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This course covers two main aspects: the workings of the British political system in Year 12 followed by a study of the American political arrangements during Year 13.

In Year 12 students study the functions of Parliament and the role of political parties in the running of our political system. Issues arising from this include the position of our changing constitution, the future of the House of Lords, the issue of an 'elective dictatorship' in the Commons and the pressures caused by membership of the European Union on our parliamentary sovereignty. Democracy and the service elections provides is also scrutinised with questions about Britain's democratic credentials examined.

By Year 13 the course switches focus to global politics and issues surrounding international relations. Year 13 students will study the key aspects of the US political system including; the separation of powers, the process of elections for Presidential candidates and how race relations have evolved since the Civil Rights Movement with focus on the election and term of the USA’s first African American President. Further study surrounding changes to national and international security takes place in Unit 4 discussing and analgising current issues surrounding terrorism in a post 9/11 world.

Year 12:

Unit 1: Democracy and Political Participation
  • What makes democracy so special?
  • Do we get the representation we deserve?
  • Do elections change anything?
  • Who is running our political parties?
  • Can pressure groups have any effect on thegovernment?
Unit 2: Governing the UK
  • What does the UK Constitution say?
  • Should the UK have codified constitutionlike the USA?
  • How does Parliament work?
  • Does Parliament do anything for us?
  • Are our Prime Ministers acting more like Presidents?
  • What power do judges wield?

Year 13:

Unit 3:  Representative processes of the USA
  • How can a constitution written 400 years ago be applied to citizens of the USA today?
  • How is power separated in the US?
  • How is the President elected?
  • Who are the two main US political parties and what polices do they adopt?
  • How effective are US pressure groups in influencing Congress?
  • How far have race relations advance to allow the USA’s first Black President?
Unit 4
  • What is the ‘War on Terror’?
  • How has life changed since 9/11?
  • Is there a real threat of a nuclearworld war?
  • Is international aid ever breaking thepoverty cycle?
  • How can international developmentreduce global poverty?

The course is examined by four written examinations; two in Year 12 and two inYear 13, with a mixture of shorter and longer essay style responses needed.

Why choose this course?

  • You are interested in politics or political issues.
  • You are happy to support your learning through wider reading in political issues.
  • You are choosing Geography, History,Sociology, Economics or another complementary subject.
  • You are choosing sciences, maths or arts and want a contrasting subject to study.
  • You relish lively and challenging discussion and debate

What will I need to be successful?

  • A confident written style; writing needs to be accurate and detailed. You will have skills in analysis and evaluation.
  • A desire to extend your understanding of politics through wider reading.
  • A willingness to be objective; to be open to others viewpoints and opinions, to want to listen as well as be heard.
  • A desire to succeed and a willingness to take responsibility.