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Government & Politics AS/A Level at Brockenhurst College

Course description

Politics is a fascinating subject which is of vital importance to all of us in our daily lives. It is concerned with fundamental choices about the ways in which societies are organised and governed, as well as how nation-states relate to one another internationally. Part of the excitement and the challenge of studying politics is the fact that it is always changing.

One reason why students are attracted to the course is that it allows them to explore their own views and to be challenged by the views of others, therefore it is particularly stimulating.

What makes this course different as an academic subject is its focus on debate, discussion and argument.

Course content

On the AS/A2 course you will look at how the political system works, from who joins the New Forest Labour Party to why presidents are impeached!  You will study concepts such as power and ideology.

At AS this course aims to provide you with an understanding of the 'nuts and bolts' and a theoretical appreciation of how the British political system works in the UK, for example, parliament, the election system together with voting behaviour and political parties.

At A2 we study American Politics and Ideologies.  You will gain a full understanding of the American Federal Government as well as the philosophy that underpins all social contracts and political ideology.

The course covers the contemporary British and American political scenes.

Topics include

  • Party Policies
  • Elections
  • Factors Influencing the Way People Vote
  • The Power of the Prime Minister and President
  • The Roles of Parliament and Congress
  • Methods  and Influence of  Pressure Groups.

Substantial use is made of  extracts from newspaper articles, speeches, cartoons, maps and video  and audio  tapes.

The emphasis is on discussion of contemporary events and issues in the British and American political systems. 

You will need to keep abreast of current political developments and will be encouraged to make use of the College Learning and Resources Centre which contains journals and recently published books.

Entry requirements

You need to have 5 GCSE's at grades A*-C including English Language or Literature.  We strongly advise a grade B in GCSE English because of the need for advanced essay writing skills.  However, we will accept committed students with a C grade in English.

In order for the subject to be stimulating and so you can take a full part in classes, you must keep abreast of political developments. 

Our expectation is that you will follow current affairs closely.  The reason for this is that, at the end of the year, in your examination you will be expected to include the most up-to-date political information to achieve the higher grades when you respond to the questions.  As a result you will need to show a higher level of independence in keeping up-to-date with current affairs.

Assessment

You will be assessed through 2 written papers corresponding to the 2 AS modules. 

  • Unit 1 - People, Politics and Participation
  • Unit 2 - Governing Modern Britain

Similarly, your A2 will be assessed through 2 written papers.

  • Unit 3: Political Ideologies
  • Unit 4: The Government of the USA

At AS you will be expected to write 'mini' essays, whilst at A2 you will need to write longer, more in-depth, answers.

Financial information

You will need to purchase a textbook at a cost of approximately £20 each year.

Future opportunities

Politics will equip you with key transferable skills which will be valued by universities and employers, including teamwork, problem solving skills, communication and critical analysis - to name just a few. 

Most Government and Politics students progress to Higher Education, often to study the subject further such as PPE - Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  Some past students are now working for MP's, whilst others have progressed into journalism and the Civil Service. 

Other students use AS/A2 level qualifications to help them embark on the career of their choice.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 18 February 2016

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