Few subjects are as relevant to our everyday lives as Government and Politics. Our lives are affected at every level by political decisions, whether we are aware of this or not. By studying GCE Government and Politics students will gain an understanding of local, national and international political systems. Students will learn about rights and responsibilities, gain an understanding of the factors that affect political decisions and how political ideas influence world events.
Studying Government and Politics will allow students to develop analytical and evaluation skills as they debate topical and controversial issues, study different ideological viewpoints and form their own political opinions. These skills are invaluable in many jobs. The ability to analyse and then prioritise information is vital to decision making. This wide and varied skillset helps students to keep their career options open.
Government & Politics
Mr C McLaren – (HoD)
Mr C McLaughlin
Students will study two modules in Year 13 and two further modules in Year 14. A-Level Government and Politics is 100% examination based with no coursework.
At Key Stage 5 the Department follows the CCEA specification:
AS 1 & 2 are worth 100% of the AS qualification and 30% of the overall A-Level qualification.
- The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland
- The Good Friday Agreement and power-sharing in NI
- The Northern Ireland Assembly and its functions
- The effectiveness of the NI Assembly
- The Executive Committee and its effectiveness
- The NI Political Parties – background, role, strategies and policies
The British Political Process
- Parliament – the main functions of the House of Commons and House of Lords
- The effectiveness of the House of Commons and House of Lords
- The role of the Prime Minister and cabinet
- The powers and limitations of the Prime Minister
- The Executive and the legislature
- The role, independence and effectiveness of the judiciary in holding the Executive to account
- Pressure groups and their role on the policy making process
- Different types of, tactics employed by and impact of pressure groups
A2 1 & 2 are worth 70% of the overall A-Level qualification
A Comparative Study of the Government and Politics of the United States of America and the United Kingdom
- How does the Constitution define the role of Congress?
- What are the main roles and functions of Congress?
- How effectively is Congress able to fulfil its main roles?
- What is the impact of pressure/lobby groups on the legislative branch?
- What is the relationship between the Executive and Congress?
- Does the President control Congress or does Congress control the President?
- How does the Constitution define the role of the President?
- How is the President supported by the executive branch?
- What are the constraints on the powers of the Executive?
- How do US pressure/lobby groups impact on the executive branch?
- How and why has the role of the President changed over time?
- What is the relationship between Congress and the Executive?
- What are the similarities and differences in the structures, powers and operation of Congress and Parliament?
- How do the UK and US legislatures compare as law-making, scrutiny and representative bodies?
- How do the powers of the Prime Minister and President compare?
- How do the limits on prime ministerial and presidential power compare?
- Is the UK or the US executive the more effective government?
- Political Power
- Power, authority and democracy
- Coercion, legitimacy, dictatorship, authoritarianism, oligarchy, human and civil rights
- Factors affecting legitimacy, including social, economic, religious and international factors
- How legitimacy is created and maintained in a range of political systems
- The nature and effectiveness of authoritarianism and coercion
- The reasons for state survival and state collapse
- Pluralism, Marxism, elite theory and feminism
- Diffusion of power, ruling class, elite rule and patriarchy
- Current affairs play a key role in development knowledge and understanding of key themes of the course.
- Students will be encouraged to read the political sections of daily newspapers, listen to radio news on politics, watch political programmes on TV, follow key political stories and developments on social media and visit credible political sections of websites and blog sites.