Government and Politics

Why study Government and Politics A – Level?

  • Learn about the movements that are transforming the world around us, and discover the committees and parties who hold control.
  • Discover the importance of election, the limits that constrict Parliament and the prime minister.
  • Learn about key ideologies that shape political movements and parties.
  • Learn about alternative ideologies such as Feminism and Ecologism.

What skills are you going to acquire?

  • Develop critical thinking skills and the ability to interpret, evaluate and comment
  • 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
  • Develop an interest in and engagement with contemporary politics

Government and Politics at St Michael’s
The Politics Department teaches the Edexcel examining board syllabus in Government and Politics. The AS course gives a good grounding in the fundamentals of British Politics. The AS course consists of two modules. Unit 1 is titled ‘People and Politics’ and is a study of Democracy and Participation; Political Parties and Ideas; Elections and Pressure Groups. Unit 2 is a called ‘Governing the UK’. Topic areas covered in this unit include a study of the UK Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the judges and civil liberties. Unit 1 is examined in the January and Unit 2 in the summer of Year 12. Both examinations are 1hour 20 minutes long and there is no coursework.

If students wish to proceed to A2 level, they will again study two modules where the concept of synopticity comes into play. Unit 3 is a study of four important ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Anarchism. The synoptic element involves identifying the conflict between and inside ideologies. Unit 4 is a study of alternative ideologies of Feminism, Nationalism, Ecologism and multiculturalism. Synopticity also is assessed in this unit. Candidates are requested to identify conflicts within the ideologies and recognise criticisms.

Expectations

Expectations are high.  Each student is expected to meet or exceed her/his own individual grade potential.  This is indicated from data based on GCSE grades and an aptitude test conducted around September.  This is called the ALIS grade. 

No prior knowledge of politics is expected.  That said, a genuine interest in the conduct and outcome of elections and the nature of the political process in Britain is vital.   A willingness to read a quality newspaper each day, subscribe to a periodical, like the Economist and watch the news daily are essential practices for success in Politics AS and A2 Level.

Full attendance at lessons, punctuality and the ability to meet deadlines are required qualities.  In lessons the willingness to enter into a discussion and share your own knowledge and opinions is expected. 
Students are required to pass AS level Politics at Grade C or better in order to proceed to A2 level study.

Working Practices

Political Diary

Students are required to keep a Political Diary.  This will contain daily entries relating to the contemporary political world.  Entries may be headed, ‘Leadership Election’, ‘Queens Speech and Government Policy’, ‘Election Result in the Scottish Parliament’ or ‘Northern Irish Executive Re-established’ and so on.  The entry may be short, a paragraph or so depending on how it relates to the syllabus content.  The idea of the Diary is twofold.  One it is a opportunity for you to nourish your genuine interest in politics, remember that is an absolute prerequisite for studying this AS Level and secondly it will build up a dossier of material of a very current nature which you can use to illustrate your written answers with.  This means that your grasp of politics will have an application to the issues that is up to date, a quality that is highly regarded by the examiners.

Written Work

Written work will consist of reading and writing.  Reading will relate to articles in newspapers, political periodicals and your set text.  Written answers will consist of data response, short answers which focus on comprehension of a topic and essays which require a developed understanding of topics and an ability to offer a range of analytical points. 

Course Material

Students are required to buy ‘Success in Politics’ by Neil McNaughton.  This course book covers the whole syllabus.  Additional titles will be made available in the school library.  A list of websites are included for research relating to different parts of the syllabus. 

Extra Curricular

The Politics Philosophy and Economics Society is a learning community which is made by students and teachers of St. Michael's and it is managed by an elected body of students. The Society organises and facilitates many debates, lectures and workshops around the topics of economics, politics and philosophy. Click the "News" to find more about its functions. The students of the Society publish an annual journal the "Telos"  with articles written by students on topics of current affairs, politics and economics. First issue of "Telos" is available online now.

G. Panayiotou

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Teachers

Mr. G. Panayiotou
Head of Politics and Economics
Mr. B. Roberts
Head of Sixth Form and Assistant Head Teacher

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