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Est. 1921

Government and Politics

What is this course about?

In A-Level Government & Politics, you will learn about the political systems in the UK and USA, what powers are held by different bodies, organisations and individuals, and how people have a say in the government.

Key topics you will cover at AS include the ways that the government and the people communicate and evaluating how adequate our system of representative democracy and participation is; the role of the Prime Minister and how much power he holds as an individual; and developing a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions in the UK.

At A2, you will cover the American system, including the electoral system, the party system and the relationship between the Democrats and Republicans; the Constitution and analysing its effectiveness; and evaluating the role of the President and the capacity of recent Presidents to provide leadership.

In addition, you will also study core and non-core political ideas. Core political concepts include Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism. Students will also explore one Non-Core political concept from; Nationalism, Feminism, Ecologism, Anarchism or Multiculturalism

Studying Politics will help you understand how the political systems in the UK and USA work at local and national levels. By the end of the course you will have a strong understanding of the decision making process in both countries, and will be able to critically evaluate their effectiveness and how this impacts on current affairs.

Course Content

Year 1

Year 2

  • How people have a say in the government
  • Political parties
  • Elections
  • The media
  • Pressure groups
  • What is Parliament?
  • The Prime Minister & Cabinet
  • The role of the courts
  • How people have a say in the government
  • Why recent elections have had the outcomes they have
  • The party system
  • Democrats vs Republicans
  • Pressure groups
  • The role of the President
  • Congress
  • The Constitution
  • Comparative politics - how the US system compares to the UK system
  • Core & Non-Core Political concepts

Exam Structure

Paper 1: 2 hours, 33⅓% of the qualification

Content overview

1. Political Participation, students will study:

  • democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media.

2.  Core Political Ideas, students will study:

  • conservatism, liberalism, socialism.

Paper 2: 2 hours, 33⅓% of the qualification

Content overview

1. UK Government, students will study:

  • the constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the branches.

2. Non-core political ideas, students will study:

  • one idea from the following: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.

Paper 3: 2 hours, 33⅓% of the qualification

Content overview

For USA (3A), students will study:

  • the US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court and civil rights, democracy and participation, comparative theories.

What might this course lead on to?

Politics affects every aspect of your day to day lives. One of the main strengths of studying Government & Politics is that it will give you the knowledge and transferable skills to evaluate and understand some of the most important forces shaping the future of us all. You will develop an in-depth understanding of the world in which we live and be able to critically evaluate the policies and opinions of today’s key players in politics.

Government & Politics is well thought of by universities and a Politics A-level can lead to degrees in Politics or International Relations, as well as combined courses e.g. with History, English, Law or a language.

There are lots of options open to graduates, including journalism, law, the civil service, local government, business management and political research.

Entry Requirements

Grade 5 in English