Alexander Hamilton said ‘Those who stand for nothing fall for anything’.
At St John’s we encourage our students to take an interest in the world around them and to form their own opinions. The ‘A’ Level Government and Politics course does exactly this by giving them an opportunity to learn about the issues that affect society.
During the AS year we learn about what it means to live in a liberal democracy, how elections are run and why pressure groups are becoming increasingly important. Students also study the current parliamentary system and explore the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as the role of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. We pose topical questions such as ‘How exactly does a Coalition work?’ Therefore our students are expected to keep up with current affairs. During their politics course, students are given the opportunity to tour the Houses of Parliament and participate in a debate. In addition, we regularly invite guest speakers such as our M.P., M.E.P. and various members of the House of Lords. This enriches their experience of the subject and enables them to gain a better insight into the system of government as well as improving their public speaking and critical reasoning skills.
The second year of this course focuses on ‘Ideologies, new and old. Students critically analyse and assess the core values and movements within these ideologies. This is an inspiring and sometimes philosophical component of their course as they are encouraged to ponder the ‘big’ issues facing us today such as ‘multiculturalism’ and globalisation whilst understanding the older ideologies of conservatism, liberalism and socialism. We cannot study these topics without an appreciation of the social and economic historical context within which they were developed and which makes this A2 course fascinating and challenging.
Antigoni Esfthasiou. Barrister, LL.B. (Hons), Cert. Ed