For first teaching September 2017, the composition of Politics A-level will be changing, and the full details are unavailable at time of writing. The following serves to offer an outline of the proposed major elements of the course.
Politics in its broadest sense is the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live. The study of Politics at A level is a social science in which the UK political system and the major political ideologies are studied. There will also be a focus on either American Politics or Global Politics. This subject aims to encourage an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of Government and Politics and will enable students to develop insight into political beliefs central to an understanding of the modern world.
There is no specific entry requirement to study Politics, but extended writing obviously requires a good grasp of English. Curiosity about the world around you and a willingness to keep up with current affairs is essential to appreciate the contemporary nature of this subject. Students will visit the Houses of Parliament during the AS year.
The emphasis is on contemporary politics and current areas of constitutional concern, putting the UK in the context of the EU and the wider world. There is plenty of opportunity to engage in contemporary political debates. Students look at the nature and history of political activity and institutions, where power is to be found, as well as critically evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the features of our system as well as the differences between theory and practice in British democracy.
The A2 course allows more specialization requiring greater skills of analysis and evaluation. Students will be introduced to Political Ideologies, including the core ideas of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. The development and core values of these ideologies are studied as well as their relationship to practical politics in the UK. Further scrutiny of politics in the USA or in a global setting will also be studied.
The course will follow the revised Edexcel Specification. There is no coursework element. A variety of modes of assessment will be used throughout, including short answer questions, stimulus response, extended writing and essays.
Our lives are shaped by political decision whether it relates to education, healthcare, job opportunities, housing, taxation and so on. Studying Politics will develop your understanding of the society in which you live. It is a subject full of drama; you will study the rise and fall of leaders, parties and the power play between nations. You will also examine the ideas of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Studying Politics in the Sixth Form provides the perfect opportunity to branch out into this challenging and exciting new area of study. Students are expected to attend the weekly Politics Forum to develop their listening and debating skills.
Many of our students go on to study Politics or related courses at university. Degrees can be taken alongside international relations or as a joint degree with for example history, philosophy or economics. Former students have enjoyed work experience in Westminster and Washington as part of their course. If you have good language skills there is a wealth of opportunity to work abroad working for a lobby group, or as a researcher, or for a politician.
Politics may be appeal because it is a new subject: it is not an easy option but it is an exciting one and with commitment and enthusiasm who knows where it might lead!