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A Level Politics

Why should I study A Level Politics?

Politics is very relevant in a changing world and this is a very exciting time to study it with considerable turbulence in British politics and in the US and significant global challenges like climate change, growing protection in trade and inequalities in income and wealth.

Politics is a well– established and well-respected A Level, which develops literacy, critical thinking, analysis and research skills. It goes well with Economics, History, Law, Psychology and Sociology to name a few subjects.

The Politics department favours a number of contemporary approaches to delivering learning, including experiential learning, oracy strategies and ‘flip learning’ to develop independent learning skills and ensure rapid progress through the course. Each topic of the course is supported by a workbook which will contain all the materials students will need to enhance their learning.

Studying this subject will enable you to:

  • Develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context, the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics, and the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes.
  • Develop the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements.
  • Develop an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.

Course Specification

The course aims to introduce students to a truly modern and evolving political environment in the UK and around the world, support you in developing an understanding of politics and the most engaging contemporary debates in the UK, and to develop their skills in critical thinking and analysis.

Component 1: UK Politics and Core Political Ideas

This section explores the nature of politics and how people engage in the political process in the UK. 

You will explore the strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s democracy, the electoral system, the mainstream political parties and the development and application of political ideas.  You will also explore the three traditional political ideas of conservatism, liberalism and socialism, learning about the core ideas and principles and how they apply in practice to human nature, the state, society and the economy, the divisions within each idea and their key thinkers.

Component 2: UK Government and Non-core Political Ideas

You will explore the nature of government in the UK, which will lead them to an understanding of where, how and who makes political decisions.

This component introduces debates surrounding the nature of the UK’s constitution, the roles of parliament, government and the judiciary, and the relationships between them.

Finally, you will examine one political idea: feminism, arguably the most intellectual, relevant and successful of all modern ideologies.  You will learn about the core ideas and principles and how they apply in practice to human nature, the state, society and the economy, the divisions within each idea and their key thinkers.

Component 3: Comparative Politics - Government and Politics of the USA

The USA has been considered by some to be a ‘beacon of democracy’. As a world power, understanding the nature of US democracy, and the debates surrounding it, is crucial given the considerable impact that the USA has on UK, European and global politics.

You will explore the US constitution and the arguments surrounding this guiding document of US democracy. You will learn about how power in the USA is distributed and exercised and, finally, judge whether ‘liberty and justice for all’ has been achieved in the USA.

There are six content areas:

  1. The US Constitution and federalism
  2. US Congress
  3. US presidency
  4. US Supreme Court and US civil rights
  5. US democracy and participation
  6. Comparative theories

Examining Board Information

Board: Pearson Edexcel

Course Code: 9PL0

Click the image on the right to download the full course specification. 

Widening Horizons

The course is engaging and encourages you to experience politics in action to widen your horizons. You will be enriched by the input of experts and specialists working in the political arena who regularly visit the school. You will also have the opportunity to meet well-known figures working in politics and the media by attending a one–day Politics Revision Conference where different speakers (often MPs) present, and you will receive guidance from the exam board on techniques, such as structuring questions.

Houses of Parliament & Supreme Court Trip

A Level Politics and Law students have the opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament and Supreme Court to experience the running of parliament and to develop a greater understanding of its history, functions and role in modern British politics.  Year 12 A Level student, Nura, reflects on the trip below:   

Visiting Parliament in Westminster and seeing the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Supreme Court was a wonderful experience, especially from the perspective of a Law student. Before gaining access to all three places, we had to go through an airport-style security check. We visited The House of Lords first, with a gold gilded wall and throne for the monarch, embedded with crystals and upholstered with red velvet and other embroidery. From the ceiling hung microphones and the rest of the seats in the house had red leather, giving the room an altogether expensive look to counter the size of it.

The House of Commons, on the other hand, was slightly bigger, with a larger area for the public to view proceedings from, but a lot less impressive than the Lords. The seats were green and the leather thin and heavily cracked. Before I realised we weren’t supposed to sit on those seats, I got to have a momentary seat, and I can say that it was by far the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat on. Like sitting on a cloud. Far from my expectations!

The Supreme Court had three rooms, each with their own aesthetic: traditional English, even more traditional English and a more technologically modern style. All Supreme Court cases can be heard in any of the rooms, and they are all relatively small, needing seats only for the panel of justices and their clerks. There are also small pews and other seating arrangements for the public to view cases from.

During the trip, we had the opportunity to complete a fun workshop simulating the House of Commons and debating whether the death penalty should be reinstated or not. Talking to our local MP for East Surrey Claire Coutinho’s Assistant was also interesting since we got to ask questions about how he got to that position and what his responsibilities were. I was also very excited to find out that a student from Warlingham did work experience with our local MP Coutinho, which sounds like a fantastic opportunity.

Assessment Format

The Politics A Level is all exam-based. There is no coursework.

Paper 1: UK Politics 

Written paper (2hrs) consisting of short questions and essays.  This paper is worth 33.3% of the A Level.

Paper 2: UK Government

Written paper (2hrs) consisting of short questions and essays.  This paper is worth 33.3% of the A Level.

Paper 3: Comparative Politics

Written paper (2hrs) consisting of short questions and essays.  This paper is worth 33.3% of the A Level.

Course Entry Requirements

This course requires a Grade 5 or above in GCSE Government & Politics, if taken. Otherwise a Grade 5 or above in any GCSE Humanities subject.  If no Humanities GCSEs were taken a Grade 5 or above GCSE English (in exceptional circumstances, a Grade 4 will be considered.)


Employability Skills

Employability Skills are essential skills, personal qualities and values that will enable you to thrive in any workplace. Along with good technical understanding and subject knowledge, employers often outline a set of skills that they want from an employee.

This course will help you to develop the following employability skills:

  • Ability to think independently
  • Clear presentation of arguments and views
  • Collecting and analysing information
  • Communication skills
  • Evaluation skills
  • Writing skills

Next Steps

A qualification in Politics is valuable for all Higher Education courses, but is especially relevant for courses such as Political Studies, Philosophy, Business and Economics, Law, Sociology, Social Policy Making, Comparative Studies, International Relations or History. 

Politics is appropriate for those interested in a career in the civil service, journalism and the media, management consultancy, marketing, law, local government, public relations or social work.

10 Possible Careers

  • Documentarist
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Lobbyist
  • Policy Analyst
  • Politician
  • Senior Civil Servant
  • Social Media Manager
  • Pollster
  • Teacher

Student Profile: Claudia

Claudia's subjects

A Level Politics

A Level Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

A Level Sociology

Cooking for College

I joined Warlingham Sixth Form College from Sutton High School. A friend had been here and recommended it and I really liked the environment. The College has helped me become more independent and has given me confidence. I want to take Politics & Sociology at university and then go on to a career in politics.