Government and Politics
What do we study?
The AQA Politics course delves deep into the bases of western democracy through an exploration of the British and American political system. The course aims to inspire students not just to learnt the technical differences between the American and British political systems but to examine the strengths and weaknesses of each and understand what events shaped democracy in each of these places. This is supplemented by a deeper look at different political ideologies which each in the own way have tried to transform the modern world. From the deep history of conservativism to the arrival of socialism in the latter 19th century to feminism in the 20th.
The British Political system is one of the oldest in the world which brings it a sense of prestige but also in some quarters a feeling it is a little antiquated. Students will explore their strengths and weaknesses of the British Parliamentary System and learn how a system that developed slowly over hundreds of years has responded to the challenges of the modern world.
The US Political establishment is seen as something of a younger brother to the British Parliamentary democracy. When it was formed huge consideration was given to how to ensure the US political system avoided some of the pitfalls that the British system seemed to endure. Students will be tasked with understanding modern developments like the rise of partisan politics within the American system to the arrival of Donald Trump and a different form of diplomacy. In order to do this students will need to grasp how the US system developed and where its fundamental strengths and weaknesses lie.
Behind every political system is some sort of ideology. Each and every political party believes it can make their world a better place and is informed by the racial, social and economic position. Paper 3 looks at the bastions of left and right wing politics as well as the new arrivals of the 20th century like feminism which have demanded politicians think and reflect on the systems they have contributed to.
Beyond the curriculum
Students benefit from a range of materials made available by the Politics Department and the Librarian to ensure they are able to extend their learning beyond the confines of the classroom. Access to online journals and an expertly selected series of literature in the library help students to further their grasp of detail.
Politics is a course that demands students stay at the fore-front of current affairs and the department strives to ensure students are exposed to a range of opinions and debates. This offers many opportunities for students to invite in guest speakers as well as visit live Q&A’s with some of the political actors who shape our current world.
Where can Politics take you
Politics equips students with a political career in mind with the basis of knowledge they need to understand the system they wish to enter whether this be as an MP or political adviser. However, Politics is so much more than this. It enables students to understand a wider spectrum of political views and how to make their opinions heard which will set students up to be opinionated and active contributors to University life as well as in the workplace. Careers in Law, Media and television is where some ex-politics students have found themselves after University where their ability to understand wider viewpoints as well as challenge them have helped them to thrive.