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Government and Politics at Queen Mary's Grammar School

Course description

The A Level in Government & Politics covers the major political and constitutional
themes and issues of government in the UK in the 21st Century. We examine the concepts of power and authority and we include substantial study of political philosophy and theory in order to help students understand the meaning and purpose of political institutions, discourse and reaction.

The course is therefore concerned to teach students about processes and systems but also to show how and why these processes exist and whether they are the best systems available to us to achieve what we want the State to achieve.

We look too at the relationship between the Governed and the Government, the
Monarchy, the European Union and we explore political theories from nationalism to
communism whilst exploring why we have the “State” in the first place, what’s wrong
with it (in real terms and theoretical terms) and what we might do legitimately to
improve it, alter it or reform it.

Course content

There are 4 units, as follows:

Contemporary Politics in the United Kingdom: We explore parties, the party system and pressure groups in the UK to understand how they achieve their aims and how they do this legitimately or otherwise. We also study electoral systems, parliamentary elections, voting behaviour and ideology. The aim is to provide a comprehensive and critical study of how the UK is actually governed and administered and we explore the systems used and the reasons given by governments and authorities that justify our obedience to the State and whether the State enforces our obedience or achieves it in some other way.

Contemporary Government of the United Kingdom. This unit introduces students to a critical and systemic study of the composition, role and power of the legislative and executive branches of UK Government and how these relate to the Judiciary. We also explore the responsibilities and rights of individuals and how we individually relate to the structures of power over us, including how we tackle problems and ideas associated with the European Union and the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

Political Ideas and Concepts: Students will study a range of political theories and democratic systems and ideas in order to explore further the relationship between he individual citizen (or subject) and the State. We will explore political theorists and thinkers. We look at the law, the concepts of rights, liberty and equality; we consider the nature and function of a sovereign state in a globalised world and we consider the advantages of alternative political systems and ideas, including socialism, dictatorships and anarchy.

Political Ideas and Concepts in Practice: Building on the theoretical study in the
previous unit, we look to real life examples in the media and the lives of students
in order to discover the practical implications and realities of a given theory or
idea. Does democracy actually work? How is this squared with voter apathy? Is a
democratic state really the best sort of state? We also look at devolution,
revolution and nationalism and explore how political issues impact economic and
social factors. Finally, we explore diverse issues from taxation to immigration,
defence and education.

Entry requirements

You will need at least 7 B grades at GCSE* (including English and Maths). We normally expect at least a grade A (A* for Further Maths) in subjects which you wish to pursue at A level. 


The A Level is examined by two 2 hour papers.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Mary's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 13 September 2016
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