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Government & Politics

Government & Politics

Department Staff

Mr T Finn-Kelcey - Head of Faculty

AS – Year 12

Students study the EDEXCEL course in Government and Politics, studying two units. The course content is as follows

Unit 1People and Politics

This unit examines 4 specific areas of politics. There will be an exam question on EACH of the areas. The areas are;

  • Democracy and Participation. This section looks at where democracy came from, its key features, and whether it is really a good or bad system of government. It also looks in detail at Referendums and at the extent to which the UK is a democracy.
  • Party policies and ideas. This section examines in detail the two major political parties in the UK. We find out about their history, the different factions within them, the policies they support, and how these have changed over the years. You will be introduced to basic political ideologies, and examine the extent to which these influence the parties.
  • Pressure Groups. Here, we find out what pressure groups are, and how they contribute to our democracy. We look at the tactics they use to influence the government, and whether or not they are a good thing for democracy. We also debate whether small groups are really significant in the UK, or whether we are still dominated by a few secret and powerful elites.
  • .  In the final section of unit 1 we find out about different electoral systems, and their pro’s and cons. We examine in detail the last few elections in the UK, and assess the need for reform of our electoral system.

Unit 2 – Governing the UK

  • The Constitution. In this section we find out about written and unwritten constitutions, and how they affect how a country is run. We look specifically at the UK constitution, and how it has changed so radically over the last 12 years. We will also debate further changes.
  • The PM and Executive. Here we will find out what powers the Prime Minister has, and how the PM keeps control. We will also look at the role of the cabinet, and consider what makes a good cabinet minister. We will look at changes to the executive since Blair, and ask if it now has too much power.
  • We will examine the role of parliament, and debate how much power it still has. We will find out how laws are passed, and find out how its powerful committees actually work.
  • The Judiciary and Civil Liberties. The role of judges in politics has changed a lot in recent years, and we will find out all about these changes here. We will examine the new Supreme Court, and in particular examine the role played by judges in protecting Civil Liberties, one of the most controversial topics in contemporary politics.

A2 – Year 13

Unit 3Introduction to political ideologies

In this unit we study in depth the major ideologies- Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism and Anarchism. For each Ideology, we examine the key thinkers, the different and competing schools of thought, and the practical impacts of these on politics.

Unit 4 Other ideological traditions.

In this unit we find out about 4 more ideologies that have impacted significantly on the 20th and 21st centuries. We study Nationalism, Feminism, Multiculturalism and Ecologism (or ‘Green politics’). For each Ideology, we examine the key thinkers, the different and competing schools of thought, and the practical impacts of these on politics.