Government and Politics


Head of Humanities Faculty

Mrs C McGahey

Head of Government and Politics

Mr P Wright


Politics is the activities associated with the Governance of the countries and people. It is especially associated with the debate between parties. Politics exists because people disagree. They disagree about how they should live (moral questions), about who should get what (resource questions) and about who should make decisions (power questions).

As an activity, politics is the process through which people with different ideas, values, opinions and interests attempt to find a way of living together within the same society. Politics therefore seeks to establish the general rules under which we live and it is those rules that make orderly existence possible. Without this society would degenerate into chaos and totally un-functional. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that politics was the “master science”: that is, nothing less than the activity through which people try to improve their lives and create the “good society”.

Government and Politics is one of the subjects taught in the Humanities Faculty at AS and A2 level. There are 4 modules over the two years, two AS and two A2. Students sit both AS modules in the May of Year 12.(6GP01, 6GP02) Students will then go on to sit two further modules at A2 level in Year 13.(6GP03, 6GP04) Both modules will be sat in June of year 13.

Year 12

This year the focus is on UK Government and Politics. The course includes the following:-

Unit 1 (6GP01) People and Politics

This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people and encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation.  This will include the following:-

Democracy and Political Participation, democracy legitimacy, representation, direct democracy, representative democracy, liberal democracy , parliamentary democracy, political participation, referendum, party policies. Also Ideas political party left/right, liberalism, conservatism, socialism, factionalism, consensus politics adversary politics. Elections majoritarian representation mandate proportional representation electoral reform party system strong government stable government. Pressure Groups sectional/promotional groups insider/outsider groups pluralism elitism functional representation pluralist democracy.

Unit 2 6GP02 Governing the UK

This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions and the relationship amongst them in the context of multilevel governance. This will include the following:-

The Constitution.  Constitutionalism, codified/uncodified constitution,  unitary/federal constitution,  parliamentary sovereignty,  pooled sovereignty,  devolution,  quasi-federalism,  elective dictatorship.

Parliament. Westminster model,  representative and responsible government, parliamentary government, presidential government, fusion/separation of powers, bicameralism, accountability.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet. Cabinet government, core executive, prime ministerial government, presidentialism, political leadership, collective responsibility, individual responsibility.

Judges and Civil Liberties. Judiciary, judicial independence, judicial neutrality, civil liberty/civil liberties, rule of law.

Year 13

This year the focus is on USA Government and Politics. The course includes the following:-

Unit 3 Topic C: Representative Processes in the USA

This topic looks at the representative processes of the US political system and considers their adequacy in terms of popular participation and full democracy. This will include the following:-

Elections and Voting.  Primary and caucus elections, propositions, partisanship, invisible primaries, national party conventions, presidential debates, congressional elections, mid-term elections

Political Parties. Party decline/renewa,l two-party system, conservative, liberalism.

Pressure Groups. Public interest group,s private interest groups, lobbying, Racial and Ethnic Politics, civil rights, multiculturalism/ multiracialism, black nationalism, ethnic coalitions and conflicts, affirmative action.

Unit 4   Extended themes in Political analysis

Topic C: Governing the USA

This topic examines the institutional framework of US government and considers the interrelationships between its legislative, executive and judicial processes. This will include the following:-

The Constitution. Separation of powers, checks and balances, Constitutional rights, Congress. Representation government, gridlock, the committee system of Congress. Presidency. Presidential system, imperial presidency, Executive Office of the President (EXOP), Cabinet, Federal Bureaucracy, new federalism. Supreme Court. Judicial review, judicial independence, due process.

Homework: Homework is set every week; at times every lesson. It involves note taking, reading, research, completion of worksheets, essay planning and writing and revision.

Other Useful Information 

5 ways I can help my son/daughter


Talk to your child about what they have been studying in school. Ask them to explain key concepts to you.


Debate topical issues, demonstrating a balanced argument. 


Watch the news and read news articles with your child asking them questions and ask them to give their opinions.


Encourage them to read around the subject, weekly papers and magazines.


Watch ‘Question Time’ and the news regularly.