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Government & Politics

Overview

Government and Politics A-level has been taught at WGGS for many years and is a very popular and successful subject, attracting large numbers of students (two teaching groups in Years 12 and two teaching groups in Year13). We promote the study and enjoyment of the subject through stimulating teaching and extended curriculum opportunities. We aim to create a life-long interest in politics while teaching the traditional academic skills of critical thought, analysis, evaluation and essay writing prized by universities.

At present there are three politics teachers, who are also members of the History Department. We have two sixth form teaching rooms, equipped with ICT and AV resources. The School Library is well stocked with politics books and journals, as well as all daily broadsheet newspapers which students are expected to read regularly. A strong emphasis is placed on keeping up to date with current affairs in all topics. They also use the school's ICT facilities to conduct research and create presentations.

KS5 (Years 12 and 13)

This department offers the Edexcel AS/A2 specification, focusing on “government” in Year 12. Students will study the following;

Unit 1- People and Politics

  • Democracy and political participation
  • Party policies and ideas
  • Elections
  • Pressure groups

Unit 2- Governing the UK

  • Constitution
  • Parliament
  • The Executive (Prime Minister, Cabinet and Civil Service)
  • The Judiciary

In Year 13 we focus more on “politics” through the study of Contemporary British Political Issues and studying the governance of the United States. Students study the following;

Unit 3A- UK Political Issues

  • Economic Policy
  • Social Welfare, Health and Education
  • Law, Order and Criminal Justice
  • Environmental Policy

Unit 4C- Governing the USA

  • Constitution
  • Congress
  • The Presidency
  • The Supreme Court

The full specification can be found on the Edexcel website here;

http://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/A%20Level/Government%20and%20Politics/2013/Specification%20and%20sample%20assessments/UA035236_GCE_Lin_GovPol_Issue_4.pdf

Extra Curricular Opportunities

At Watford Grammar School for Girls we believe that all our pupils should develop an understanding of the political environment they live in order to influence policy through participation. While Government and Politics is only taught as a separate subject at A-level, and then only to those girls that specifically opt to follow this as an academic discipline, we also have the Government and Politics Society (GAPS) which is open to membership from across the upper school from Year 10 upwards. It is run by an elected committee of sixth formers which organizes talks by visiting speakers - including politicians, journalists and representatives from pressure groups and the legal profession - as well as publishing its own magazine. A list of previous speakers include;

  • John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons,
  • Dame Shirley Williams
  • Richard Harrington, MP for Watford
  • Lord Daniel Finkelstein
  • Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford
  • And many, many more!

We also hold 'mock general elections', which enable students to experience political campaigning and debate issues. The turnout for our “mock” election is always considerably higher than the real thing! Students have the opportunity to attend external lectures and conferences in connection with their A-level studies and may also visit UK Parliament to watch them in action.

We are very proud to be the current champions of the Watford Inter-School debating competition which was hosted by Richard Harrington in the committee rooms at Parliament. In conjunction with the English department, we provide opportunities to participate in prestigious competitions such as these.