This popular A Level subject tends to attract students interested in the world around them and who want to understand the ideologies and processes that have shaped it. In essence, Politics is the study of the use and abuse of power. The course covers questions all the way from whether the UK is still truly a democracy, debates on whether human beings are fundamentally selfish all the way through to analysing whether China will soon replace the USA as the world’s main superpower. Whether your interests are in UK Politics, International Relations or Philosophy this course will have something for you. Most of all, if you enjoy debating, having an opinion and examining the news this is likely a subject you will enjoy. Politics A Level is often paired with subjects like History, Economics and Geography.
In Year 12 the course focuses on two overlapping aspects of UK Politics. One half examines on the weird and wonderful world of Westminster and examines whether our Parliament is still fit for purpose, whether Prime Ministers are becoming too powerful and whether our relatively new ‘Supreme Court’ are doing a good enough job at keeping our politicians in check. As part of this the cohort visit Parliament and get a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of our political system. The other half zooms out and looks at our relationship with politics as citizens and voters. Is our voting system fair? Why do people vote the way they do? How powerful really is the media in influencing our opinions? This is a living, breathing course that encourages students to be constantly on top of developments in the UK and abroad. The Year 12 course provides non-stop opportunities for debate, discussion and disagreement whilst also teaching students to appreciate other points of view and analyse conflicting standpoints in the process of developing their own opinions. In the Politics department we are passionate about students challenging their assumptions and having the opportunity to find out for themselves what they truly believe in.
Towards the end of Year 12 and into Year 13 we move on to examine the history of political thought and consider how the great ideologies have developed, changed and mutated over the years. Here we look at the ideologies of Socialism, Liberalism, Conservatism and Nationalism. This segment of the course provides an opportunity to think about politics in more abstract and philosophical terms away from the day to day nitty gritty of Westminster. Should the government stay out of our lives? Does Nationalism always promote violence and exclusion? Has modern day socialism abandoned its roots?
Finally, the later half of Year 13 is focused on Global Politics. Here we ask the really big questions about the future of our planet. Can national governments come together to find common answers to common problems such as climate change? Does BREXIT spell the beginning of the end for the European Union? How real is the much-heralded ‘Rise of China’ as a new superpower? This topic allows students to look beyond our borders and consider how the process of globalisation is changing almost every aspect of our politics and our lives.
Finally, outside of lessons the Politics department is passionate about engaging the younger years with politics. We believe it is essential that all students have a degree of political literacy so as to make them active, engaged and empowered citizens. We have held many mock elections and mock referendums which have seen each form group becoming constituencies and students taking on the role of party representatives educating the school about their party’s policies and beliefs. We also organise an enriching roster of outside speakers to broaden the horizons of our students. This has included sitting Members of Parliament, leading lecturers from various Russell Group Universities, top lawyers involved in the Article 50 case and big names like the BBC’s Nick Robinson.
The majority of our students go on to study politics related subjects at university with several each year being offered places for PPE and HSPS at Oxford or Cambridge. The Politics Department is committed to enabling Owenians to become true ‘political animals’ with an interest in the subject and the world around them that goes well beyond the classroom.
Mr. Latham (Head of Politics)