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Sixth Form - Politics A Level (ALV1) at Barnsley College

Course description

We don’t always like politicians and the things that governments do, but the business of politics touches every aspect of our lives. Whilst we might criticise governments for some of their policies, it has to be better than having no government at all. Society wouldn’t function without an elected body to decide what taxes will be levied, how those taxes will be spent on things like health and education or how the country will be defended. But no matter whether a government makes you feel angry or reassured, it’s worth having knowledge of how the whole process of an elected government works and an understanding of the theories that inform the processes and institutions that govern us. A-Level Government and Politics enables you to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics.

Course content

In the first year of Politics, students study three main themes. The first theme is UK Politics which covers issues such as how voting behaviour is changing in elections and what the purpose of political parties are in the UK. The second theme of study is UK Government. This covers issues such as what parliament’s role is in the UK political system and whether we have an increasingly presidential style of government. The third theme is Political Ideas where we study Socialism, Liberalism, Conservatism and an optional ideology such as Feminism or Nationalism. In this topic, students study the ideas that inform political parties and institutions with a particular focus on the key thinkers.

The second year focuses on one main topic – Global Politics. This exciting and relevant subject will place British politics in a global context and enable students to better understand political institutions in a globalised world and the implications of recent issues such as Brexit. Students will develop their understanding of existing world powers like the USA and emerging world powers such as China and their role in shaping global politics.

If you want to learn about people power, how government works and how ideas inform actions then this A Level is for you.

Entry requirements

We generally ask for an Attainment 8 score of 5.5 or above (including a 5 or above in English and maths). However, we will discuss entry requirements with you at interview so please come and talk to us!

Specific entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 or above in English, History or another Humanities subject. A keen interest in politics and current affairs.



Politics is a linear A Level. This means you will be assessed by examination on all content at the end of two years of study.



Learning methods

You will learn through a variety of methods such as lectures, activities, multimedia, discussion and debate, reading texts which develop political vocabulary, participating in group projects and writing essays in response to stimulus material. Classroom debate is perhaps the most appealing part of this course; informed and independently minded students make this one of the most interesting subjects available, provided that you are keen to learn about the political world.

Financial information

You won’t have to pay tuition or exams fees* to study A Levels with us if you are aged 16 to 18 on 31 August 2017, if you are 19 or older and looking to study your first full Level 3 qualification or if you receive certain benefits. To find out more about tuition fees, call our Information Team on +44 (0)1226 216 123.

We know being a student can be an expensive time so we offer a range of options to help all our students, from our Learner Support Fund to the Earn 2 Learn scheme.

Financial support

If your total annual household income is less than £35,000 you could be eligible for financial support through our Learner Support Fund for travel (up to £700), If your household income is below £20,000 you could be eligible for food, trips, printing, equipment and childcare. You don’t have to pay this money back.

You can pick up a Learner Support Fund application form from Student Services on the ground floor at the Old Mill Lane campus.

Guaranteed bursaries

If you are aged between 16 and 18 and currently living on your own, in care or leaving care, you could be eligible for a non-repayable bursary of up to £1,200 per year.*

Earn to Learn

If you are aged 16 to 18 and not eligible for any other financial support you could get involved with our Earn 2 Learn scheme. This provides excellent work experience opportunities within college with departments including Marketing, Administration and Catering, and you will be ‘paid’ via a range of rewards including help with the cost of travel, trips and equipment or high street vouchers.


You can get FREE meals at college if your household income is less than £20,000 (16-18s) or £15,000 (19+). Speak to Student Services to find out more on +44 (0)1226 216 267

FREE bus services!

We realise that getting to and from college might not be very easy for everyone so we have funded three free return bus services for our students. They go to and from the Old Mill Lane campus which is just a few minutes’ walk from our Sixth Form college campus.

Shelley > Old Mill Lane campus

Stocksbridge via Penistone > Old Mill Lane campus

Rotherham via Ecclesfield and Chapeltown > Old Mill Lane campus

These bus routes are completely free for our students and operate on a first come, first served basis. Each route operates to ensure students get to college before lessons start and a return service is provided after lessons finish. Please contact Student Services for details of pick-up points and times or go to: student-support/free-bus-service

*Terms and conditions apply16 +44 (0)1226 216 123

Future opportunities


Students who have taken the A Level in Politics often go on to study a range of subjects at university including Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Economics, PPE, Journalism, History, Geography and Business.

Politics provides a range of transferable skills which are desirable to many employers. Students may look forward to a career in politics, research, social policy, local government, the civil service, think tanks, education, journalism, business, international development, the police and the charity sector.

Further information

Additional Learning Support (ALS)

We want every student to get the best out of their time with us. If you need any extra help, our ALS team can provide you with a range of support. The team work with students who have:



Autism or Asperger Syndrome


Learning difficulties/disabilities

Emotional or mental health support needs

Sensory impairment

Physical difficulties

Medical conditions

Temporary disabilities

If you would like to find out more about the support ALS can offer then please contact the team.

+44 (0)1226 216 769

Health and Wellbeing

Making sure you lead a healthy lifestyle will help you do your best in your studies. We offer confidential advice and a range of health services, including:

Contraception and sexual health advice

Full STI screening

Access to psychological therapies to deal with stress, depression and anxiety (IAPT)


Referrals to Barnsley Stop Smoking Service

Qualified Health Trainer


Advice around drug and alcohol issues

You can contact an adviser on: +44 (0)1226 216 233

Information Unit

We have a dedicated team available to provide information on all of our courses and to help you to make the right choices about your future. The team are based at the Old Mill Lane site.

Drop in: Monday – Thursday 9.00am – 5.00pm

Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm

Tel: +44 (0)1226 216 123


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 28 May 2019
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