Curriculum – Government and Politics

Curriculum – Government and Politics

Government and Politics

The Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

The study of Government and Politics at A level is an academically rigorous subject that will develop analytical skills as well as ability to write essays, formulate arguments and engage in debate. Students’ attitudes and opinions of the world around them will be challenged and they will be nurtured into developing their views of the world. Through the study of the British Political system students will gain a deep understanding of the society and structures of power within which they will live as adults. This includes the study of Parliament’s functions as well as law and the judiciary, analysis of pressure groups and the study and evaluation of the British constitution. Students will therefore be personally equipped to thrive in the next stages of life and develop them into active citizens who can inspire change and lead within their communities. Through the study of global politics and power structures students are encouraged to think critically about the most pressing challenges to mankind including climate change, conflict, human rights, poverty and global governance. Students will be forced to re-examine their world views, become independent thinkers and develop their empathy for citizens of the globe. Their study of Global Politics in year 13 will extend to analysing the power of states and the impact of the UN and other world organisations. The programme of study in Government and Politics will challenge and inspire students and ultimately lead them into a lifelong engagement with society and current affairs which is both personally fulfilling and conducive to building a generation capable of coping with the challenges and changes that will inevitably face them. The students of Government and Politics will gain the world view, analytical ability and depth of understanding that will truly set them apart in their future endeavours.

What does it feel like to be a student in the Government and Politics Department?

The study of Politics is a deeply enriching and rewarding experience. In the course of your study you will learn to question the world around you, think more deeply about the world and key global crises such as conflicts, human rights abuses, climate change and the causes of poverty. In the study of these topics you will develop empathy and knowledge of key global crises facing the international community. You will learn about the current political parties as well as studying the philosophical ideologies behind them which will give you a deeper understanding of your own political identity and thus develop your own original and unique beliefs. The complex nature of British Politics will give you an insight into our rich history and unique traditions and political processes.

You will also have the opportunity to take part in extra- curricular learning including visiting Parliament and the Supreme Courts, taking part in Model UN competitions and running mock elections in school. Students of politics also enjoy writing articles on political issues to submit to our termly Social Sciences magazine in school. We have also had the opportunity for students to travel to New York and Washington to take part in the Global Young Leaders competition which is an incredibly inspiring and competitive international event.

The study of Politics demands a commitment to keeping up with current affairs which will help develop your understanding of the world and of accessing news which will set you on a path for life-long learning and reading. The key skills in Politics include the development of your ability to debate and analyse conflicting viewpoints which will force you to engage with others with opposing views and encourage resilience as well as the ability to reflect and adapt. The focus on debate and current affairs means students of Politics will experience lessons that are thought provoking and engaging. The emphasis on reading, debate and analysis of political philosophy are academically rigorous and will prepare you well for undergraduate study. Many students of Politics have gone on to study at Oxbridge, Warwick, York and many more Russell Group establishments, with many opting for pursuing the study or Politics, courses in International Relations or PPE. Overall, you will leave the course with a greater understanding of the world and of your position within it.

Journey

Government and Politics Curriculum

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the A-Level specification for Government and Politics. The SHSG Government and Politics curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to a cultural capital in Government and Politics that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

The Government and Politics curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, performances, presentations

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from Key Stage 4

Students will be building upon essay writing skills and analytical skills developed in their studies at Key Stage 4. No prior political knowledge is required.

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the Edexcel specification, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the specification. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Government and Politics intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 12

Term 1

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

  • Introduction to the course and key terms

Constitution topic introduction

  • History/ 5 main Sources of the constitution
  • Historical documents
  • Twin pillars of the constitution
  • Constitutional reforms
  • Devolution
  • Rights in context (Component 1 topic 1.4)

 

Teacher 1 (half term 2) –

  Constitution topic continued

  • Uncodified vs codified debate
  • End of unit test

Parliament topic

  • Introduction/ mapping of both houses, what do they know?
  • Key powers of the HOC and HOL
  • Selection of members
  • Functions of parliament overview
  • Function 1 – representation
  • Function 2 – scrutiny (including work of Select Committees)
  • Function 3 – accountability (PMQs)
  • Function 4 – legislating

 

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

  • Introductory lessons

Core political ideologies

Liberalism

  • Core ideas
  • Key thinkers and beliefs
  • Principles
  • State, society, human nature, economy
  • Differing strands and tensions

 

