Government and Political Studies

Examination Board:  Edexcel

Course Outline

Political studies

Politics is a dynamic subject. The emphasis of this course is a study of contemporary politics of the UK and USA. 

Previous study of GCSE History is not necessary required but students should have at least an A grade in a Humanities subject or English to demonstrate competence in written argument. Students must be willing to keep up-to-date with current affairs by reading widely and listening to the news on the television, radio and new media.

AS

Unit 1   People and Politics

Topics: Political concepts, political parties, pressure groups and electoral systems. For example, we consider why membership of political parties is falling but membership of pressure groups increasing. Why is it that some pressure groups are more successful than others? The nature of electoral systems is also studied and the advantages and disadvantages of majority and proportional systems are debated.

Unit 2   Governing the UK

The ‘nuts and bolts’ of the British system: how the UK is governed and who has power within the British system. We examine the nature of the British Constitution and the role of the judiciary and assess its ability to safeguard civil liberties.

A2

Unit 3 Representative Processes in the USA

This topic looks at the representative processes of the US political system and considers their adequacy in terms of popular participation and full democracy.

Unit 4 Governing the USA

This topic examines the institutional framework of US government and considers the interrelationships between its legislative, executive and judicial processes and the health of US federalism.

Scheme of Assessment

UNIT

TITLE

ASSESSMENT

1

People and Politics

Exam: 1hr 20 mins

2

Governing the UK

Exam: 1hr 20 mins

3

Representative Processes in the USA

Exam: 1hr 30 mins

4

Governing the USA

Exam: 1hr 30 mins

Visits

Political studies visits

Visits to Parliament at Westminster are arranged which help to bring the subject alive for students. In recent years the department has also been involved in a Student Parliament at Westminster. Students also regularly participate in a Model United Nations conference for schools.

Careers

You do not have to want to be a politician to study Politics at AS/A2 level. The study of politics will allow you to develop skills and assimilate knowledge that will be useful throughout your life, whatever career path you choose.

The course provides the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge of current affairs and encourages students to construct logical coherent arguments based on reasoned evaluation and analysis. These skills are particularly useful at University regardless of the subject studied.