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Politics A Level at QE Academy Trust

Course description

Often misinterpreted, Aristotle is pointing to the very nature of human beings: to live together as a collective. Politics is study of ‘the art of the possible’, offering insights into how humans live together, how they use their power and how it is used on them, as citizens of countries and of the world. You will explore freedom and tolerance, justice and democracy, and their limits. We discuss aspects of international relations, which broadens your outlook to consider policies that transcend lines on the map. This course is central of an understanding of the modern world and focuses on contemporary politics and areas of concern in the UK, Europe and the international community.  

Course content

AS Level Units

Unit 1: People and Politics  
This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people and encourages an evaluation of the adequacy of the current arrangements.  

- Democracy and Political Participation: Understanding democracy, the development of the idea and the practical reality. Key features of democracy in the UK, participation/legitimacy crisis and how far the UK system conforms to liberal democratic principles. The implications of devolution and EU membership, lowering the voting age and digital democracy.  
- Party Policies and Ideas: A knowledge and understanding of the history, traditions and distinctive features of political parties. The development of party politics in recent years including ideology and policy, and a comparison of party policies and ideas.  
- Elections: How elections promote democracy and the voting systems used in the UK for the House of Commons, devolved bodies and local authorities. Debating the electoral system.  
- Pressure Groups: The features and functions of pressure groups, how they exert power and influence, and the relationship between power and democracy and pressure groups.  

Assessment: Written Examination: 1 hour 20 minutes  

Unit 2: Governing the UK  
This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions, and of the relationship amongst them in the context of multi‐level governance.

- The Constitution: Nature, sources and key features of the Constitution, debates about sovereignty and the implications for the EU, understanding key reforms since 1997 including Lords reform, the possible introduction of a ‘written constitution’.  
- Parliament: The relationship between legislatures and executives in parliamentary and presidential government, the role and powers of the House of Commons and House of Lords, recent proposed reforms and their implications.  
- The Prime Minister and the Cabinet: Roles, powers and constraints. Prime Ministerial leadership styles and debates about the presidentialisation of UK politics.  
- Judges and Civil Liberties: The role of the judiciary, the power and influence of judges and the relationship between the judiciary and other branches of government. The effect of the courts on individual rights, liberties, and the implication of the Human Rights Act.  

Assessment: Written Examination: 1 hour 20 minutes  

A2 Level Units

Unit 3: Key Themes in Political Analysis: Structures of Global Politics  
This topic provides an introduction to global politics by examining key global political structures and systems.

- Approaches to Global Politics: the international system, the process of Globalisation and the implications for the nation state.  
- World Order: Post‐Cold War changing nature of the world order and the implications of bipolarity, unipolarity and multipolarity, the importance of hard and soft power and emerging powers.  
- Global Governance: The origin and development of major global institutions post 1945 including the United Nations, NATO, the IMF, World Bank and the G8. European Union and Regionalism: Origins and development of the EU particularly economic and monetary union, regional integration.

Assessment: Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

Unit 4: Extended Themes in Political Analysis: Governing the USA  
This topic examines the institutional framework of US government and considers the interrelationships between its legislative, executive and judicial processes and the health of US federalism.  

- The Constitution: Nature and principles, an awareness of the Constitutional Framework, rights and an evaluation of their effectiveness.  
- Congress: The structures and workings of Congress and the distribution of power. Factors influencing the relationship between Congress and the Presidency, the significance of party allegiance.  
- Presidency: Formal and informal sources of power, factors that affect the role of the presidency, recent presidents.  
- Supreme Court: The composition and the role of the court, the appointment of Federal Judges, the political significance of the court and its impact on public policy.  

Assessment: Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes  

Entry requirements

Entry requirements: to do the Level 3 programme at Queen Elizabeth’s, you will need
to have achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*‐C including at least one of
English/Maths. Individual courses might also require certain grades at GCSE in
particular subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact QE Academy Trust directly.

Last updated date: 17 December 2015
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