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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: Edexcel

Why study Politics?

Politics is a study of power, who has it and how they use it. In A Level Politics we study the key political institutions, and how effective they are at holding those in power to account. We explore some of the most pressing and salient issues in national politics; what will be the outcome of the Brexit negotiations now that we have a hung parliament? Will there be another general election called before the end of the parliament?  Given the record turnout of 18-24 year olds in the 2017 election, will young people continue to participate in politics? Do we have a participation crisis? What are the implications of the Scottish Independence referendum? What would be the implications of the Conservative government repealing the Human Rights Act?

If you have an interest in asking these questions, then you will enjoy this course. Politics is important because it affects everyone and everything, from the way in which GCSEs and A Level courses are structured, to the amount of tax you pay on your income. You may not want a career in politics or even to be active in politics, but to be informed on who the decision makers are, and how decisions are made is vital in a liberal democracy.


What can it lead to?

Students who study Politics A Level can go on to university to study International Relations, Politics, Philosophy, History, Economics or Law, and other humanities and social sciences.

Studying Politics develops a range of skills which are attractive to employers across a broad spectrum of careers:

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Presenting well-constructed arguments both orally and in writing
  • Communicating clearly and concisely
  • Thinking objectively

Politics graduates can go on to work in Politics, either as a politician or for an MP as a researcher, local or devolved government  the Civil Service, journalism, research and education, charities and development, law & legal activities.

How is the course organised?

Exam board: Edexcel

Paper 1: UK Politics (democracy & participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour & the media, liberalism, conservativism, socialism)

Paper 2: UK Government (the Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister & the executive, relationships between the branches, a non compulsory ideology)

Paper 3: Comparative Politics (the US Constitution & federalism, US Congress, US Presidency, US Supreme Court & civil rights, democracy & participation, comparative theories)

How is the course assessed?

External Assessment

Each paper is worth 33% of the qualification. Each paper is examined in a 2 hour written exam.

Papers 1 & 2 will have a 30 mark source based essay question, a 30 mark essay question and 24 mark essay question.

Paper 3 will have 2 12 mark questions and 2 30 mark essay questions.

Internal Assessment

In order to prepare for the exams you will regularly be set essay questions to complete, and be provided with feedback in line with exam board criteria to help you improve

What do I need to qualify for this course?

Entry requirements: You will need a grade 4 (C) or above in GCSE English Language.

This is a contemporary politics course and to do well you will need to follow the news every day, and read a quality broadsheet newspaper at least once a week.

You will be required to read extensively around the subject.  

It is also worth bearing in mind that Politics is an essay based course, and you will need to enjoy writing.

Who are the teachers?

Politics is taught by Ms Gard and Mr Riley.

For further information please contact Ms Gard, Head of Politics.


What do students say about the course?

“Studying Politics at St Charles made the process of learning enjoyable because of the great resources that were provided.”

 “Politics at St Charles opens your mind and encourages you to engage with the way in which our country works… passionate teachers make lessons that much more interesting and enjoyable.” 

“The most interesting and contemporary subject you could possible choose! The teaching is amazing, I’ve never felt so confident before an exam!” 

“A well rounded academic subject that touches upon different discipline such as history, and teaches you where real power lies.” 

“The teachers are amazing and very passionate about government and politics.” 

What Else Should I Know About?

We visit Parliament where students can take a tour, attend a workshop and meet our local MP. Students will also visit the UK Supreme Court, and may have the opportunity to see a court in session.

The department has established links with a number of universities including Queen Mary University of London, LSE, and SOAS where our students can attend lectures and taster days.