Welcome to the Government and Politics Department
The department strives to provide the best possible standard of education to girls of all abilities and backgrounds, through well planned and focused teaching of the highest calibre. Its aims are also to stimulate interest in the subject, to encourage independent study and hard work and to enable the achievement of the highest grades in the public examinations.
General Aims and Objectives
- To promote students understanding of the nature of politics and the ways in which governments operate, and decisions are made.
- To develop students understanding of the different factors (political, economic and social) that influence government decisions and impact on current events.
- To encourage students to become independent learners and to be fully up to date on current events, not only in the UK and USA but in other parts of the world.
- To encourage students to develop debating skills, forming their own opinions whilst retaining an open mind and considering the views of others.
Educational Trips and Conferences
In order to develop pupils/students understanding and enthusiasm for both subjects, the department has organised many trips in the past and will continue to do so in the future, subject to the approval of the Head Teacher. In the past the following trips/conferences have taken place.
- Year 12 trip to the Houses of Parliament.
- Year 12/13 student conferences.
- Year 13 conference on American Politics at the Eccles Centre.
The aim of the society is to develop student’s understanding and knowledge of politics and current events throughout the world. They therefore meet once a fortnight to discuss various aspects of the news in the UK and USA such as the recent 2012 American elections. They also carry out stimulating debates such as on euthanasia. Pupils from lower down the school are encouraged to attend.
Key Stage Five
Course Content - What will I study?
AS Level Year 12 - Politics In The UK
- Unit 1: People and Politics - political parties, democracy, pressure groups and elections.
- Unit 2: Governing the UK - the Constitution, the Prime Minister, Parliament and the Judiciary.
A2 Level Year 13 - Politics In The USA (Route C)
- Unit 3 Representative processes in the USA - elections, political parties, pressure groups and racial and ethnic politics.
- Unit 4 Governing the USA - Presidency, the Constitution, the Supreme court and Congress.
How will my progress be tested and examined?
- In each unit there will be an exam of 1 hr 20 minutes.
- In unit 1 students will have to answer two structured questions from a choice of four.
- In unit 2 there will be one stimulus based question (source based) from a choice of two and one extended essay from a choice of two.
- In each unit there will be an exam of 1 hr 30 minutes.
- Students will have to answer three short essays out of a choice of five and answer one extended essay out of a choice of three.
Progression - How will the study of Government & Politics benefit students’ future education and career?
- Students will develop excellent skills in discussion.
- Students will gain an interest in current affairs, and extend their knowledge outside lessons by following media reports of political issues, through reading UK/USA broadsheet newspapers and journals.
- Students will learn to incorporate ICT in their learning and be practised at presenting either individual or group PowerPoint presentations.
- Students will develop skills in independent learning and participate in debates and discussions.
- Politics’ students will enhance their abilities to structure an essay and present a balanced argument.
- These skills are useful in any field of work students may wish to pursue in the future.
- Many students use these skills to pursue a career in law, journalism, government, banking or finance.
Recommended Reading Websites/ Publications
Year 12 - AS Level
Reading list for AS British Politics: Year 12
As well as the textbooks you are given, you may choose to dip into one of these texts to develop your knowledge and understanding:
- B Coxall, L Robins and R Leach: Contemporary British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
- J Kingdom: Government and Politics in Britain: an Introduction (Polity, 2003)
- P Cocker and A. Jones: Contemporary British Politics and Government (Liverpool Academic, 2002)
- D Watts: British Government and Politics: A Comparative Guide (Edinburgh University 2006)
- B Jones (ed): Politics UK (Pearson Education, 2010)
- D Butler and G Butler: British Political Facts Since 1979 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
- R Heffernan, P Cowley and C Hay: Developments in British Politics 9 ( Palgrave MacMillan 2011)
It is essential that you read reputable broadsheet newspapers in order to keep up-to date with current affairs. You can look at articles on their websites:
- The Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk
- The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk
- The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk
- The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Another useful website for up to date political news stories is:
Many useful articles on current political debates can be found in the following magazines:
- The Economist: http://economist.com
- Politics Review Magazine: http://www.hoddereducation.co.uk/Product-Landing-Pages/Magazines/Magazines-extras/Politics-Review-extras
Resources for Unit 1 Topics
Participation and Democracy
- D Denver: Elections and Voters in Britain (Palgrave, 2006)
- Information on voting patterns: http://www.statistics.gov.uk
- Information on opinion polls: http://www.ipsosmori.com/political/trends.shtml
- D Kavanagh and P. Cowley: The British General Election of 2010 (Palgrave, 2010).
