The study of Government and Politics provides pupils with relevant and stimulating material aimed at developing their skills and critical awareness of political ideas, institutions and processes, including a particular emphasis on Northern Irish politics. The course encourages students to explore and examine their own values, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions, making judgements and ultimately reaching decisions regarding the society in which they live.
Like other AS /A2 subjects, the course is divided into 2 modules at AS and a further 2 at A2.
AS Module 2 – In this module you will study the British Political Process: the institutions, procedures and key personalities from past and present that have helped to shape the United Kingdom into its current form. There are several key themes that run through this course from the ability of Parliament and the Judiciary to check the increasing power of the Executive to the arguments surrounding the current role of the Prime Minister and the accusation that their power is more akin to that of the US President.
In Year 14, the focus moves to American politics. In A2 Module 1 pupils get the opportunity to compare the US political process with the British system. We attempt to understand the US system in a similar way that we approach the study of the British system at AS by looking at institutions, procedures and key personalities. In studying the US Constitution we will be answering questions such as What rights do American citizens have? Does the United States Constitution actually work fairly for all Americans? We look at the ability of the US Congress and Supreme Court to hold the Executive to account and the role of the US President; is he really the most powerful man in the world? Throughout the module we compare the US and British system to see if similarities and differences exist, all the while attempting to assess which is more effective.
A2 Module 2 – In this module pupils get an opportunity to study the means and distribution of power in a local and global context. Pupils study concepts such as coercion, legitimacy and stability in assessing how power is used by states and individuals. Then we go on to look at the different theories explaining how power is distributed in society, with the ideas and exponents' of Elitist, Pluralist, Marxist and Feminist theories getting closest attention.
What do I need to know before taking the courses?
You do not need to have studied politics for GCSE in order to take an AS or A2 level in the subject. It is more important to have an enquiring and lively mind, along with an interest in politics and current affairs, a desire to explore new ideas and an ability to communicate your ideas effectively.
What kind of student is this course suitable for?
This course will appeal to those students who:
• Enjoy voicing their opinions, debating current affairs and political issues generally
• Like doing a subject that affects their everyday lives
• Have a keen appreciation of the need to participate in society
• Aren't afraid of dealing with controversial matters.
WHAT WE STUDY IN Government and Politics:
All papers are a combination of short structured answers and more extended writing.
EXAM BOARD CCEA
AS Module 1 The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland
AS Module 2 The British Political Process (60%)
A2 Module 1 Comparative Government UK / USA (30% A2)
Module 2 Political power and Political Ideas (20% A2)