A Level

Awarding Body: Pearson

Course Description

**Previously known as Government & Politics**

The course is an excellent choice for students with an interest in politics, society, current affairs, debate and arguing! You will also develop skills of communication, analysis, and evaluation, and the ability to consider a wide range of viewpoints, all of which are practised regularly through discussion and debate. It is a modern and energising course which may cause you to reassess your own values and beliefs.

There are no additional entry requirements for this course. Please refer to the basic entry requirements.

You do not need to have any experience or understanding of politics to take the course – however, an enjoyment of discussion, debate and argument is useful.

As an international student you must:

  • Demonstrate a suitable level of academic English, normally at CEFR level B1. For Student Visa applications Portsmouth College recommends a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 overall (with no component lower than 5) to best succeed in your studies.
  • Demonstrate that you are competent to study at Level 3 in your chosen subjects during your application, including certificates of your qualifications and subject specific requirements such as evidence of an art portfolio for entry on to one of our Art courses.
  • Successfully complete a Skype interview with the College to discuss and assess your subject choices.

Students study the political systems of the UK and USA. British topics include political parties, pressure groups and types of electoral systems. We also examine recent democratic controversies such as Brexit and the powers of Parliament, the Prime Minister and judiciary, plus the political ideas of Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Anarchism. US topics include the role of the president, electoral systems and the major parties – Democrats and Republican. We examine the uncomfortable relationship the USA has with racial and ethnic politics, the Constitution and the Supreme Court, as well as the importance of Federalism and the role of Congress.

The course produces well-rounded, highly capable students, who are prepared to challenge existing ideas through a wide range of media. You will be able to produce clear, well-structured and persuasive arguments that will demonstrate your ability to analyse, evaluate and reason. You will develop an extensive knowledge and understanding of a wide range of political issues and current affairs in the UK, USA and abroad, and you will have consistent opportunities to practise and improve your communication skills by presenting information to the class. This includes participating in class discussions and debates – you will argue every week! You will also be able to interpret graphical information and numerical data concerning election results and electoral systems, and research information from a variety of sources.

There are three exams at the end of the second year of the course. Students will receive consistent support throughout the course to prepare them for the final assessment – tests, quizzes, practice exams, plus a wide range of interactive and topical online learning, making use of social media platforms and state of the art e-learning.

There will be study trips to Parliament, offsite politics conferences and a chance to participate in BBC Question Time. Guest speakers such as both local MPs will come to the classes for question and answer sessions. There is also an internal College politics debate competition and a chance to represent the College in the Hampshire competition. You will also have an opportunity to take part in our fantastic residential study trips to Washington and New York, USA – the nerve centres of American politics!

This course enables you to be ready for the world of work with our E6 Programme which integrates opportunity into academic study. We work closely with local MPs and councillors to explore placement opportunities, and have active links with our local universities and employers to ensure your qualifications will give you every possible opportunity in the future.

A Level Politics has become a hugely popular and sought after course, and offers valuable preparation for study on a wide variety of subject-specific and combined university courses. The transferable skills of analysis and evaluation you will gain also provide extensive employment opportunities in areas such as management, advertising, law, the civil service, local government and journalism.

Mock exams will take place in April of your first year and your final exams will be in the first two weeks of the June of your second year. The residential study trips to the USA will take place in January/February of each academic year.