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A-Level Politics

Awarding Body

Course Code

Head of Department



9PLO Mrs Victoria Williams willia-v@beaconsfieldhigh.bucks.sch.uk

Politics is a vibrant and fascinating subject. As a successful student of Politics, you will learn to understand the current debates and issues facing our politicians. You’ll be encouraged to engage with these debates and to understand the cut and thrust of political life and how people are politically empowered.   Through your studies you will achieve a clear understanding of two political systems (UK and US) as well as the political ideologies that underpin them.  We also study Feminism as a political idea. 

Russell Group universities consider it a “useful A-Level qualification” to access a broad range of courses at the top universities (including History, Law and MFL).

Careers: Politics, Journalism, PR, Charity, Public Affairs, Civil Service.

What level of prior knowledge, attainment and skills are required?

Grade 6 in English GCSE.

We do not expect any prior knowledge of politics for students starting the course – all we ask for is a keen interest and a willingness to engage fully with the subject.

Politics is the choice for any student who is keen to understand the changing political world. It is a challenging subject that demands that you follow contemporary politicsIn lessons, we encourage active learning to ensure that you are confident in your understanding and so you can structure a clear line of argument.  Just like Parliament our debates can be quite animated—so you need to ensure your argument can face the scrutiny of the Opposition!  You are assessed in three written examinations that require you to produce clear analytical and evaluative arguments.

A Level Politics is also an excellent subject to compliment your other studies.  It combines particularly well with History, English, Modern Foreign Languages, Economics, Maths, Philosophy and Ethics, Geography and Sociology. 

What does the course cover and how is it structured?

Paper 1: UK Politics: 

Political Participation, students will study:  democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media.

Core Political Ideas, students will study:  Conservatism, liberalism, socialism.

Paper 2: UK Government

UK Government, students will study: The constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive, relationships between the branches.

Optional Political Ideas, students will study:  One idea from the following: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.

Paper 3: Comparative Politics

USA Government and Politics:  The US Constitution and federalism, US congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court, democracy and participation, civil rights.  Candidates will reflect on how the US political system compares to that of the UK and the impact of the US in global politics.

How is the course assessed?

There are three written examinations, each lasting 2 hours and worth 33% of the qualification.

In Papers 1 and 2, candidates will complete three essays from a choice of six questions.

In Paper 3, candidates will complete a range of both short answers and essays.   

How can families help?

Buy a good – i.e. broadsheet – newspaper (Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Independent).

Discuss current affairs and show an interest in news and news based programmes.

Subscribe to “The Week” magazine – a summary of the main events of the week’s national and international news

Listen to and/or watch political programmes and documentaries on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Netflix and political podcasts that are suggested by the teachers.