What is Government and Politics?

  • Government is the act of exercising authority or ruling.
  • Politics is the process by which a community or state makes and changes the general rules under which its people live.

Studying Government and Politics will provide you with an understanding of the forces shaping the modern world. Government and Politics enables students to develop their critical thinking skills and enhance their ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics. It helps in the development of discussion and debating skills and encourages you to think beyond the constraints of a textbook.



Why study Government and Politics?

The study of Government and Politics prepares students for many forms of employment as well as further study. Many famous individuals have studied Politics to degree level.


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Contact Teacher:

Miss Neill





Board: CCEA Subject Code: 4830

Few subjects are as central to our everyday lives as Government and Politics. If you are interested in people, power, law, democracy, freedom, equality and justice then you will enjoy the study of Politics. As a student of A-level Politics you will be given the opportunity to study various political systems from around the world ranging from Northern Ireland to the USA. You will learn how our laws are made and compare different types of government, political parties and electoral systems. There will also be a focus on more general topics such as political power, political ideologies and of course the most recent political developments at home and abroad.

What do you Study?

You will follow CCEA’s A-Level Government and Politics specification. In Year 13 you will study the following two modules:

AS 1: The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland

  • Government of Northern Ireland since 1994
  • The Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews’ Agreement
  • The five major Northern Irish political parties
  • AS 2: The British Political Process
  • British system of government
  • The powers and functions of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The functions of the House of Commons and the House of Lords
  • The role of the judiciary
  • Pressure groups

After successfully completing the two AS modules students may exit the course with an AS qualification in Politics. However, the majority of students decide to continue their studies to A2. In Year 14 you will study a further two modules:

A2 1: Comparative Government –USA and UK

  • Government and politics of the USA
  • Comparative analysis of the US President and UK Prime Minister
  • Comparative evaluation of the US Congress and the UK Parliament

A2 2: Political Power

  • Theories of political power including Marxism, Pluralism, Elitism and Feminism.
  • Factors involved in the exercise of political power
  • The basis of political authority, legitimacy and stability
  • Case studies on political power from a wide range of countries such as the USA, China, Syria and North Korea.


Assessment of A-Level Politics is by four written exams. There is no coursework. Assessment at AS involves two written papers. The AS 1 paper contains two source-based questions and a choice of essay questions. It lasts for 1 hour 15 minutes. The AS 2 paper consists of a range of short questions and longer essay questions. It lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes. Assessment at A2 also involves two written papers which contain source-based questions and extended essay writing tasks.

How do you Study?

Various methods are used in the teaching and learning of Politics. Teaching is focused upon the acquisition of the knowledge and skills required to succeed in Politics. Teaching and learning will involve essay writing, group work, independent research, presentations, timed exam practice, extensive reading, debates, source evaluation and media analysis. There are a number of set texts used for the course but due to the dynamic nature of Politics it is imperative that students engage in additional reading from other texts, journals, quality newspapers and of course the Internet. You must also keep up-to-date with current affairs at home and abroad. There is very little happening around us which does not in some way involve Politics.

Qualities Required

To succeed in this subject you need to enjoy analysing and evaluating information, using source material and weighing up arguments. You should also have a genuine interest in Politics and current affairs and be willing to engage in independent study. This will require not only the use of political texts but also the extensive use of the school library, the Internet and local and national newspapers. Students should also have an inquiring mind, be willing to listen to and respect differing viewpoints and want to learn more about how government works and how laws are made. To achieve a good grade in Politics you will be required to produce a high standard of written English and write in a highly structured and analytical fashion during the examinations.

Subject Combination

A-Level Politics combines well with a wide range of A-Level subjects but in particular History and English. In the past many students have combined Politics with the Sciences and Maths to achieve a more balanced programme of study.

Career Options

Given the close relationship between Law and Politics many students at St Patrick’s choose A-Level Politics with a view to studying Law at university. The study of Government and Politics can also provide you with a sound foundation for further study in a number of other fields at university such as Business, Finance, Education, Public Relations, Advertising, International Studies, Journalism and the highly regarded Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) course. Previous students of Politics have also proceeded to university to study Politics on its own or in

combination with subjects such as Law or History. Politics graduates are found in a diverse range of careers including the legal profession, teaching, lobbying, business, the civil service, journalism, broadcasting, pressure groups and of course politics itself.

Contact teacher: Miss E Neill



CCEA GCSE Government and Politics

GCSE Government and Politics is an engaging and highly relevant subject that will enhance students’ understanding of political issues and the impact of politics on their everyday lives. This new specification aims to encourage students to develop a lifelong interest in politics. It will help them form their own beliefs about political issues and events. Students will consider important political concepts such as power, authority, accountability, who has power and how it is exercised.

The course will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of local, national and international politics and provides a secure foundation for those who wish to go on to study Government and Politics at GCE level. There are two units; Democracy in Action and International Politics in Action. Assessment is through two externally set examinations. Both are well structured and include short recall, source based and evaluative questions.


Unit 1: Democracy in Action

In this unit, students gain an awareness of the basic concepts related to political participation: the importance of elections in a democracy and the different ways in which young people can make their voices heard. The unit seeks to enhance students’ understanding of decision-making and the role of political parties and pressure groups in a democracy. Students explore different views on issues such as education, the economy and immigration, as well as considering the role of the media in reporting political events and influencing public opinion.  

Content Assessment Weighting

Political ideas and concepts

-power and authority




Decision-making in a democracy

-local councils

-NI Assembly

-UK Parliament

Elections and voting in a democracy



-voting trends

Political parties in a democracy

-left wing and right wing

-British and NI parties

-views on key policies

Political information in a democracy


-social media

-print media

Taking action in a democracy



-joining a pressure group

External written examination

One tier of entry

1 hour 30 minutes

There are three sections:

  • Section A includes questions that require short answers, recall and definitions.
  • Section B includes questions on source material. 
  • Section C includes extended, evaluative style questions. 



Unit 2:  International Politics in Action

In this unit, students gain an awareness of the challenges posed by an increasingly interdependent world. The unit allows students to explore a variety of organisations that operate on a global scale and how they respond to important global issues, such as conflict resolution, poverty and immigration. Students consider the local and national response of governments, individuals and groups to political issues and evaluate the effectiveness of their actions.    

Content Assessment Weighting



-international trade

-international terrorism

-human trafficking

-environmental factors

Conflict and its resolution

-UN Security Council


Northern Ireland Conflict 

-Resolution in Action

-Good Friday Agreement

-St Andrews

-Fresh Start

Global Action on Poverty

-World Health Organisation





-asylum seekers

-displaced persons

External written examination

One tier of entry

1 hour 30 minutes

There are three sections:

  • Section A includes questions that require short answers, recall and definitions.
  • Section B includes questions on source material. 
  • Section C includes extended, evaluative style questions. 


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