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Politics

A Level Politics

What is it about at sixth form level?

In the General Election of 2015, the SNP won just under 1.5 million votes and won 56 seats. The Liberal Democrats obtained nearly 2.5 million seats and won eight seats. UKIP won close to 4 million votes and a single seat. Many hold this result up as a sign of the bankruptcy of the 鈥榦ld system鈥, one in which power would swing between two parties. Issue-based politics and the rise of nationalism mean that people are identifying with newer parties or not with any one party at all. At the same time, one in three eligible voters didn鈥檛 vote. What does this say about politics and the health of our democracy in Britain in the 21st century?

By studying Politics at A level, you will become equipped to address questions like these with the care that they deserve. Politics is an academically rigorous subject in which you will learn both political concepts and the structure of the British political system. You will look at a range of political ideologies and political issues that are of global concern. The course will leave you with a clear understanding of the importance of politics in a time when political apathy is on the rise.

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Lower sixth
Upper sixth

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Whilst not a prerequisite, an A level in Politics is excellent preparation for pursuing the subject at degree level. It fits well with other humanities subjects, especially PPE, English, and Politics and International Relations. It develops your analytical and critical skills and will teach you how to write essays in which you explain and assess complex ideas through constructing clear and precise arguments. It will enhance your knowledge of the world around you and give you a deeper understanding of what it is to be a citizen.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You should have a strong interest in current affairs. The course involves a lot of reading and writing, so you should have good communication skills. All students are expected to read widely, including a daily newspaper as well as periodicals such as The Politics Review and the New Statesman.

How is the course assessed?

A level

The A level is assessed by three examinations on the three units. Each paper is lasts two hours and is worth 33% of the A level.

Reading

Essentials of UK Politics and Government
By A. Heywood et al, 2021
Published by Red Globe Press, ISBN 978-1352012309

Political Ideologies
By A. Heywood
Published by Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0230367258

Global Politics
By Robert Murphy and John Jefferies
Published by Hodder Education, 2022, ISBN-13 978-11398345065

Exam Board and Specification Codes

Pearson-Edexcel 9PL0

John Cameron
Head of Department

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