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Government and Politics

Government and politics - A level

Politics is both fascinating and still a living and breathing subject that is still happening and changing every day. Without knowledge of how our society is organised and how it has changed, we can't truly understand who we are or where we are going.

The subject is rewarding and challenging in its own right, as well as preparing students for their future in a number of ways. By following a course in politics, students can rest assured that the transferable skills developed n the subject are in high demand. Skills include understanding how the political system operates, communication, political theory, and international study - just to name a few.

A level politics is not just learning about the way the political systems have worked in the past, it is learning about how the future continues to be, and can and should be shaped.

What has been happening in the department recently?

In recent years, students from Bedlington Academy have taken part in the Local Democracy Conference at County Hall, Morpeth, as well as joining a working group looking at youth issues in the area led by local MP, Ian Lavery.

What will I learn?

Studying politics at AS/A Level provides students with an opportunity to study the very real world of modern day politics, while further developing skills and understanding in a friendly and challenging environment.

Students will study British politics: how and why people vote and participate in alternative ways, different electoral systems and the history, development and practices of British political parties, and ‘How Britain is Governed’: our constitution and the judiciary, Parliament and its workings, the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Civil Service as well as other layers of UK government.

In Year 13 the American equivalents - the Constitution, President, Congress and Supreme Court - of these individuals, processes and institutions are studied.

Politics at AS level offers students a chance to study lively and attractive material, while also offering guidance on the key terms, events and issues. Thought provoking activities, questioning and political activities (including a visit to Parliament in London) are used in a way that is designed to advance students’ understanding, inspire both critical and independent thinking, share ideas with others and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their full potential.

Government and politics is a challenging and fascinating course which provides students with an excellent grounding for higher education.

What skills do I need?

  • Ability to evaluate writings and opinions on key political figures, institutions and processes - how far can you trust them? How useful are they?
  • Ability to express your own opinions.
  • An ability to write extended answers with carefully crafted, researched and supported arguments.

How is the course graded?

  • You will do two exams as part of the AS course, both 1 hour 30 minutes long.
  • As part of the A level course you would sit two similar examinations covering US politics.
Politics is not just about politicians. It's about ideas, about the environment, world trade, globalisation, human rights and military action.
Year 12 student

Course outline

Outline of the course

 

Students must study:

Political ideas, and the government and politics of more than one country …

  • Paper 1: Government and politics of the UK (Participation and Voting Behaviour; Electoral Systems; Political Parties; pressure groups; The nature and sources of the British constitution; The judiciary; Parliament; Prime Minister, Cabinet and Executive; Devolution; the European Union)
  • Paper 2: Government and politics of the USA and comparative politics (The US Constitution; the US Congress; the Presidency; the judicial branch - the US Supreme Court; the Electoral Process and Direct Democracy; Political Parties; Pressure groups; Civil Rights; Comparative Politics UK and USA).
  • Paper 3: Political ideas  (Core Ideologies: Liberalism; Conservatism; Socialism, Other Ideologies: Nationalism; Feminism; Multicultualism; Anarchism; Ecologism).

Requirements

 

Good GCSE results, preferably including GCSE history or other humanities GCSE at Grade 5 or above. If students have not studied humanities at GCSE we would expect a grade of 6 or above in English language GCSE.

Potential career paths and further study

Studying politics can open up a wide range of job opportunities in both the public, private, and not-for-profit private sectors. Students interested in careers in business, education, law, journalism, communications, government, or politics more generally will obtain vital knowledge and skills.

Politics is about the here and now - you will gain an understanding of how our country functions.
Year 13 student