it means to be an Antonian: to pursue excellence, to build community, to show concern for those who may be disadvantaged and to particularly support the education of women and girls. We have definitely had an impact within this “city by the sea”, and well beyond it, since we were founded in 1904. We are confident that our distinctive ethos will continue to have a big impact as it is carried forward by future generations of Antonians.