A Level Government and Politics

Course Content

Unit 1 - People and politics of the UK

Students study; democracy and electoral systems, participation and voting behaviour, and pressure groups.  Parliament, Prime Minister and Core Executive, Constitution and Judiciary.

Questions that will be covered include: Why are some people so passionate about politics and others choose not to vote? Did the Conservative Party win the last election or did the Labour Party lose it? Do backbench MPs make any difference? Are rights properly protected in the UK?

Unit 2 - Government and Politics of the USA and Comparative Politics

Students will learn how American elections operate, voting behaviour of the American public, pressure groups and political parties as well as the main institutions of US Government, the Presidency (including cabinet and EXOP), Congress, Supreme Court and the Constitution. They also compare and contrast the main institutions of government in the USA and UK.

Questions that will be covered will include: Why is there so much money spent on American elections? Why are pressure groups such as the National Rifle Association so powerful?  Is the presidency imperial or imperilled?

Unit 3 - Political Ideologies

The unit covers three core political ideologies: socialism, liberalism and conservatism as well as an elective ideology of multiculturalism.  

Debates in this topic will include:  is liberalism the tyranny of freedom?  Was Thatcherism a rejection of conservative principles? Do modern socialists still seek to reject capitalism or merely mitigate it?

How will students be assessed?

Three exams of two hours; each contributing 33% of the final grade. Each exam will have two essay questions and one short-answer section.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

In Year 12 students visit the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

In Year 13 students will have the opportunity to visit the USA. There will be the opportunity to compete in the prestigious Institute of Ideas debating matters competition.