The objective is for pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of patterns of authority and power and, on a wider level, develop their capacity for critically analysing the actions of governments throughout the world, specifically examining the UK and US systems in depth.
- Grade 7/8 in related disciplines such as History, English, or Geography
- A passion and interest in politics, or a wider interest in pressure groups, international aid and related subjects
- A delight in the cut and thrust of debate
- A willingness to get involved in the department outside the curriculum
The events of the last few months in the US and UK underlines the point that A Level Politics is one of the most dynamic subject choices in the curriculum. Pupils, therefore, ‘live and breathe’ the subject through contemporary political events, and apply those events to the theoretical underpinnings that are the foundations of this subject.
Mr Dan Connolly
Head of Politics
About the Curriculum
AQA A Level Politics
Pupils are taught by two Social Science specialists who have also have expertise in Economics, History and Business Studies, reflecting the inter-disciplinary nature of Politics. Pupils have eight periods a week.
The course is split up into three units taught over two years and assessed by terminal written exams in the Upper Sixth.
Topic 1: Government and Politics of the UK
Including the strengths and weaknesses of the British Constitution; the Legislature; the Prime Minister and the Core Executive; the Judiciary; democracy and voting systems; civil rights; and how pressure groups attempt to achieve success.
Topic 2: Government and Politics of the US and Comparative Politics
The course follows a similar process as Topic 1 but examining areas of government in the US, drawing comparisons between the two systems and attempting to identify strengths and weaknesses inherent in both.
Topic 3: Political Ideas
Here, the pupils run with independent (but guided) research into key political ideas including: Socialism, Conservatism, Liberalism and Feminism.
The skills that will be tested in this subject are numerous but key is the ability to construct clear arguments and explanations leading to justifiable conclusions. In addition, successful pupils will be able to make comparisons between the US and UK, to comprehend and analyse political information, ranging from ideologies to voting data.
The Department encourages independent learning, at the same time recognising that, for many, this will be a new subject and requires careful reinforcement of the fundamental principles of each area.
For example, pupils are encouraged to speak up in class and engage with each other in meaningful and reasoned debate, they are encouraged to work together to present their research in class presentations and prepare independently for each lesson in advance.
After the first term in the Lower Sixth, pupils will have the opportunity to start a ‘mini-EPQ’ on each of the political ideas contained within Topic 3. With careful guidance and way-marked assessment, the pupils will have a chance to present their research to the rest of the class, and indeed beyond, in such areas as academic enrichment clubs, the Politics Society and debates.
As can be imagined the Department is extremely active outside of the set curriculum. The Politics Society welcomes a number of well-known speakers (most recently Martin Bell) and has conducted three Lancing General Elections since 2010; two Lancing referendums on voting reform and EU membership; hosted a major debate between MPs on the European Referendum; and often supplies the subject matter and speakers for the College’s debating society. Trips are also run to Parliament and the Supreme Court. The pupils are encouraged to run their own Politics Society and regularly find time for political films, socials and other events.
Since the Department was formed in 2008, 20 pupils have gone on to study Politics, International Relations, or related subjects in places ranging from St Andrews, Durham and Oxbridge.
Politics is a highly regarded academic A Level and warmly welcomed by all academic universities. It is also a subject that, like History, Geography and English, is seen as a “facilitating” subject that prepare pupils well for university and the world of work.
The ability to make judgements (both orally and on paper) based on the analysis of large amounts of evidence, to create and test hypotheses, to work collaboratively, to communicate clearly and with passion, are all key skills that our pupils readily assimilate over their two years of study.