Curriculum – Government & Politics

Why Study A Level Government & Politics?

Politics is about competition for power. Deciding who is allowed to exercise power and under what circumstances are issues of key interest to political scientists. Ensuring that this power is suitably curbed to avoid abuse is a matter of national importance to many and the history books are full of examples of those who have gone to extreme lengths to establish the political rights we enjoy today. Politics means different things to different people: to some it is a set of guiding principles and even a substitute for religion. At its best it can solve problems, offer alternatives, inspire radical change and allow people to live a better life, but all too often it may also stimulate frustration and anger.

Studying Government & Politics not only develops transferable skills such as essay-writing and presenting an argument, but it can also foster increased political participation, active citizenship and a more fully- functioning democracy. It is an academic subject, well respected by universities, which may facilitate further study in areas such as Law, History, Philosophy and International Relations


A level Edexcel Course Content

Edexcel Paper 1 (UK Politics and Core Ideologies): Students will study democracy and participation, the nature of political parties, different electoral systems, theories of voting behaviour and the impact of the media on politics. Students will also study the philosophical traditions of conservatism, liberalism and socialism, as well as their contemporary manifestations. This exam is 2 hours long and constitutes a third of the total A-Level mark. The examination will consist of two 30 mark questions on political participation and one 24 mark question on political ideologies.


Edexcel Paper 2 (UK Government and Optional Ideologies): Students will study the nature of the British constitution, the role of Parliament, the role of the Prime Minister and the Executive and the relationship between the different branches of the political system. Students will also study a further ideology (ecologism) in depth. This exam is 2 hours long and constitutes a third of the total A-Level mark. The examination will consist of two 30 mark questions on The UK Government and one 24 mark question on the optional political ideology (ecologism).


Edexcel Paper 3 (Global Politics): Students will study the changing nature of globalisation and the state; global governance in political, economic, human rights and environmental dimensions; contemporary shifts in the balance of power between the USA, Russia, China and Europe; the EU and other regional organisations; and the realist and liberal frameworks for explaining international relations. This exam is 2 hours long and constitutes a third of the total A-Level mark. The examination will consist of two 30 mark questions on global politics generally and two shorter 12 mark responses comparing specific aspects of international relations and explanatory frameworks.


NCS Government & Politics Enrichment

Annual Washington/New York Visit to see the White House, Pentagon, UN HQ and the Senate.

Evening lectures at the London School of Economics and Gresham College

University essay-writing competitions (including the R.A. Butler Politics Prize, Trinity College, Cambridge) Visits to key places of relevance including the Houses of Parliament

Mentor/Coaching from an outstanding NCS Mentor


Further reading

Bagehot W- The English Constitution

Griffith J- The Politics of the Judiciary

Hennessey P- The Prime Minister: The Office and its Holders Since 1945

Heywood A- Politics

Heywood A- Political Ideologies: An Introduction


Examination Board: Edexcel

Disclaimer: The information on this page is to be used as guidance only. The course availability and content is subject to change based on demand and time-tabling.

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