Gumley House School FCJ

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A Level Politics

Studying the ways of Government

Head of Department:  Mr D Walters

Through the study of Politics at Gumley students will gain the ability to view the world critically and understand the defining issues that currently face citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Students begin their study of Politics in Year 12 by studying UK Politics and UK Government, this is essential in providing the key concepts that will underpin their study of the subject. Starting with these components will also lay the groundwork for allowing students to engage fully with their comparative study of the USA in Year 13.

In the summer term of Year 12 students will begin their study of political ideologies. Alongside the compulsory ideologies of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism the students will also study Nationalism. Through their earlier study of political parties students will have a basis by which they can explore the core ideas and thinkers in greater depth. The idea of Nationalism is one which has made a strong recurrence in the first quarter of the 21st Century and we believe that it is crucial that our students understand the key elements of this ideology. Studying political ideas at this point in the course also provides a bridge for students to their study of the United States, as all 4 ideas have a place within current US political debate.


Learning Journey (KS5)

Curriculum Map (Politics)

Edexcel: A Level Exam Specification

  • Entry Criteria for A Level Study:
    Grade 5 in GCSE English Language and
    Grade 6 in a humanities subject

Introduction by Head of Politics:

In Year 13 students will undertake their study of the US. The key issues which are prevalent here, such as the debates around democracy, rights and race are ones which resonate strongly with our students and the key reason why we opt to study the US for our comparative unit. They will be able to draw clear comparisons with the United Kingdom and should also be able to draw synoptic links to all other areas of the course.

Hear from the Students:

The A Level Politics specification 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 expert knowledge of the structures of authority and power within the political systems of the United Kingdom and the USA, as well as the key ideologies underpinning politics across the world. Politics also helps students to develop their essay writing and debating skills which are transferable to other subjects. 

The A Level comprises of three papers of equal weight:

  • Government and Politics of the UK
  • Government and Politics of the USA and comparative politics
  • Political Ideas (Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Nationalism)

Studying Politics at A Level

Why study this course?
Politics is an excellent choice if you have an interest in current affairs and want to understand and change the world around you. It is a highly regarded A Level which can lead to many degree courses including Politics, International Relations, History, Economics and Law. It will not necessarily lead to a career in Politics but would provide a good foundation for students who wish to pursue a career in journalism, the Civil Service or law. 

What will I learn?

During the first year you will have two main themes:
1. People, Politics and Participation introduces issues like how voting behaviour is changing in elections and whether pressure groups strengthen or weaken democracy.

2. Governing Modern Britain covers issues including parliament’s role in the UK political system and why we have a prime ministerial government in the UK. In the second year you build an understanding of politics in the USA and be able to offer a comparison with the politics of the UK.

How will I be taught?

This is a constantly evolving subject, so we make it active with teacher-led activities, group work, seminars, speakers and documentaries. You will visit parliament and participate in other trips, including attending a recording of Question Time.

How many hours a week private study will I have?

You are expected to complete 6 hours of private study per week. This is a combination of homework, and independent work including reading a quality daily newspaper and publications like The Economist or The Week.

You’ll enjoy this course if…

You have an interest in current affairs, how political decisions are reached and who has the power to influence them. It provides many opportunities for discussion and debate and complements the study of many other subjects such as History and Philosophy.

Course Description

Component 1:  UK Politics (33% of total A Level)
This component focuses on the UK political system and looks at a range of fascinating areas such as political parties, political participation and the media and voting behaviour. Alongside this, students will also develop an understanding of key political beliefs such as liberalism, conservatism and socialism.

Component 2
: The Government of the UK (33% of total A Level)
Through this component students will gain an understanding of how the UK system of government works. They will focus on key areas such as the prime minister and parliament. Alongside this they will extend their knowledge of political beliefs through the study of nationalism.

Component 3: Comparative Politics (33% of total A Level)
Through this unit students will build an understanding of how the American political system works. They will look at key issues such as the presidency and congress as well as being able to develop comparisons with the UK system.


All units are assessed by external examination at the end of the course.

For more information, contact Mr D Walters

Where can Politics take me?

A high proportion of students who have taken the A Level in Politics enjoy it so much that they go on to study Politics at university.

However, Politics A Level also lends itself to a range of other degrees and careers and is highly regarded by all subjects at university. From here you might become a researcher, join local or national government, or perhaps follow a career in journalism, for which this course is very useful. Students also go on to become teachers or work in the legal profession. 

The skills gained from Politics A Level of critical thinking and evaluation and the ability to express oneself clearly are of benefit to all future study and careers.