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Politics sits within the history and politics department, which plays a prominent role in the academic life of the school. The two subjects are closely related: much of our historical study is centred on the politics of the past and politics is, in a sense, very recent history. The two subjects are, therefore, complementary, with several members of the department teaching both.
Government and politics is offered at A level and gives students the opportunity to make sense of modern politics both in the United Kingdom and further afield.
Our choice of topics over the students’ seven years at St Paul’s aims to draw out their natural fascination with our world in the broadest sense: how it works, and has worked. The importance of an analytical approach, of an ability to apply abstract concepts and the essential skill of learning how to construct a persuasive argument lie at the heart of what we do and are essential, in some form or other, to all academic pursuits.
Following the new linear Edexcel syllabus, the first year of the politics course primarily focuses on the political processes of the United Kingdom and comprises two units: ‘UK government’ and ‘UK politics’. The purpose of the course is to build political awareness and to develop students’ understanding of how the modern world functions, of the complex issues that confront politicians and of the difficult decisions they frequently have to make. An important feature of the politics course is that it is constantly being updated to stay in touch with live issues and live debates.
In the second year of the course, we combine a topic focusing on the government of the USA with a parallel topic introducing core and non-core political ideologies. These two units enable the students to deepen their understanding of the wider world, both in terms of abstract ideas and of the importance of the very distinctive political practices of the USA.
This blend of topics naturally brings an important and intellectually stimulating comparative approach to the students’ study of politics, which will equip them well for a wide range of degree courses. Politics combines well with history and makes an important contribution to the History and Politics Society.
Regular visits from local and national politicians are combined with visits to major political conferences and institutions, including the Houses of Parliament.