Politics is one of the largest departments in the College with over 120 pupils choosing to take the subject at A level. Few academic subjects can claim to be so central to our understanding of everyday life and by choosing to study it, pupils find out how and why politics dominates domestic and international news as well as how political decision making affects so many facets of our lives.
The Government and Politics syllabus follows the Edexcel exam board. The linear specification has three components. Component one focuses on UK politics and core political ideas. It introduces pupils to the key elements of communication between the government and the people in Britain, encouraging them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation. Its core topics include democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media. Within the core political ideas topic, we study liberalism, conservatism and socialism.
In the second component, we look at the major governmental processes in the UK and pupils are encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions and the relationship amongst them within the context of multilevel governance. Core topics are the Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Executive and the relationship between the branches. For the optional political idea, we study feminism.
In component three, we examine important issues in recent global politics and how these are dealt with at global level. This includes theories of global politics, sovereignty and globalisation, global governance (political and economic, human rights and the environment), power and developments, regionalism and the European Union. Many pupils opt to study for a Politics and/or International Relations degree course which opens up diverse career opportunities including journalism, business, the armed forces and the civil service.
There are many options available for extending political interest and knowledge outside of timetabled lessons. The vibrant Politics and International Society hosts talks from eminent public figures and political commentators and gives pupils an insight into the realities of the wider political world.
Mock elections are held at the time of the General Election. The Politics and International Society also hosts a wide range of informal activities, from debates to book reviews. The Department offers visits to places of interest such as the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court, and every year there is a study trip to either Washington DC, Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Geneva or Berlin.