- The Electoral Reform Society: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk
- S. Ingle: The British Party System (Routledge, 2008).
- Conservative Party Website: http://www.conservatives.com
- Labour Party Website: http://www.labour.org.uk
- Liberal Democrat Party Website: http://www.libdems.org.uk
- UKIP Party website: http://www.ukip.org
- G Jordan and W Maloney: Interest groups and democracy (Palgrave, 2007)
- Greenpeace website: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk
- Unlock Democracy website: http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/
- Liberty’s website: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk
- 38 degrees website: http://38degrees.org.uk
Resources for Unit 2 Topics
- J Jowell and D Oliver: The Changing Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2004).
- The Constitution Research Unit at UCL website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/
- P Norton: Parliament in British Politics (Contemporary Political Studies, 2013)
- Parliament website: www.parliament.uk
- Cabinet Office website: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
- Prime Minister’s Office Website: http://www.number-10.gov.uk
- R Rose: The Prime Minister in a Shrinking World (Polity, 2001)
- Ministry of Justice website: http://www.justice.gov.uk
- J. A. G. Griffith: The Politics of the Judiciary (Fontana Press, 2010)
Year 13 - A2 Level
Reading list for A2 American Politics: Year 13
At A2, you will need to read far more widely than you did at AS so your work will develop depth and analysis. As well as your textbooks, you may choose to dip into one of these texts to develop your knowledge:
- Edward Ashbee: US Politics Today, MUP (Manchester University Press, 2012)
- David McKay: American Politics and Society (John Wiley, 2013)
- Robert Singh: American Government & Politics: a Concise Introduction (Sage 2003)
- Gillian Peele (Ed): Developments in American Politics (Palgrave McMillan, 2010)
- R McKeever: Politics USA (Pearson Longman, 2012)
- Theodore Lowi & Benjamin Ginsburg: American Government: Power and Purpose (Norton, 2012)
It is essential that you read reputable broadsheet newspapers, especially the political commentaries by their American correspondents such as:
- Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/
- Paul Harris in the Observer: http://observer.theguardian.com/
- Michael Tomasky, and Gary Younge in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com
The following American newspapers can be accessed via their websites:
Many useful articles on current political debates can be found in the following magazines:
- The Economist: http://www.economist.com
- Time Magazine: http://www.time.com
- Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com
- The New Statesman: http://www.newstatesman.com
Useful TV programmes:
- Channel 4 News: http://www.channel4.com/news
- Newsnight: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mk25
- Fox News - conservative new show with Glenn Beck: http://www.foxnews.com
- ‘The Daily Show’ - Liberal news show with Jon Stewart: http://thedailyshow.cc.com
- Find opinion, news analysis and polls at http://www.realclearpolitics.com
- Find political news with a focus on national politics at http://www.politico.com
Resources for Unit 3 Topics
Racial and Ethnic Politics:
- R. Alba: Remaking the American mainstream (Harvard University Press, 2005)
- E. Alden: The closing of the American border (Harper Collins, 2008)
- T. Shaw: Uneven Roads: An Introduction to U.S. Racial and Ethnic Politics (Sage Press, 2015)
- D. King: Separate & unequal: African Americans & the US Federal Government (Oxford University Press 2007)
- B. Obama: Dreams from my Father (Canongate, 2008)
- J. Johnson: Affirmative Action (Greenwood Press, 2009)
- National immigration forum website: http://www.immigrationforum.org
- Department of Homeland Security border control website:
- Americans for legal immigration website: http://www.alipac.us
- Affirmative Action website: http://www.affirmativeaction.org
- Information on the ethnic makeup of the USA: http://www.census.gov
- Congressional Black Caucus website: http://www.cbcfinc.org
- J. Aberbach: Crisis of conservatism? The Republican Party, the Conservative Movement and American Politics after Bush (Oxford University Press, 2011)
- C. Meyer: DC CONFIDENTIAL (Orion Books, 2005)
- R. Shogun: The fate of the union: America’s rocky road to political stalemate (Westview Press, 2004)
- D. Mayhew: Parties and policies: How the American government works (Yale University Press, 2008)
- M. Hetherington: Parties politics and public policy in America (Sage Press 2010)
- L. Maisel: American Political Parties and Elections: a very short introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007)
