Head of Department
Five grades 4-9 (or equivalent)
Examination = 100%
We live in a time of radical change in politics. Whether or not you welcome those changes, such as the rise of progressive nationalism with the SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales, the rise of populist right-wing movements such as UKIP and the Brexit Party in the UK and Trump’s brand of Republicanism in the USA, they are a matter of fact and A-level politics is about studying those changes.
Similarly, the way the UK is governed has altered radically over the previous 20 years, with sweeping changes to our constitution including devolution to Scotland, Wales and Greater London, the creation of a UK Supreme Court and the much wider use of referendums in public affairs. This contrasts greatly with the US system, with a constitution written in 1787 and hardly amended since! You will study the workings of both governments as part of your course.
You will also study the big ideas behind politics. How have the underlying political ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism changed and developed? What contribution have ‘challenger’ ideologies, such as feminism made to the nature of political debate? The A-level Politics course is an exciting and challenge one. You will study a wide variety of different topics across a two-year course which reflects the modern and evolving political environment in the UK and the USA.
What skills will I develop?
Research and study skills, such as note-taking, reading for purpose, self-management and the capacity to work by yourself as well as with others.
Analytical skills and communicative skills, such as reasoning, critical thinking, synthesising large amounts of information and the ability to develop complex, well evidenced arguments both orally and in writing.
Critical evaluation and the capacity to make judgements on complex matters.
What topics will I study?
Component 1 – Examination: UK Politics (2 hours – 33%)
- Section A: Political Participation (democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media)
- Section B: Core political ideas (conservatism, liberalism, socialism)
Component 2 – Examination: UK Government (2 hours – 33%)
- Section A: UK Government (the constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the branches)
- Section B: Non-core political ideas (one from anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism)
Component 3 – Examination: Comparative Politics (2 hours – 33%)
- Option A: US Politics (US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court and civil rights, democracy and participation, comparative theories)
Where does the course lead?
Students can progress from this qualification to a wide variety of university courses, including politics, law, economics, philosophy, social policy, international studies and accountancy. The course develops analytical skills which are an ideal preparation for many careers, including those in the civil service, local government, management, finance, accountancy, the police, education and journalism.