Advanced Level

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of UK and American politics.  AS/A2 Politics aims to develop students’ political knowledge and their ability to analyse political institutions, issues and proposals for reform. Politics is a popular subject at the Downs School that students have really enjoyed and has outstanding examination results. Downs School students have gone on to read Politics / PPE at leading UK universities including UCL, KCL, Nottingham and Oxford Universities.  


Entry Requirements

  • An interest in politics and current affairs.
  • Willingness to put in the effort into this challenging but rewarding subject.
  • Due to the nature of this course a B grade is recommended in either English or History at GCSE.
  • Independent research and study skills.
  • Interpretation and analytical skills.
  • Willingness and ability to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • An interest in discussing political ideas and a willingness to learn from others.
  • Ability to present a reasoned and balanced argument.

Course Content and Assessment

At Advanced Subsidiary Level, two UK politics modules will be covered. At Advanced level, two further modules will be covered focusing on American politics.

UK Government and Politics

  • Module 1 – “People, Politics and Participation”.  Focus on participation and voting behaviour, elections and electoral systems, political parties, pressure groups and protest movements.
  • Module 2 – “Governing Modern Britain”.  Focus on the UK Constitution, role of Parliament, power within the executive and the different levels of government within the UK.

USA Government and Politics:

  • Module 3 - “Politics of the USA”.   Focus on elections, political parties, pressure groups and voter behaviour.
  • Module 4– “Government of the USA”.  Focus on the US Constitution, Supreme Court, Congress, the Presidency and the idea of Federalism.

The Politics course will make use of a wide range of teaching methods, including seminars and case studies, as well as students’ presentations, research, debates, group and class discussion.  The course will aim to make full use of ICT, guest speakers, as well as trips to Parliament and further afield. Trips and visits have included a parliamentary debating workshop, a tour of the Houses of Parliament, Q and A session with the local MP, a special workshop for female students at Westminster on ‘Women in Parliament’, a visit to hear Michael Portillo speak and a student AS Politics conference.

‘A’ Level Combinations

Politics works especially well with the following subjects: History, Law, Sociology, Economics and Geography, this is because Politics looks at similar issues and provides a link between all of these subjects.  Politics is an excellent subject to combine with English or Business Studies as this will give students an added dimension to their sixth form studies.  Politics may also be a good subject for scientists and mathematicians who want to take on a non-scientific subject at AS Level.

Career and Higher Education Opportunities

Politics is a very well regarded A Level option for the following university courses and careers:  Journalism, History, International Relations, War Studies, Law, PPE, Banking, Finance and Economics, Business Studies, European Studies, any Social Studies course or job, Philosophy, Public Administration and of course, Politics itself.

Further Information

The School's Main Prospectus and Sixth Form Prospectus can both be downloaded from the Quick Links menu at the top on the right. Should you require any additional information relating to the curriculum please use our contact information to make an enquiry.

Recommended text books, revision guides and reference books

Year 12

UK Government and Politics for AS/A-level (Fifth Edition) Paperback – 28 Jul 2017



Philip Lynch (Author), Paul Fairclough (Author), Toby Cooper (Author)

  • ISBN-10: 1471889238

ISBN-13: 978-1471889233

Publisher: Hodder

Year 13

US Government and Politics for A-level Fifth Edition Paperback – 29 Sep 2017

by Anthony J Bennett

  • ISBN-10: 147188936X

ISBN-13: 978-1471889363

Publisher: Hodder

Optional further reference:

Political ideas for A Level: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, Feminism, Anarchism Paperback – 25 Aug 2017

by Neil McNaughton (Author), Richard Kelly (Author)

  • ISBN-10: 1471889467

ISBN-13: 978-1471889462

Publisher: Hodder

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