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Government and Politics AS/A2 Level at Alton College

Course description

Government and Politics focuses on how we manage disagreements in society - national and global. In other words, it concentrates on analysis of current affairs, Parliament and other institutions, and generally the events and issues that affect our day to day lives. A knowledge of such things helps us to answer questions that are both directly relevant to us - for example, why are we allowed to drive at 17 but not vote until we get to 18? - and more general in nature - why are British soldiers deployed in overseas conflicts?

Politics is often regarded as an integrated subject, which draws upon materials and ideas from Economics, History, Sociology, Law, Business Studies and Communication Studies. In reality, however, Politics is more than this - it is the study of decision-making, both inside and outside Government institutions.

Over the next two years, you will examine a range of subjects as you work to broaden your understanding of Government and Politics - for example:

* Political Parties
* The UK Constitution
* Pressure Groups
* The roles of Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet
* Key Political Ideologies - some old (Liberalism) and some new (Ecologism)

Course content

Lessons will involve a variety of tasks, individual research, debates, note-taking, videos and use of related websites. Students will sometimes do individual work and sometimes small group work to prepare presentations on relevant areas. The amount of homework will vary, but usually students should aim to do 4 to 5 hours of private study, plus set aside time for relevant television programmes like “Question Time” and build up a media file of relevant articles from broadsheet newspapers.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 - 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels.

An interest in political issues is the most important requirement for this course, but good writing and research skills are also essential. A - C grade in GCSE English is desirable.


Coursework: Year 1 - 0%; Year 2 - 0%.

Year 1: AS Level

You will be examined in units 1 and 2 from a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 20 minutes each.

Year 2: A Level

Units 3 and 4 will also be examined externally using a range of data response, short answer questions and essays. These units will be examined by external papers of 1 hour 30 minutes each.

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide a standard textbook and/or relevant materials. All students will be expected to provide their own stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £30 for textbooks
Optional: £35 for magazine subscriptions, materials and trips which are optional but very relevant to the course.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

Politics will give you a deeper understanding of the institutions that affect our daily lives and the people who work in them. This will develop your analytical skills, both in oral and written communication. For this reason Politics is a respected A Level subject that is useful in both employment and Higher Education.

Chris came from TPS, and completed A Levels in Politics, English and History. After his gap year he went on to study Politics and Philosophy. Chris was President of the SU whilst in his second year. Katie (Perins) studied Politics A Level and went to Swansea to study International Relations. Sam (Eggars) studied politics and is now at Aberystwyth studying Politics and Law.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 05 August 2016

Key information