Government and Politics

Government and Politics is the study of people, politics and participation as well as how modern Britain is governed and the ideologies that underpin many of the political decisions made today.

The course is designed to encourage students to develop their critical thinking skills and enhance their ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics. Students acquire knowledge of the structures of authority and power within the political system of the United Kingdom and are encouraged to think and debate more widely about how other political systems may differ.

Some aspects of Government and Politics include:

 

Participation and voting behaviour

  • How does social class affect voting behaviour?
  • What effect does the mass media have on voting behaviour?

 

Electoral systems

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘first past the post’ (UK) voting system?
  • When should a referendum be used?

 

Political Parties

  • How does the party system of government work in the UK?
  • How do political ideas shape parties?

 

Pressure Groups and Protest Movements

  • What factors determine the political effectiveness of pressure groups?
  • How do pressure groups use ‘lobbying’ to influence government decisions?

 

The British Constitution

  • Where does the British constitution come from?
  • How does the British constitution limit and influence the actions of government?

 

Parliament

  • What are the main roles and functions of Parliament?
  • What is the composition of Parliament?

 

The Core Executive

  • What are the main roles, powers and resources of the Prime Minister?
  • How does the system of cabinet government operate?

 

Multi-level Governance

  • What are the powers of the Scottish government and Welsh assembly?
  • What should be the nature and extent of devolved power?

 

Assessment

Students will study the AQA Examination Board specification 1151 (AS) and 2151 (A2)

AS Examination

Unit 1 (11/2 hours)
People, Politics and Participation
Students must answer two structured, data response questions from a choice of four.

Unit 2 (11/2 hours)
Governing Modern Britain
Students must answer two structured, data response questions from a choice of four.

A2 Examination

Unit 3 (1.5 hours)
Ideologies
One data response question chosen from two and one (two-part) essay question chosen from three.

Unit 4 (1.5 hours)
Ideologies in Action
One data response question chosen from two and one (two-part) essay question chosen from three.

General Comments

This course is a good choice for students considering a career in the professions, or those who simply want to understand how the world works. Politics goes well with Economics, History, Sociology and English but also combines well with Science based students, giving them a broader perspective on the world. Students should be interested in current affairs, maintaining a wide knowledge of society and political issues through watching TV programmes, news bulletins and documentaries and also newspapers and relevant magazines.

 

Future Prospects

This course is suitable for students who aspire to a management position in their future career or who have a genuine interest in the issues surrounding society’s use of the resources available to it. The course provides the basis for future progression to a variety of politics and humanities degrees and also provides breadth and develops evaluative skills for students aspiring to a degree course in a different subject discipline. The qualification is well regarded by employers at post-18 with Government and Politics students typically acquiring employment with a political party or in areas such as journalism, local government, civil service and law.