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Government and Politics A Level at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls

Course description

Why should I study Politics?

You are likely to benefit from this course at A level if you:

  • Are already interested in current affairs and politics
  • Realise that you don’t know much about politics or the organisation of government, but think it is important to find out more
  • Like studying a subject which is relevant and affects people’s everyday lives
  • Like to be actively involved, in terms of discussion, research and visits
  • Would like to do something different and keep your options open for the future.


Course content

What will I learn about?

Collectively units 1 and 2 provide an introduction to and an understanding of the concepts which guide our political system and the structure of government. The first unit looks at the nature of democracy in the UK and how elections work, as well as at the role of political parties and pressure groups. The second considers the main institutions of central government, including Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Both examinations are taken in the summer term.

Unit 3 builds on the content of the course with a study of key political thinkers and ideologies, such as conservatism, liberalism, socialism and feminism. We also turn our attentions to the USA, its government and politics and how they compare to the UK system.

How will I be taught?

Politics is a subject which draws a great deal upon the developments of the present and recent past and is being constantly updated. We make good use of a variety of textbooks but also rely on the use of TV, Internet, radio and the press. The course is designed to encourage you to analyse and criticise and we therefore promote active discussion to develop an understanding of what has been read, seen and heard. Likewise, you will have opportunities for individual research of various kinds and will be able to present work in a variety of ways, e.g. talks and wall presentations, not just essays! Class atmosphere is friendly and informal.

It is also important to keep up with current affairs through newspaper, television, radio and internet. Politics students recently visited the Houses of Parliament and we attend the local ‘Democracy Forum’ each year, where girls have a chance to quiz a panel of MPs. As a department, we are committed to offering a continuing programme of involvement and stimulation within the confines of the school’s visits policy.


Entry requirements

There is no requirement for previous related study and you do not have to be a History student, though the two subjects do go well together! You should have good written skills, a general interest in current affairs and an ability to think critically.


Examination Board: EDEXCEL
Specification: Advanced GCE 9GP01

Paper 1:

  • UK Politics plus compulsory ideologies
    • UK Politics
    • Political Participation
    • Core ideas (Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism).
  • A range of short and long answer questions.
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 84 marks
  • 33.3% of A Level

Paper 2:

  • UK Government
    • The constitution
    • parliament
    • Prime Minister and executive
    • relationships between the branches.
  • One idea from the following
    • anarchism
    • ecologism
    • feminism
    • multiculturalism
    • nationalism.
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 84 marks
  • 33.3% of A Level

Paper 3:

  • Comparative politics
  • Students study either USA (9PL0/3A) or Global (9PL0/3B)
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 84 marks
  • 33.3% of A Level

Future opportunities

  • As the basis for degree study: either a pure Politics course, or as part of International Relations, American Studies, Public Policy or similar courses. Politics is also commonly offered in conjunction with other subjects e.g. Law, PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), Sociology, Business/Management, History, and Economics, to suggest a few of the more usual combinations.
  • Even without further study, the course will enable you to take a lasting interest in political issues and play your part as an effective citizen at election time!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 31 October 2017
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