Government and Politics

The aims of the Government and Politics course are to encourage students to:

  • Develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes
  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of the structures of authority and power within the political system of the United Kingdom, and how these may differ from those of other political systems
  • Acquire knowledge and informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the individual and encourage an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics

AS Level

At AS Level, students study the following topics:

Unit 1 - People and Politics in the UK

  • Democracy and political participation
  • Party policies and ideas
  • Elections
  • Pressure groups

This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people and encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation.

Unit 2 - Governing the UK

  • The Constitution
  • Parliament
  • The Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Judges and civil liberties

This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions and the relationship amongst them in the context of multilevel governance.

A Level

There are two units at A Level:

Unit 3 - Topic C: Representative Processes in the USA

Topics covered: elections and voting, political parties, pressure groups, racial and ethnic politics

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 - Topic C: Governing the USA

Topics covered: the Constitution, Congress, Presidency, Supreme Court

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.

Students need to have a real interest in up to date affairs in British and American politics, and need to read a good quality newspaper, watch the news and look at different types of media, on a daily or weekly basis, to have new information at their fingertips.