A Level Government and Politics

The Department follows the new (from 2017) Edexcel specification for Government and Politics The course provides a comprehensive grounding in politics and political science debates through an examination of British and American politics and political ideologies.

Pupils examine various aspects of British government and politics; not only how the country is organised but also current political issues. Pupils visit parliament and the UK Supreme Court every year in order to see the key branches of government in action. Pupils also study American government and politics, with a focus on developing understanding of the institutions of US government and the issues affecting the US political process. They also study comparative politics, where key similarities and differences between the USA and UK are analysed. Finally, students study the core political ideologies of Conservatism, Socialism and Liberalism along with the key thinkers associated with these ideas. Nationalism is also is also studied as a non-core ideology.

The department is the only school in the UK that hosts ‘Congress to Campus’, where former members of Congress and academic experts speak on a range of key issues, including the role of the Supreme Court, the power of the President, electoral processes in the USA and the effectiveness of Congress. Highly successful joint history/politics trips to Washington DC took place in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The student-led politics society also organise additional speakers and help increase the profile of the department. Examination results have been consistently impressive in the last few years, with 32 per cent of A2 pupils achieving A*/A in summer 2019, with 91% achieving A*/B.

Course contents

The new Edexcel Politics A level course is comprised of three core areas:

  1. Government and politics of the UK
  2. Government and politics of the USA and comparative politics
  3. Political ideas

Government and Politics of the UK

Government of the UK:
  • The constitution
  • Parliament
  • Prime Minister and executive
  • Relationships between the branches
Politics of the UK:
  • Democracy and participation
  • Political parties
  • Electoral systems
  • Voting behaviour and the media

Government and politics of the USA and comparative politics

Government and politics of the USA
  • The US constitution and federalism
  • US Congress
  • US Presidency
  • US Supreme Court and US civil rights
  • US democracy and participation
  • Comparative theories
Comparative politics

Students will study the following three theoretical approaches to the study of comparative politics:

Political ideas

Students will study three core ideologies:

  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Socialism

Students will study one of the following non-core ideology:

  • Nationalism

Assessment

There are three two hour examinations

  • Duration: two hours
  • 84 marks for each paper
  • Questions are a mixture of evaluation-based 24 and 30 mark essay questions and short 12 mark UK-US comparative questions

Requirements to study A level Politics

A grade 9 in either IGCSE English or another humanities subject (History, Geography, or Religious Studies for example). Candidates must have at least a grade 8 in English.

Syllabus Link

For further information, please see the EdExcel Specification

Potential careers

Politics is an academic, essay-based subject. Many pupils pursue the subject through to degree level. Others move from studying Politics at A-Level to reading Law at university. Politics A-Level is often studied alongside a Modern Language (French or German) by those intending to read European Studies or International Relations at university. It can also provide a route into PPE and related courses.

Contact for further information:

Mr Paul Dunne: pcad@wellingtoncollege.org.uk