AS Level Government and Politics

Curriculum Intent

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – attributed to Pericles, 5th century BC.

Politics is the study of people and power structures. It is the study of how Britain works and how the wider world can be understood through different models. To study Government and Politics is to analyse the levers of power and to understand what is required to manipulate them, to tap into the structures and ideas that shape out very waking moment whether we accept them or not. To study Government and Politics is to prepare to be the leaders and opinion-makers of tomorrow and to harness the ability to change lives and communities to your own leadership and control your destiny just a little bit more.

Politics AS-Level will give you a good understanding of the factors that are driving change all around us and how to make a difference yourself. Unless we understand how government works, we will never be able to play a full and active part in society. The study of politics takes in grand issues of government and justice, but also take you behind these formal facades and seeks to understand the crucial questions of where power lies and helps you to understand ‘who gets what, how and why’.

The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to:

  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context , both within the United Kingdom (UK) and globally
  • develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes
  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding if the influences and interests that have and impact on decisions in government and politics
  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups
  • develop the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgments
  • develop an interest in, and engage with, contemporary politics

Curriculum Overview

Murray Park will follow the AS level Edexcel Government and Politics course comprising two components. This course is a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain a level 3 qualification and gain UCAS points.

Component 1: UK Politics

This section explores the nature of politics and how people engage in the political process in the UK. Students will investigate in detail how people and politics interact. They will explore the emergence and development of the UK’s democratic system and the similarities, differences, connections and parallels between direct and indirect democracy. They will focus on the role and scope of political parties that are so central to contemporary politics, including the significance of the manifestos they publish at election time and their relevance to the mandate of the resulting government.

This section allows students to understand the individual in the political process and their relationship with the state and their fellow citizens. Students will examine how electoral systems in the UK operate and how individuals and groups are influenced in their voting behaviour and political actions. This component will further examine the role of the media in contemporary politics. It will also give students an understanding of voting patterns and voting behaviour.

Students of Government and Politics must learn to understand, analyse and evaluate power and relationships in society. With these transferable skills, Government and Politics can be paired with a wide range of subjects and careers.

There are four content areas in UK Politics:

  1. Democracy and participation
  2. Political parties
  3. Electoral systems
  4. Voting behaviour and the media.

Component two: UK Government

Politics is ultimately about people, but most political decisions are made by a branch of government whose roles and powers are determined by a set of rules: the constitution. This component is fundamental to understanding the nature of UK government, since it enables students to understand where, how and by whom political decisions are made. The component also gives students a base of comparison to other political systems.

The component introduces students to the set of rules governing politics in the UK, the UK constitution, which is different in nature from most of the rest of the world. It further introduces students to the specific roles and powers of the different major branches of the government – legislative, executive, and judiciary – as well as the relationships and balance of power between them, and considers where sovereignty now lies within this system. Students will explore the following key themes: the relative powers of the different branches of UK government; the extent to which the constitution has changed in recent years; the desirability of further change; and the current location of sovereignty within the UK political system.

There are four content areas:

  1. The constitution
  2. Parliament
  3. Prime Minister and executive
  4. Relationships between the branches.

Extra-curricular activities

We organise day trips to support students with their studies and hope to take students on a tour of Parliament. We also have a good relationship with our local MP and have hosted a Q&A session with our MP answering questions from our students. We have also welcomed the local MP into the virtual classroom and students had the opportunity to discuss political theory and events. We are hoping to run more sessions in the future.

There is also a KS4 Debate and Politics club. We meet weekly and run mock debates and trials throughout the year. We take part in the Derby city debate competition with the University of Derby. Students have the opportunity to work with trainee law students and current solicitors to improve their debating skills.

Useful websites