Politics at Blundell's

The UK - a unitary state

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster
The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster (or Houses of Parliament) is home to two Legislative bodies of the UK government; the lower House of Commons (650 members) and the upper House of Lords.

The third element of the Legislature is the Monarch, whose role is largely ceremonial these days. However, The Crown does retain some executive powers such as the ability to dissolve Parliament.

The House of Lords also served as the highest court in Britain's Judicial system until 2009. A Supreme Court, established in 2005, sat for the first time in Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on 1st Oct 2009.

The USA - a federal state

The Capitol Building, Washington DC
The Capitol Building in Washington DC

The Capitol Building in Washington DC is home to the Legislative branch of the US's government, Congress. This consists of the lower House of Representatives (435 members) and the upper Senate (100 members).

Until 1935 the Supreme Court also sat here. This pinnacle body of the Judicial branch of US government has since convened in the Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the US and eight Associate Justices.

The Executive branch of US government is headed by the President and based in the White House.

Government and Politics is a new subject on offer in the Sixth Form, from September 2010. Students obtain an understanding of current political issues and the workings of modern government, and acquire the basic knowledge required to be informed citizens of a liberal democracy. The subject fosters an ability to investigate, assess, order and communicate information, and provides a good basis for a range of university degrees and careers including law, journalism, politics, and business.

There are no specific GCSE requirements for this course, but an interest in British and American politics is absolutely vital, as are good essay writing skills.

The course combines study of the political systems of the UK and the USA, and comprises two units at AS and two units at A2.

Lower Sixth AS Politics

The AS course focuses on the British political system.

Unit 1 – People and Politics

This unit covers the nature of politics, the rights and responsibilities of the individual, types of democracy, elections and election systems, the policies of the main UK political parties and the impact of pressure groups.

Unit 2 – Governing the UK

This unit covers the UK Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the judiciary and their role in the protection of civil liberties, and the relationship between the various institutions of state.

Upper Sixth A2 Politics

The A2 course focuses on politics in the United States.

Unit 3 – Representative Processes in the USA

This unit includes study of elections and voting, political parties, pressure groups, and racial and ethnic politics in the USA.

Unit 4 – Governing the USA

This unit focuses on the US Constitution, Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the relationship between the different branches of government.

All the units are subject to examination: there is no coursework component in either AS or A2 Politics.