Teacher 2 (half term 2) –

Core political ideologies

Conservatism

  • Core ideas
  • Key thinkers and beliefs
  • Principles
  • State, society, human nature, economy
  • Differing strands and tensions

 

Teacher 3 (half term 1) –

 

Democracy and pressure groups

  • Democracy- direct and representative features
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Franchise – milestone developments in widening of the franchise
  • Arguments for expanding the franchise
  • Pressure Groups methods
  • Case study of two pressure groups tactics
  • Impact of other groups including think tanks, lobbyists, corporations

 

Teacher 3 (half term 2) –

 

Electoral Systems

  • Elections functions
  • FPTP
  • AMS
  • STV
  • SV
  • Advantages/ disadvantages of each
  • Comparison of FPTP to a different electoral system in a devolved parliament/assembly

Term 2

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

Parliament topic continued

  • Reform of the House of Lords – possibilities and benefits
  • Powers of HOC v HOL
  • End of Unit test

 

PM and executive topic

  • Introductory lesson
  • Cabinet – role and composition
  • Power of the cabinet vs PM
  • Ministerial and collective responsibility

 

 

Teacher 1 (half term 2) –

 

PPES

1 Week revision and then 2 weeks for PPEs.

PM and executive topic

  • PM case studies
  • Sources of PM power
  • Limits on PM power

Essay planning/ exam focus for PM power.

 

 

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

 

Core political ideologies

Socialism

  • Core ideas
  • Key thinkers and beliefs
  • Principles
  • State, society, human nature, economy

Differing strands and tensions

 

Teacher 2 (half term 2) –

 

PPES

1 Week revision and then 2 weeks for PPEs.

 

Core political ideologies

Socialism continued

 

Teacher 3 (half term 1) –

 

Electoral systems continued

  • Referendums and how they are used
  • Case for and against referendums in a representative democracy
  • Debates on why different electoral systems are used in the UK
  • The impact of the electoral system on the government appointed
  • The impact of different systems on party representation and of electoral systems on voter choice

 

Political parties

  • Introductory lessons left vs right, political compass
  • Features and functions
  • Leadership and funding

 

 

Teacher 3 (half term 2) –

PPES

1 Week revision and then 2 weeks for PPEs.

 

Political Parties continued

  • Established political parties – historical development
  • Established political parties – current policies

Term 3

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

PM and executive topic continued

  • Presidentialism
  • End of unit test

Relationship between branches topic 4

  • Introduction to the Supreme Court – role and composition
  • Judicial neutrality and independence
  • Judicial review and ultra vires reviews.

Teacher 1 (half term 2) –

Relationship between branches topic 4

  • Comparison lessons on Executive vs Legislative vs Judicial powers, constraints and conflicts
  • The location of sovereignty in the UK political system including EU

Global Politics

  • Introduction and Reading list
  • Case study 1 – Rwanda plus research (human rights, genocide, humanitarian intervention, Ad hoc courts,  ICTR, UNAMIR and UN role, mandate and peacekeeping)
  • Case study 2 – Srebrenica plus research

Extension: Case study 3 – Sierra Leone

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

Core political ideologies 

  • Revision and exam practice

Finish core political ideas.

 

Essay practice and planning.

Start Nationalism non-core political ideology topic.

Non-core Political ideology – Nationalism

  • Key thinkers
  • Types of Nationalism
  • Conservative nationalism

 

 

Teacher 2  (half term 2) –

 

State Sovereignty and Global Politics introduction – 6 set lessons

 

  • States and statehood
  • Sovereignty
  • Mixed actor model
  • Failed and Rogue states
  • State summary lesson

Exam questions and essay planning

 

 

Teacher 3 (half term 1) –

 

Political parties continued

 

  • Emerging and minor UK political parties – ideas and policies of 2 minor parties
  • Importance of other parties in the UK
  • Multi-Party system and its implications
  • Why political parties succeed or fail

 

 

Teacher 3 (half term 2) –

 

Voting and the Media

  • Case Studies of three General Elections (pre 1997, 1997 and post 97)
  • Explaining factors including party policies and manifestos, class-based voting and demographics impact in turnout and trends
  • Social media impact
  • Importance and relevance of opinion polls

 

Year 13

Term 1

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

Recap of year 12 Global Politics work including human rights and international courts, statehood and sovereignty. Summative end of unit test on content in first week.