- Democrat Party Website: http://www.Democrats.org
- Republican Party Website: http://www.GOP.com
- Information on third parties:
- M. Lewis-Beck: The American voter revisited (University of Michigan Press, 2008)
- M. Halperin: Race of a lifetime: how Obama won the Whitehouse (Penguin, 2010)
- D. West: Air wars: Television & advertising in election campaigns (Sage Press, 2014)
- T. Frank: What’s the matter with Kansas? How Conservatives won the heart of America (Henry Holt, 2005)
- J. Micklethwait: The Right Nation: Why America is different (Penguin 2004)
- H. Clinton: Hard choices (Simon and Schuster, 2014)
- A. Bennett: The Race for the White House from Reagan to Clinton: Reforming Old Systems, Building New Coalitions (Palgrave, 2013)
- A. Bennett: The Battle for the White House- Bush to Obama: Nominations and Elections in an era of partisanship (Palgrave, 2013)
- Gallup website: http://www.gallup.com
- Information on primaries & candidate selection: http://www.thegreenpapers.com
- Proposals for reforms of presidential primaries: http://www.nass.org
- Website containing opinion poll data: http://www.pollingreport.com
- Website about conduct of campaigns/voter turnout: http://www.election.gmu.edu
- Results of previous elections: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu
- Iconic television moments from presidential elections: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org
- Initiative and referendum website: http://www.iandrinstitute.org
- Jeffery Berry: The interest group society (Pearson, 2009)
- Alan Ciglar: Interest group politics (Sage Press, 2012)
- Health care for America Now Website: http://www.healthcareforamericanow.org
- National Association of Manufacturers website (NAM): http://www.nam.org
- American Federation of Labour website: http://www.aflcio.org
- American Medical Association website (AMA): http://ama-assn.org
- American Bar Association website (ABA): http://www.americanbar.org
- The NAACP website: http://www.naacp.org
- National Women’s Political Caucus website: http://www.nwpc.org
- National Organisation for Women website (NOW): http://www.now.org
- The Christian Coalition website: http://www.cc.org
- The National Rifle Association website (NRA): http://www.nra.org
- American Conservative Union website: http://www.conservative.org
- American Civil Liberties Union website: http://www.aclu.org
- Free Speech Coalition Website: http://www.freespeechcoalition.com
- Anti-death penalty website: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org
Resources for Unit 4 Topics.
- US government website: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html
- Explanation of what the articles of the constitution mean: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/overview
- R. Dahl: How Democratic is the American Constitution? (Yale University Press, 2003)
- Information about the US Constitution: http://www.constitutioncenter.org
- Examples of proposed amendments: http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html
- L. Han: New directions in the American presidencey (Routledge, 2011)
- S. Blumenthal: How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a radical regime (Princeton, 2006)
- C. Campbell: The Obama presidency (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2012)
- J. Pika: The politics of the presidency (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2008)
- G. Edwards: Overreach: Leadership in the Obama Presidency (Princeton University Press, 2012)
- The white house website: http://www.whitehouse.gov
- The Miller centre website: http://millercenter.org/
- American Presidency Project: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu
- Information on the Federal Bureaucracy: http://www.usa.gov
- D. Mayhew: America's Congress: Actions in the Public Sphere from James Madison through to Newt Gingrich (Yale University Press, 2002)
- T. Mann: The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press, 2008)
- R. Kaiser: Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution works, and how it doesn't (Vintage Press. 2013)
- US senate website: http://www.senate.gov
- US House of Representatives website: http://www.house.gov
- Roll call website for congress: http://www.rollcall.com/politics
- Library of Congress Website: http://www.thomas.loc.gov
- Watch Congress in session on: http://www.c-spn.org
The Supreme Court:
- D. Savage: The Supreme Court & the Powers of the American Government (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009)
- Supreme Court Website: http://www.supremecourtus.gov
- Federal judicial centre website: http://www.fjc.gov
- Statistics on the court: http://www.scotusblog.com
- Commentary on Supreme Court Decisions: http://www.law.cornell.edu
- Senate Judiciary Committee Website: http://www.senate.gov