Government and Politics

 An A Level in politics will prepare students for many forms of employment as well as further study. Students studying A Level Government & Politics will gain many analytical and practical skills including the ability to conduct research, oral and written communication and IT, all of which are invaluable in today’s employment market. Politics is a challenging and exciting subject. It is offered by many universities and each has its own areas of specialism. 

Course content

Studying Britain now is probably more exciting than it has ever been. British politics has changed with widespread constitutional reforms having changed the political map. The establishment of Parliaments in Scotland and the Assemblies in Wales, Northern Ireland and London mean that power is shifting. It could be argued that the UK is entering its most politically charged era for over 50 years. Teresa May’s decision to hold a snap 2017 election, the Brexit negotiations, the Scottish independence movement and the rise of Corbynism means that studying politics today will give you a better understanding of the origins, meaning and impact of these events. For most of the first year, students will study British politics:

  • Democracy and participation
  • Political parties
  • Electoral systems
  • Voting behaviour
  • The Constitution
  • Parliaments
  • Prime Minister and Executive
  • The relationship between the different branches of the government.

Towards the end of the first year you students will start studying American politics. In American politics, we watched in amazement as Donald Trump took office in the White House, becoming the 45th President of the United States. With no previous official political experience, it was considered at first, inconceivable for this businessmen and television personality to ever be elected in to office by the American people. However, politics is anything but predictable! In American politics, students will cover:

  • The Constitution
  • Elections and voting
  • Referendum and recall elections
  • Political parties
  • Congress
  • The Presidency
  • The Supreme Court.

New topics will also include one of either: feminism, nationalism, multiculturalism, ecologism or anarchism. Students will study in depth UK and US government and politics. Students will be required to identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of politics. Although the lessons will predominantly consist of teacher-led presentations, there is plenty of scope for student-led case studies on the main topic areas. Traditional text books are supplemented by topic books and larger works on the major areas of the syllabus. Perhaps most useful, because they are more up to date, are specialist articles. It is also a course requirement to keep abreast of current affairs through reading quality newspapers and watching current affairs programmes. The internet is especially useful for accessing American current affairs.

To make the course a living subject, students should follow current affairs on a daily basis. BBC Online is a good source, together with broadsheet papers, political magazines such as The Politics Review, and Twitter to follow local MP and political commentators such as Nick Robinson. 

Assessment

The exams will consist of a mixture of medium length ‘explain’ and essay style questions. It will be a written exam assessed:
Paper 1: Government and politics UK
Paper 2: The government and politics of the USA and comparative politics. 
The assessment will be two hours each exam, and will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:
A01: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues. 
A02: Analyse aspects of politics and political information, including in relation to parallels, connections, similarities and differences.
A03: Evaluate aspects of politics and political information, including to construct arguments make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions.

Course requirements

You will not have studied Politics at GCSE. However, if you have acquired good GCSE grades including at least grade 6 in English then you should be able to access this A Level course. Studying is a cumulative process. 

For full course specifications visit: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/law/as-and-a-level

 

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