KS5 GCE Politics

What will I learn?

You will learn about the way the political parties and systems of Britain developed over time and how they are meant to function even if they do not always do so in ways that voters expect. You will also become familiar with the different types of power and conflict and how groups fight to be the most dominant. As well as being able to explore these ideas through domestic, British politics, you will also learn about how global politics works and the actors that influence the world’s peace, wealth and security.

Following recent changes to the A-Level, Politics has been restructured to take into account the ever changing nature of both domestic politics and international relations. There are three exam units covered by the new Edexcel Politics specification. Two of the three units focus on Britain and domestic politics while the third focuses on global politics.

Unit 1 – UK Politics

The first examined unit is worth 33.3% of the overall A-Level grade and focuses specifically on politics within the UK. With this unit students will be introduced to political participation in the UK by studying how democracy has been put into practice and what affects participation. Students will also learn about political parties, the various electoral systems we use in the UK, voting behaviour and the media. Alongside this, the unit contains the core political ideologies of conservatism, socialism and liberalism and how they have and continue to influence politics in the UK. The exam will take place at the end of the second year and is two hours long.

Unit 2 – UK Government

For the second of the three examined units, students will begin to see how the political parties and ideologies they have learned about have been applied in the United Kingdom. As part of this students will study the UK constitution and its origins and makeup as well as both the House of Commons and House of Lords and the offices within parliament, the role of the Prime Minister and the executive and the relationships between the different branches of government. We will also study feminism as a political idea and look at how it has been treated politically historically and contemporaneously. As with the previous unit, this one is worth 33.3% of the overall A-Level grade and is assessed through a two hour written examination at the end of the second year.

Unit 3 – Global Politics

For the third and final exam unit, students will focus on global politics and comparative theories. This unit, which like the other two, is worth 33.3% of the overall grade, covers a variety of global political issues. We begin with the idea of sovereignty and look at how it has been impacted by globalization before moving on to global governance. For global governance we focus on the political and economic sphere, human rights and environmental sphere, power and developments, regionalism and the European Union. Finally, as part of this unit, we focus on comparative theories wherein we can look at the UK political and governance systems and compare them to those of other countries and regions in the world. The exam for this unit is also two hours but is structured differently in that there are two shorter-answer essays and one longer essay.

How will I be assessed?

There are three exams in Politics and each is worth the same third of your overall grade. The formal exams will be in the summer of your second year.

Throughout your two years of study there will be low-stakes knowledge tests, checking your understanding, combined with shorter exam question tasks, longer exam essay questions and mock exams to ensure you are on track to the grade you are targeting.

What are the entry requirements?

Level 3 Entry requirements

What are the costs?

You are asked to purchase your own copy of the main class textbook, which can be bought online. The book is available from Amazon and can be found here.

It is also recommended that you purchase a revision guide, these can be bought through the department or through Reception.

If you have a Sixth Form bursary and would like help acquiring the texts please speak to Mrs Vaughan.

Is there anything else I need to know?

In order to truly be successful with A Level Politics you need to keep up with current events; this can be done by watching news on TV or through social media (it is recommended that you get your information from a variety of news sources as many are politically bias) or through listening to podcasts or reading the news online. It is important that you can include contemporary events in your exam answers as it shows you are able to apply your theoretical knowledge to real world issues.

Future Opportunities?

As an A Level subject, Politics is not just limited to those who want to study politics or international relations at university. There are many students who find studying politics opens their eyes to the world around them and that the critical analysis and evaluation skills they learn while studying Politics are useful for the world of work or apprenticeships. Students who do go on to study at university achieve diverse degrees in subjects like politics, international relations, law, history, philosophy, economics, PPE (philosophy, politics and economics combined), public services and social work.

Useful links

Political Studies Association – report on why graduates of humanities (including politics) are highly sought after in different industries.

What can I do with a politics degree?

Who should I contact for additional information?

Course contact: Mrs Ree Ann Vaughan – Head of History and Politics, ELS Relationships Coordinator: reeann.vaughan@biddenham.beds.sch.uk