Politics involves studying the science of government and the practice of conducting political affairs. Since political structures and processes have a profound effect on people’s lives, they are well worth studying, and fit well with any other A level subject. We study British Politics in the first year and American Politics in the second year.
We are currently straddling the old, modular (AS/A2) examination (with the current second year Sixth Form studying American Politics at A2 for examination in the summer of 2018) and the new linear 'terminal exam' being followed by the current first year Sixth Form – a two year course with the exam in the summer of 2019.
The new A level sees the first two terms of a six term course devoted to British Politics, the third and fourth terms devoted to a comparative study of American Politics and the fifth term covering the new topic of Political Ideas (Conservatism, Socialism, Liberalism and one other - probably Anarchism). The sixth term will focus on revision and the exam.
The course was initially developed under the aegis of the History Department but has now become a separate Department of Government and Politics. Politics A Level fits particularly well with History but also subjects such as Economics and Psychology, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Ethics. It can be taken as a one year AS Level contrasting with other A Levels (e.g. for a student studying three sciences) as well as the full two year course. It is expected that students will be taken on a visit to the House of Commons and Lords as part of the course and they will of course be encouraged to take an interest in contemporary political debate/current affairs. External speakers, especially MPs, Peers and journalists are invited in when relevant; it would be surprising if students did not regularly read a newspaper.
Examining Board: AQA
Head of Department: Jonathan Selby