A Level Politics
What is it about at sixth-form level?
Politics students are expected to be aware of subsequent developments, such as results of general elections, the appointment of new Prime Ministers, the impact of minority, coalition and majority governments, and the election of new US Presidents, with Brexit falling into the same category. In 2019, Boris Johnson won an election victory with a surprisingly large majority and proceeded to ‘get Brexit done’, while Donald Trump survived his impeachment and trial to carry on as the 45th president of the USA. However, it still took the UK until 31 January 2020 to exit formally from the EU. Why did the June 2016 decision take so long to be finalised? In many senses Brexit is the biggest political event in recent history, and therefore EU remains a key contemporary political issue.
Moreover, the Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and made narrow gains in the Senate in the 2018 mid-term elections. What does this show us about the state of dysfunctional, partisan and polarised American Politics? Both Johnson and Trump were elected with less than 50% of the popular vote which illustrates one of the main problems with using the Post electoral system. With an increase in voter apathy and the polarising politics of populism and nationalism, it will be interesting to see how the Conservative government having such a large parliamentary majority handles the new political landscape from Brexit negotiations and domestic policies to calls for another independence referendum for Scotland.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
Whilst not a prerequisite, an A level in Politics is excellent preparation for pursuing the subject at degree level. It fits well with other humanities subjects, especially PPE, English, and Politics and International Relations. It develops your analytical and critical skills and will teach you how to write essays which highlight and illustrate the complex overlap and interplay among various ideologies. It will enhance your knowledge of the world around you and give you a deeper understanding of what it is to be a citizen.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
You should have a keen interest in current affairs as well as in the politics of the recent past. The course involves a lot of reading and writing, so you should have good communication skills. All students are expected to read widely from the daily press to periodicals such as The Politics Review.
How is the course assessed?
The A level is assessed by three examinations on the three respective units. Each paper lasts 2 hours and each is worth a third of the overall A level.
Core Texts and Suggested Reading
To be confirmed at the start of the course
Pearson Edexcel A level Politics (Paperback):
By Sara Jenkins, David Tuck, John Jefferies
Published by Hodder Education ISBN 978-1510449220
Pearson Edexcel A Level UK Government and Politics Sixth Edition:
By Neil McNaughton, Toby Cooper, Eric Magee
Published by Hodder Education ISNB 978-1398311336
Pearson Edexcel A Level US Government and Politics Sixth Edition:
By Anthony J Bennett, David Tuck, Simon Lemieux
Published by Hodder Education ISNB 978-1398311343
Political Ideas for A Level:
By Neil McNaughton and Richard Kelly
Published by Hodder Education ISBN 978-1471889462
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: Pearson Edexcel 9PL0
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