|The course offers a foundation in political concepts and systems, closely related to current affairs. Beginning from scratch, we provide a comprehensive grounding in the UK constitution and political system, and a broad range of political philosophy. Students will learn how to analyse and interpret political events, and to evaluate them both in discussions and in written work.
Politics combines well with other A level subjects such as economics, history, geography, English and modern languages. Politics can be studied at degree level in many different combinations, including courses in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE - Oxford), Social and Political Studies (SPS – Cambridge), International Relations (UWA), Political Economy (LSE). As a subject it demands high levels of analytical skill and is therefore potentially attractive to employers. This is a subject that is growing in popularity and is offered in two option groups. There are two specialist teachers delivering the course.
There are two units of study in each of the two years of the full A level: unit 1: People and Politics and unit 2: Governing the UK. The A2 units are synoptic in nature and build on the knowledge and skills developed in the AS units. We pursue Topic C unit three, Introduction to Political Ideologies: Representative Processes in the USA and Unit 4: Governing the USA.
In the Lower Sixth students will learn about British government and politics. In the former they will learn about the British constitution, Parliament, the executive and the judiciary, whilst in the latter, they will be introduced to the concept of democracy, elections, political parties and pressure groups. It is vital that students develop a keen interest in current affairs as this is expected in the examinations in the summer.
In the Upper Sixth the students build on the prior learning and skills in the lower sixth to study two new units. Unit 3B, an introduction to the political ideologies of conservatism, liberalism, socialism and anarchism, exploring both their historical development and practical application, and in unit 4C, Governing the USA. This secos (second) A level unit offers the students the opportunity to study the how the USA’s constitution, judiciary, president and Congress work in modern America.
Politics is a text based, essay assessed subject, and these facts cannot be ignored. It is however, a subject rich in debate. The subject matter lends itself to a great variety of teaching and learning styles and activities. All students visit the Houses of Parliament in the Lower Sixth, meeting our local MP and staying overnight on the HMD (HMS) Belfast, and there are overseas trips planned; to Russia at Easter 2014 and the USA in 2015.
Further subject information can be found in the relevant school curriculum document on the Curriculum page.