A Tory politician of the eighteenth century once remarked that “All that is required for evil to triumph is that good men stay silent”. Studying politics is all about making sure the good men don’t stay silent.
It is about understanding the system that governs us; about being able to challenge that system when we need to; about how we might be involved; and about speaking up for those who can’t. In any society, but especially a democracy, no one should be willing to simply stay silent. Knowing and understanding the political system is the essential first step to undertaking our democratic responsibilities.
The A level course is aimed at increasing our understanding of first British politics together with the key ideologies (Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism) that make up most of our political discourse, and then rounded off with a comparative study of US politics, the greatest political circus on the planet. Students will be tested in three exams at the end of their U6th year.
The basic form of the lessons takes place around discussions and debate – the best way of generating your ideas, responding to arguments and generally thinking independently. The core information is contained in recommended books and hand-outs, but you will also be expected to regularly access current news sources – newspapers, current affairs magazines, television news programmes and the relevant websites.
Although we can never guarantee particular trips, given the often changing requirements surrounding their organization, we have recently had visits to parliament, a conference in the UK on American politics, and Washington DC. We would like to continue these.
Students don’t need a great amount of existing political knowledge – that’s the purpose of the course! What you do need is a strong general interest in current events, and a willingness to comment on them.