Politics A Level

(equivalent to one A Level)


In the first year of global politics you look at the UK political system and how it functions, before going on to look at a range of core ideologies, finally finishing in the second year with a detailed look into either American or global politics.

Unit 1: UK Politics & Key Political Ideas

This Unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the governed in the UK. Topics studied include Parties, Democracy, Voting Behaviour and Elections. Students are encouraged to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring strong lines of representative democracy and high levels of political participation. Students will also look at the three key political ideologies, of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. This topic introduces an overview of what the ideologies stand for, as well as some of the key thinkers of the ideology. Students also consider how they can apply the ideology to current political situations.


Unit 2: UK Government & Additional Political Ideas

This Unit introduces students to the key institutions that wield power in the UK and the concepts that underpin and drive them. Topics include the Executive, Parliament and the Constitution. This unit encourages students to develop a critical understanding of their role, effectiveness and inter-relationship. Students will also look at a further ideology in Feminism, gaining an overview of what the ideology stands for, as well as some of the key thinkers.


Unit 3: Global Politics or Government and Politics of the USA

In the second year of their A level students choose to study one of these options. ‘Global Politics’ gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of international topics such as Globalisation, Human Rights and Terrorism, alongside looking at institutions such as the UN and the EU. In ‘Government and Politics of the USA’ students will look at the structure and workings of government and democracy in the USA, whilst also gaining an understanding of the theories used to compare systems of government internationally.

Course details

What are the entry requirements?

A minimum of five GCSE subjects at grade 4 or above including Grade 4 or above in English Language. A good grade in History would also be an advantage but it is anticipated that all who choose the subject will be newcomers to it.

How will I be assessed?

Unit Topic Assessment %
Unit 1 UK Politics & Key Political Ideas Written Exam: 2 hours 33.3% 
Unit 2 UK Government & Additional Political Ideas Written Exam: 2 hours 33.3%
Unit 3 Global Politics or Government and Politics of the USA Written Exam: 2 hours 33.3%

All written papers will comprise of short answer questions, stimulus questions and essay questions. There is no coursework element.

What extra work can I do?

Wide reading is helpful and encouraged. Students will be expected to make use of the extensive materials relevant to Politics in the library. These include academic textbooks, in addition to the regular compulsory reading of a quality daily newspaper and a quality political periodical. Frequent visits to the BBC website are also advised.

What is the department like?

Almost 200 students study Politics at Godalming College over the two years. Politics is part of the History and Politics Department which is one of the largest and most successful places to study in the college.

Guiding the students through the course are staff with high levels of expertise, enthusiasm and experience in the field. Classes are invariably vibrant and interesting and fuelled by the hot political issues of the day. An interest in current affairs is essential for the course and we aim to develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes.

We prepare our students to be active and knowledgeable members of our society and also to develop the skills required to argue a case with relevance and coherence. Our high standards lead to very strong results and value-added scores indicate that the Department adds strong positive value to the progression and attainment of students. As a result of their experience of Politics at Godalming, many students choose to read the subject at major British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

To support learning, a variety of different teaching approaches are adopted. We have an excellent collection of up-to-date material, both in the Department and in the College Library and host a lively Facebook forum that provides a space for student debate. Work done in the classroom is supported by other activities, such as attending Conferences in London delivered by politicians, political journalists and academics.

In recent years we have had visits from Members of the European Parliament, Jeremy Hunt, MP for Surrey South West and Baroness Parminter. Election candidates are invariably invited to campaign in College during election periods, submitting their policies and proposals to the scrutiny of the student body. Political enrichment trips to destinations such as the Houses of Parliament and also to New York and Geneva to help broaden and deepen the experience of the Politics student at Godalming College.

Future Careers and Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

Politics is taken by students doing a wide range of other subjects, in both the Arts and Sciences. At this level, Politics can be a truly complementary subject, extending and balancing a programme of study drawn from any part of the College curriculum.

Our students go on to a wide range of courses and careers. A considerable number will take a degree in the subject, or a related field, such as History, English, Law, Economics, Philosophy, or Theology. In addition to a wider angled view of many contemporary events and issues, those trained in Politics have developed skills of critical analysis and judgement; these are highly valued in many professions, including Law, Management, Finance, Diplomacy, Journalism and, of course, Politics.

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