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Government & Politics at Brighouse High School

Course description

What is Politics?

‘Master science’: that is, nothing less than the activity through which people try to improve their lives and create the ‘good society’ Greek philosopher Aristotle

Politics exists because people disagree. They disagree about how they should live (moral questions), about who should get what (resource questions) and about who should make decisions (power questions)

Politics therefore seeks to establish the general rules under which we live and it is those rules that make orderly existence possible. As such, politics is the most basic and necessary of social activities — without orderly existence, society will degenerate into a civil war of each against all.


Why study Politics?

Who should study politics, and why? The short answer is that everyone should study politics — all members of society should have a better understanding of the general rules under which they live. For these rules to be effective, as many people as possible should actively participate in making them, upholding them and maybe, changing them. This is what is meant by ‘active citizenship’.

Politics is likely to suit students who:

  •  have an interest in the world around them — ones who want to know more about the society they live in, how it works and how it could work
  •  enjoy debate, discussion and argument — ones who are comfortable with the fact that in politics there are no simple ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’
  • like to think for themselves — ones who want to develop their own views, rather than accept the views of others.

Course content

Year 12 Course Content:

Unit 1: People and Politics

  • Democracy and Political Participation considers the nature of democracy, how democracy works in the UK, and ways in which democracy in the UK could be enhanced or strengthened.
  • Party Policies and Ideas examine the nature and role of political parties and in particular, consider the ideas, traditions and policies of the major UK parties.
  • Elections focusing on the link between elections and democracy, the workings of the electoral systems used in the UK and the adequacy of these systems in delivering representational and effective government.
  • Pressure Groups examines the extent to which pressure groups promote democracy, the power and influence of pressure groups and the distribution of power between and among pressure groups.


AS Unit 2: Governing the UK

  • The Constitution considers the nature of the UK constitution, its main strengths and weaknesses, and recent and proposed reforms to the constitution.
  • Parliament examines the structure, composition and powers of Parliament, the effectiveness and relevance of Parliament, and recent and proposed parliamentary reforms.
  • The Prime Minister and Cabinet looks at the role of the Prime Minister and other executive institutions, notably the cabinet, and the distribution of power within the executive branch, especially the extent of prime ministerial power.
  • Judges and Civil Liberties examines the role of the judiciary, the issues of judicial independence and neutrality, and the extent to which judges can and do uphold civil liberties.


Year 13 Course Content:

Unit 3:  Introducing Political Ideologies

Political ideology has been in the forefront of the development of politics since the time of the French

Revolution, providing a framework of ideas, doctrines and theories that have inspired and guided political action of various kinds. Political ideologies have served to preserve existing systems of power, helped to modify or reform them, or incited revolutionary action to overthrow and remodel an established society. All emerged out of the economic, social and political upheavals that brought the modern world into existence. They provide contrasting answers to questions about how industrial capitalist society should be organised. As such, they are ideologies that can be categorised on the basis of the left/right divide, reflecting differing attitudes to issues such as equality and economic organisation.

  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Socialism
  • Anarchism


Unit 4:  Other Ideological Traditions

Have each, in their different ways, extended ideological debate and shifted political argument in new and sometimes challenging directions. Although nationalism has been a major political ideology since the early 19th century, feminism, ecologism and multiculturalism have gained growing prominence since the late 20th century, albeit sometimes drawing on many earlier ideas and theories.

  • Nationalism
  • Feminism
  • Ecologism
  • Multiculturalism

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements:  A minimum of 5 GCSE A*-C grades including Mathematics and English language.



AS course: 2 exams at the end of year 12 in May/June 2017

A2 course: 2 exams at the end of year 13 May/June 2018

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Brighouse High School directly.

Last updated date: 08 January 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 year

Contact details