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
Unit 1 – The Government and Politics of the UK
Section one examines how Britain is governed, including the role of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the functions of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We look at the role of individual MPs and evaluate their powers and responsibilities. In addition the course examines the nature and reform of the UK constitution, the role of the judiciary in the UK political system and devolution.
Section two examines the reasons why and how people participate in politics and why others do not. We also looks at the different electoral systems in the UK and the ideologies, views and functions of political parties will be examined. We then consider the activities and impact of pressure groups and conclude with a study of the European Union.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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