Human Rights

  • Defining human rights
  • Critique of Human Rights
  • Global governance and human rights
  • Regionalism and Human Rights
  • Humanitarian intervention introduction
  • HI arguments for and against
  • UN Peacekeeping
  • International courts – Ad hoc courts recap and Rome Statute
  • ICC case studies and analysis
  • ICJ – role and impact on HR
  • End of unit test

Teacher 1 (half term 2) –

Globalisation

  • The process of globalisation
  • Defining three types of globalisation
  • Economic Globalisation
  • Political Globalisation including international law
  • Cultural globalisation
  • Perspectives of globalisation
  • Impact of globalisation on state sovereignty
  • Advantages and disadvantages of globalisation on global issues

Poverty

  • Poverty introduction and definition
  • North South divide
  • Globalisation impact on poverty

Economic global governance

  • Bretton woods
  • WTO
  • IMF/ WB (Note JBN to cover SAPs and theories of accumulation)
  • G8 G20
  • IGOs cause poverty – UN SAPs, Debt etc
  • IGOs alleviate poverty – MDGS/SDGs, HIPC, services provided via WB and IMF
  • Regional organisations poverty action
  • Theories of accumulation
  • Civil society and role of NGOs
     

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

Core Political Ideologies revisited

Non-core Political ideology – Nationalism

  • Key thinkers
  • Types of Nationalism
  • Conservative nationalism
  • Internationalism
  • Essay writing/ comparing strands

Realism/ Liberalism

  • Morgenthau- study key principles of realism
  • Liberalism key beliefs recap and contrasting
  • Anarchy and Chaos
  • Conflict

Teacher 2 (half term 2) –

UN – political global governance

  • UN origins and development including Charter
  • UN structure – role and significance of UN institutions
  • UNSC- membership, structure and use of veto
  • Strengths and weaknesses of UNSC, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council
  • UN criticisms
  • Future for UN

NATO

  • Role and significance
  • Changing role since the end of the cold war
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Future, current case studies and expansion

Term 2

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

PPEs

Poverty

  • Poverty introduction and definition
  • North South divide
  • Globalisation impact on poverty
  • IGOs cause poverty – UN SAPs, Debt etc
  • IGOs alleviate poverty – MDGS/SDGs, HIPC, services provided via WB and IMF
  • Regional organisations poverty action
  • Theories of accumulation
  • Civil society and role of NGOs

Teacher 1 (half term 2) –

Power

  • Hard power / Soft power
  • Polarity
  • Power classifications
  • China vs USA
  • Emerging powers/ Emerging economies
  • Systems of government

Environment

  • Tragedy of the Commons
  • Successes/ failures of international conferences
  • UNFCCC/ IPCC
  • International environmental law and obstacles
  • Shallow/ deep ecology
     

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

PPEs

Regionalism

  • Regionalism growth and different forms (economic, security and political)
  • Developments of region orgs including NAFTA, AU, ASEAN and Arab League

Teacher 2 (half term 2) –

The EU

  • EU formation, role and development
  • EU powers of key institutions
  • EU expansion prospects
  • Key treaties and agreements
  • The Economic Monetary Union

Regionalism continued

  • Debates about supranationalism vs intergovernmentalism
  • The relationship between globalisation and regionalism
  • Impact on state sovereignty

 

Term 3

Teacher 1 (half term 1) –

 

Finish content and revision

Suggested timings:

X 4 lessons on Component 2 topics

X 8 lessons on Global politics topics

 

 

Teacher 2 (half term 1) –

 

Finish content and revision

Suggested timings:

X 2 lessons on component 1 topics

X 2 lessons on political ideologies

X 2 lessons revising global politics

Achieving outstanding outcomes in Government and Politics – knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Key Stage 5 curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics.

To go beyond what is expected of a Government and Politics student in Key Stage 5 and achieve outstanding outcomes in Government and Politics, students should read widely, engage with the material listed in the reading list, keep up to date with current affairs and read high level articles and essays, learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Recommended reading in Government and Politics for A Levels (Years 12 – 13)

Government and Politics-specific language to master in Upper School (Years 12-13)

  • All required technical terminology can be found in the glossary of the Edexcel specification online. This also provides definitions for each key term.
  • Definitions and extra use of the key terms is also outlined in the three textbooks students are given for the three key content areas- British Politics, Key Political Ideologies, and Global Politics.
Applications for Sixth Form (September 2024 intake)Information here