We live in exciting political times and it is extremely important to be politically literate and to be able to think critically. We seek to promote an interest in contemporary politics so our students can leave SNS as active citizens who have a good understanding of UK society and the variety of political issues which affect them. We aim to give students the skills to be able to interpret events shaping the world around them so they will grow in confidence and be able to articulate and defend their own opinions.
In KS3 and KS4 – political ideas are part of the curriculum in PPP Personal Political and Philosophical studies – which ensure students have a basic understanding of rights, responsibilities and UK governance and aspects of law. Equally Citizenship will also teach them about identifying issues they care about and how to organise a campaign. There are also critical links between Humanities subjects like History and Geography which encourage students to develop a broad understanding of the world around them along with analytical and evaluative skills that can support developing arguments and extended writing.
Students can access a variety of books and magazines in the school library, and in the 6th form they have all the resources on Prechewed, a web resource full of videos and worksheets which promote flipped learning and provide support and enrichment outside lessons. Teachers use and recommend film clips, documentaries and books to supplement student learning and we encourage discussion of contemporary political issues at the start of most lessons.
A level Politics (Edexcel)
Component 1 UK Politics: This section explores the nature of politics and how people engage in the political process in the UK. Students will investigate in detail how people and politics interact. They will explore the emergence and development of the UK’s democratic system and the similarities, differences, connections and parallels between direct and indirect democracy. They will focus on the role and scope of political parties that are so central to contemporary politics, including the significance of the manifestos they publish at election time and their relevance to the mandate of the resulting government. This section allows students to understand the individual in the political process and their relationship with the state and their fellow citizens. Students will examine how electoral systems in the UK operate and how individuals and groups are influenced in their voting behaviour and political actions. This component will further examine the role of the media in contemporary politics. It will also give students an understanding of voting patterns and voting behaviour.
Core Political Ideas: This section allows students to explore the three traditional political ideas of conservatism, liberalism and socialism. Students 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 2 UK Government: This component is fundamental to understanding the nature of UK government, since it enables students to understand where, how and by whom political decisions are made. The component also gives students a base of comparison to other political systems. The component introduces students to the set of rules governing politics in the UK, the UK constitution, which is different in nature from most of the rest of the world. It further introduces students to the specific roles and powers of the different major branches of the government – legislative, executive, and judiciary – as well as the relationships and balance of power between them, and considers where sovereignty now lies within this system. Students will explore the following key themes: the relative powers of the different branches of UK government; the extent to which the constitution has changed in recent years; the desirability of further change; and the current location of sovereignty within the UK political system.
Non-Core Political Idea: This section allows students to explore a final political idea: Feminism. Students 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 Global Politics: We live in a complex world with significant challenges, including global terrorism, poverty, economic instability, weapons proliferation, failing states and environmental degradation. These challenges require global co-operation if they are to be resolved. Global politics gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity. It also gives them the opportunity to explore the political issues that affect all of us. Students will gain understanding of abstract political concepts through grounding them in contemporary real-world examples and case studies that will develop an international awareness and knowledge of multiple perspectives. Global politics encourages discussion and debate and requires students to study and present different global perspectives, as well as interpreting competing and contestable claims. The key mainstream perspectives on global politics are liberalism and realism, and students will be expected to understand how these perspectives are applied throughout all elements of the global politics content.
Students are encouraged and supported to support their studies with a variety of activities and learning opportunities outside the classroom. During the programme of study we visit the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court. We are also exploring a residential trip to explore Global Governance institutions in Belgium and the Netherlands including the International Criminal Court, EU institutions and NATO offices.
In addition to trips we invite students to take up opportunities by visiting a range of political conferences and events such as those hosted by QMUL and LSE. We have also taken students to participate in Global Classrooms Model United Nations conferences where students present as delegates from specific countries on identified issues. We have also had many highprofile speakers come in and speak to students including most recently, John Bercow.
Career and future pathways
Students can progress from this qualification to university courses that relate directly to government and politics and wider, for example law, economics, philosophy. Politics is also useful for employment where analytical skills are essential, for example management, finance, government, industry and business environments.
We have been very successful in supporting a big proportion of our students to go on and study Politics and International Relations and welcome those students back to speak to current cohorts.