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Aims & Philosophy of the Politics Department

The Politics department at QM aims to promote engagement with Britain’s political system, as well as a sophisticated understanding of the ideological traditions underpinning the different parties that make up the electoral landscape.  As well as the acquisition of knowledge, the department seeks to encourage participation in important debates such as the value of further constitutional reform and the complex reasons behind increasing voter disaffection in the 21st century. We offer a dynamic course which rewards students who are sufficiently motivated to follow political developments in the news and are keen to embrace and learn the precise terminology used to describe political conventions and ideologies.  As with the other Humanities and Social Sciences, the emphasis on extended analytical writing equips our students with the communication skills necessary in the modern globalised workplace.

It is hoped above all that the study of Politics will allow our girls to become active citizens, aware of how the UK is governed and the role that they themselves can play in our democracy.  With confirmation of 16 and 17-year old voting for the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014 and pledges from major parties to consider extending the franchise more generally after the 2015 general election, now more than ever is the perfect time for our students to benefit from the formal study of Politics.

Overview of Key Stage 5 Curriculum

The department offers the Edexcel Government and Politics A level.  At AS level, students receive a thorough grounding in the basics of the British political system, from an understanding of the differing electoral systems used to the changing role of the judiciary and Britain’s relationship with Europe.  The AS also introduces the different political parties and the distinct ideological traditions on which they continue to be based.  At A2 level, students undertake a more in-depth study of different political ideologies, from conservatism to ecologism.

Whilst classroom activities incorporate plenty of discussion and a programme of study that systematically develops the written skills of students to the standards required by the exam, students are encouraged to use the full gamut of modern technology to access news about important developments and the rapidly changing political context.

What makes the department unique from those at other schools?

The department offers a very valuable annual trip to a Politics conference at Westminster which always attracts top speakers presenting on an aspect of British politics, and gives students an excellent insight into the machinery of government from those most intimately acquainted with it.  We have also benefited from the support of our local MP Nigel Adams, whose all-access tours of Parliament have provided a unique opportunity to visit the very heart of our political system.

The department is making increasing use of blogging (http://qmsgovtandpolitics.wordpress.com/) and our own Twitter account (@QMGovtPolitics) to support students by highlighting particularly relevant news stories that give real-life context to the work that we do in lessons.  In this way, teaching is committed to facilitating learning outside the classroom and simultaneously promotes a better understanding of the online tools used increasingly by professionals around the world.

To learn about the Politics Department curriculum
in other Key Stages please choose a link