Government & Politics
The aim of the Politics curriculum is to create the very best thinkers, analysts and communicators by equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand the ever changing world around them. With a key focus on personal development, the department is determined to ensure students become active citizens who are able to make informed choices and have a positive impact on society as a whole.
The curriculum goes far beyond what is taught in lessons; cultural capital is developed in the Politics department by students engaging with current events, both in the UK and the USA as well as providing numerous opportunities to take part in politics through visits to the Houses of Parliament and Q&A session with the local politicians and civil servants.
Students are challenged to think independently when engaging in political debate underpinned by a detailed knowledge of political participation, democracy, the structure and workings of government in both the UK and the USA as well as the key issues and debates that currently affect the political landscape across the world. With an emphasis on fundamental British values, the curriculum aims to develop student’s understanding of power and influence in the 21st Century so that they can appreciate how decisions are made that affect their lives and so navigate the best course for themselves.
Key Stage 5
In Year 12, students begin with a study of core political ideas, including liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. They develop this with a study of democracy and participation, and then focus closely on UK elections and voting along with voting behaviour and the media. Year 12 concludes with a study of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and UK Parliament.
Year 13 focuses closely on a study of US politics, including the US Constitution, Presidency, US Democracy and Participation, and the Supreme Court and Civil Rights. The latter part of the year is taken up with revision for the examinations.
Learning beyond the classroom
Students take part in a visit to the Houses of Parliament. This includes a tour of the Palace of Westminster and a workshop activity in the Parliament Education Centre. This fascinating trip gives a valuable insight into the world of Westminster. Prominent speakers who have visited the school in recent years include John Bercow, Michael Portillo, Douglas Carswell, Peter Kellner, Matthew Barzun (former US ambassador to the UK), Peter Kellner (YouGov chairman and BBC election pundit, and Baroness Tyler of Enfield.
At Ashlyns, we believe that the development of students’ love of learning is of central importance in our curriculum. In order to give students every opportunity to develop this, we have developed a Challenge Curriculum which provides the opportunity for students to enhance their learning across the subjects. The activities contained within the Challenge Curriculum are for students to undertake independently, and take lots of forms, including watching films or clips, visiting museums, conducting independent research, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures online. They are by no means exhaustive, and we encourage all activities that enable students to engage with subjects beyond the classroom and further their learning. Students should let their teachers know which activities they have completed, and are able to earn merits for doing so.