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Government and Politics at Watford Grammar School for Girls

Course description

Awarding Body: Edexcel

This course is designed to develop an awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and issues, central to an understanding of the modern world. It encourages:

• A knowledge of the structure of government and power in the UK and the EU, within the context of the wider world.

• The opportunity to engage in contemporary political debates and develop critical awareness of contemporary political events and issues.

• An understanding of differing political viewpoints and ability to evaluate alternative approaches to political issues.

• The skills of arguing a case relevantly and coherently.

• An awareness of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

The Edexcel syllabus we will follow involves four units (two at AS and two at A2).

Students can study the subject at both AS and A2 level.

This course will appeal to students who:

• Want to learn more about politics and how decisions are made in today’s society.

• Enjoy investigating ideas and issues that affect everyday life.

• Enjoy debating issues, ideas and opinions.

• Have a lively interest in current affairs.

• Want to develop their analytical and communication skills further.

The topical nature of this course makes it essential that students keep up to date regularly with current affairs by reading quality newspapers and through other media.

The Government and Politics department also gives students wider opportunities to engage in political discussion and debate with outside speakers through the Government and Politics Society (GAPS) as well as trips to political conferences, the UK parliament and the European Union in Brussels. GAPS produces political publications written and edited by politics students. Students in the department also run and take part in school mock elections.

The Government and Politics AS and A2 courses enable students to develop the following key skills recognised by universities and employers as essential for future study and employment: communication skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, working with others and ICT skills.

Course content

The AS units provide an introduction to the subject by investigating UK political institutions and procedures:

Unit 1: People and Politics

This unit introduces students to the study of politics by looking at the central ideas of democracy, political participation, elections, pressure groups, political parties and their policies. It encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of current arrangements for representative democracy and political participation.

Unit 2: Governing the UK

This unit provides an introduction to the major governmental institutions within the UK – the Constitution, Parliament, Prime Minister & Cabinet, Judges & Civil Liberties. It encourages students to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions, including the devolved assemblies.

The A2 units enable specialisation into UK and EU Political Issues, involving skills of analysis and evaluation.

Unit 3: UK Political Issues

This unit investigates key policy issues in the UK, particularly those that have affected the outcomes of general elections or stimulated public debate such as: economic policy; social welfare, health and education; law, order and criminal justice; environmental policy.

Unit 4: EU Political Issues

This unit examines the political issues that have arisen as a result of European integration and the impact of EU membership on the UK. It also looks at EU institutions and main policy areas of the EU such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the monetary union and trade policy.


Entry requirements

Students do not need to have studied History at GCSE in order to take an AS or A2 level course in Government and Politics. It is more important to have a lively interest in politics and current affairs, a desire to explore new concepts and an ability to communicate ideas effectively, both orally and on paper.

Therefore students require a Grade B or above in English Language at GCSE, together with a grade B in a humanity subject (e.g. Classical Civilisation, Geography, History or Religious Studies).


All units are assessed by external examinations, involving a variety of assessment tasks which support student progression from GCSE, to AS and A2 level: including short-answer questions, stimulus response questions, extended writing and essays.

Future opportunities

Students with AS or A2 GCE Government and Politics have access to a wide range of possible career and higher education opportunities. Government and Politics combines well with social sciences, humanities, modern languages and science subjects. Our students regularly go on to study the following university degrees:

• Law.

• Economics and/or Business.

• History, Geography, Classics, Modern Foreign Languages.

• Medicine, Psychology.

• English, Journalism, Media.

• Philosophy, Sociology and…… of course……Politics.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Watford Grammar School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 26 May 2015
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