A Level – Government & Politics


Government and Politics is not available at GCSE – so no-one studying at A Level will already have a qualification in the subject. What is required however is an interest in current affairs and a willingness to read newspaper articles, watch and listen to news and political programmes on the television and the radio.

  • Who Is This Course For?

    Government and Politics is not available at GCSE – so no-one studying at A Level will already have a qualification in the subject. What is required however is an interest in current affairs and a willingness to read newspaper articles, watch and listen to news and political programmes on the television and the radio.

    There is no need to be a political expert in order to study the subject, a curiosity to find out more is often a good starting point for someone considering government and politics as an option. This subject involves a lot of reading and written work. Most of the marks in the A Level examinations are awarded for questions that require long written answers

    Entry Criteria

    The College entry criteria for all level three courses can be found on our ”Entry Criteria Guidance” pdf document.

  • Course Details:

    Exam Board

    AQA

    Year 1

    Unit 1 – People, Politics and Participation

    Examines the reasons why and how people participate in politics and why others do not. This unit also looks at the different electoral systems in the UK.  The ideologies, views and functions of political parties will be examined. Finally there will be a study of pressure groups and their activities and impact.

    Unit 2 – Governing Modern Britain

    Examines how Britain is governed – the role of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the roles of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  We look at the role of individual MPs and evaluate their powers and roles. In addition the course examines the nature and reform of the UK constitution and the role of the judiciary in the UK political system.

    Year 2

    Unit 3A – The politics of the USA

    Examines the electoral process and the direct democracy in the United States.  There is also an analysis of US voting behaviour. The unit examines ideology and the political party system in the USA. Finally there is an examination of the activities and significance of pressure groups with specific reference to the democratic process.

    Unit 4 – The Government of the USA

    This unit examines the working and amendment of the United States constitution. It also assesses how the government of the USA operates, analysing the different branches of government (the roles of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the roles and powers of the President and the political significance of the supreme court.

    How the course is delivered

    There are 4 70 minute periods per week for each Government and Politics class. Students are involved in a variety of activities within each lesson.

    Departmental Enrichment

    Students normally have the benefit of visiting speakers, such as the local MP and/or a member of the House of Lords. In addition Government and Politics students have the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. to support their studies of United States Government and Politics. This trip first ran in March 2014, with the most recent being in March 2016. This has now been expanded to a cross college visit for 2016-17.

    The Politics Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

    The Politics department is staffed by highly-qualified and experienced teachers who are committed to providing an excellent learning experience for students following the subject.

    Brian Johnstone (Teacher of  A Level Government and Politics and Head of Law Department)

    Daniel Parsons (Teacher A Level Government and Politics)

    Kirsty Roberts (Teacher of A Level Government and Politics)

    You still may not be sure whether this is the course for you. You could have a look in some newspapers and follow some political stories and see how they develop over a week or so. Tune in to news programmes such as Channel 4 News or Newsnight on BBC2. Both these programmes have excellent coverage of current affairs.

    What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

    The College has a number of open evenings where you can come along and find out more about the subject. Before you come to an open evening, think about the questions you want to ask and write them down just in case you forget them. You could also visit the AQA website. This the exam board that Wyke uses for teaching Government and Politics.You can follow the links and find much useful information about the subject including a student guide as well as a copy of the course details and past examination question papers and mark schemes.

  • Progression:

    What does this course lead to?

    Many students who have taken the A Level in Government and Politics often become so enthusiastic about the subject that they go on to study Politics at university. In this respect the subject is one of the many humanity/social science subjects that enable students to progress to careers in the civil service, business and finance, the legal profession, public sector professions and journalism and the media more generally.  Some former politics students have  become  researchers or joined local or national government. At least one former Wyke politics student went on to become an MP, but none has become Prime Minister (so far).

    Student success 

    Government and Politics is a very successful course. The subject has had a very high success rate, often receiving a 100% pass rate at A Level. One of the keys to success in any subject is student enjoyment. Students who enjoy their studies, want to attend lessons and are stimulated by the work that is set for them are likely to do well. In order for this to happen potential students should know in advance what the course is all about and that an interest in politics and current affairs is essential.

  • Course Showcase:

    Government & Politics staff and students reflect on their recent visit to Washington DC & Philadelphia, USA.