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Government and Politics

Welcome to Government and Politics.

Among the many benefits of this course, students are encouraged to:

  • develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the structures of authority and power within the UK
  • know and understand the rights and responsibilities of the individual
  • develop an interest in and engagement with contemporary politics

Perhaps the most exciting part of the course, however, is the possibility of visits to governmental and political institutions.

In 2013, Year 13 students made speeches in the House of Lords in The Big Care Debate.

In 2014, AS students visited the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, as part of their study of devolution and Scottish Independence. They carried out a survey of local residents and even got to see the Queen!

In 2015, all politics students are gearing up to raise awareness of the 2015 General Election, by holding a Mock Election on the big day.

Course summary

Politics shapes our lives – what we can do, the type of society we live in, the chances we have to succeed. This course is for people who want to understand more about how politics and government actually work.

 You will learn about the grand ideas and vibrant movements that are transforming the world around us, and also see how seemingly arcane customs and obscure committees hold enormous power.

 At AS, students develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the political system of the UK.

Unit 1: People, Politics and Participation

  • Participation & Voting Behaviour
  • Electoral Systems
  • Political Parties
  • Pressure Groups & Protest Movements

This unit focuses on the theme of political behaviour in the UK. It explores how people's different patterns of participation can be explained and the forms of participation in a democracy.

 The importance of voting behaviour, the influence of electoral systems in communicating political opinion and the controversies surrounding the use of referendums are crucial topics for analysis.

 The principal institutions through which people's participation is achieved: political parties and pressure groups are explored in terms of communicating views, shaping people's political ideas and the acquisition of resources which are likely to make them more powerful within the wider political system.

Unit 2: Governing Modern Britain

  • The British Constitution
  • Parliament
  • The Core Executive
  • Multi-level Governance

This unit focuses on the process of governing the UK, with power dispersed from local to European levels. The extent to which Britain's unique constitution regulates the process of government and maintains the balance between individual rights and the power of the state is explored.

 The role of Westminster in providing a democratic element in government is examined as well as the degree to which power rests in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. The direction which government takes is analysed at the very apex of power in arrangements within the core executive.

 At A2, students concentrate on Political Ideologies. There is a requirement for synoptic assessment and it is expected that students will draw upon and extend the political knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding gained from their AS studies and make the necessary connections between the areas studied.

In the assessment of this unit credit will be given for appropriate references to contemporary developments, issues and debates in the areas covered.

 Unit 3: Ideologies


  • Liberalism
  • Socialism
  • Conservatism
  • Fascism

 Unit 4: Political Issues

Political Issues

  • Ethnicity and Gender
  • The Environment
  • Education
  • The Economy



 Department staff:

Mrs H Matthews (Curriculum Lead) - h.matthews@st-anselms.org.uk 

Miss F Hawkins (Teacher) - f.hawkins@st-anselms.org.uk