In the Sixth Form you can choose to study Government & Politics. You probably won’t have studied Government & Politics in school before so it might be a new option to you in deciding your A Level subjects. Studying Politics is a great way to develop your understanding of the decision-making processes that affect our daily lives. In learning about politics, you will gain knowledge of what shapes our world and better understand the choices available to political leaders and the limits to what they decide. If you like studying History and keep up to date with the news and current affairs, you should think about choosing Politics.
By studying Government & Politics, we want our Sixth Form students to:
We follow the CCEA Government & Politics course:
AS 1 – The Government & Politics of Northern Ireland
This unit is about:
• the Northern Ireland Assembly
• the Northern Ireland Executive
• Northern Irish political parties
The focus of this unit is on how Northern Ireland is governed through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive. It looks at the policies and strategies of the main Northern Ireland political parties and the differences between them. This includes looking at how and why support for the parties has changed in recent years.
AS 2 – The British Political Process
This unit is about the operation of the British Parliament and the Executive. The key themes are:
• the extent to which the government dominates Parliament
• the extent to which the Prime Minister dominates the Cabinet
• the role of the judiciary on the executive
You will study these three parts of the British political system, but you also how they are connected and affect one another.
A2 1 – Comparative Government: USA and UK
In this unit, you will study:
• the US President of the USA
• the US Congress
• a comparison of the government of the USA and UK
Looking at how things are done in the USA can help us to better understand the UK system. It can also help to reveal its strengths and weaknesses. The main aims of the unit are to identify the similarities and differences between the two political systems and to discuss which works more effectively.
By the end of the unit, you should be able to address the key issues:
• How dominant is the executive over the legislature in the UK and USA?
• Is the UK Prime Minister and cabinet more effective than the US presidency?
• Does the Prime Minister have more control over the government of the UK than the President has over the government of the United States?
A2 2 – Political Ideas
This unit looks at three political ideas:
The three ideologies covered by this unit are not necessarily aligned with particular political parties. However, the ideas contained in these ideologies have influenced parties and governments over the years. Each of the ideologies is studied by looking at a key text that puts forward the ideas that are central to the ideology.
At the end of this unit you should not only understand these writers’ ideas but be able to appreciate how they might explain and view the world today. In studying this Unit you will draw upon the knowledge and understanding of politics you have gained from the study of the two AS Units, and the other A2 Unit on Comparative Politics.
A number of students use the subject as useful subject knowledge for degree courses in Journalism, Social Policy, Business and Human Resource Management, Public Relations and Communication Studies at university, where the process of political decision-making is an important element of undergraduate study.
Many of the pupils studying A Level Politics follow a career in Law. The content of the British Political Process module of the AS course is often a major component in first year Law degrees in UK universities; the need to have evidence to back up any statement or claim made in any piece of written work is an essential element of A Level Government & Politics and is also a first principle in most undergraduate courses, especially Law.