Government And Politics

Magazine Article

Banbridge Academy Magazine 2020-2021: Politics Article

Aims And Vision

‘Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.

This was true when Pericles said it two thousand years ago and it is equally true today. Our lives are affected at every level by political decisions, whether we are aware of this or not.

Studying Government and Politics helps to create a critical awareness of the factors that affect political decisions. As a subject it is of interest to those who are interested in finding out why governments do what they do – and whether what they did was right.

Government and Politics appeals to those who aspire to think critically and argue coherently and who want to develop excellent communication skills. It also encourages young people to become actively involved as citizens. The skills that it promotes are directly relevant to many vocational areas and are valued by employers. The subject also prepares young people for a wide variety of higher education courses, not only Government and Politics.

Our overall aims are:

  • To give students a real insight into the world in which they live;
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of a range of political systems;
  • To develop an interest in and enthusiasm for contemporary politics
  • To encourage pupils to look at events from different perspectives;
  • To give each student the confidence to share and debate their own opinions and develop a respect for the opinions of others;
  • To provide a basis for further study;
  • To encourage students to become independent learners;

Government and Politics is taught at AS and A2 levels. Students study 2 units in each year.

AS Government and Politics

Module 1: The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland

This unit focuses on the government and politics of Northern Ireland since 1998.. The unit considers 

  • The establishment of the Good Friday Agreement
  • The operation of the Assembly and the Executive
  • The effectiveness of the Assembly and the Executive
  • The relationship between the Assembly and the Executive
  • The Northern Ireland political parties, their strategies and policies, and the changes in their electoral fortunes since 1998. 

Module 2: The British Political Process

This unit examines the operation of the British Parliament and the Executive and the relationship between these two institutions. Students also consider the political role of either the British judiciary or pressure groups. The key themes in this unit are:

  • The extent to which the Executive dominates the legislature
  • The extent to which the Prime Minister dominates the Executive
  • The extent to which the judiciary acts as an effective check on the Executive;

A2 Government And Politics

Module 1: Option B: A Comparative Study of the Government and Politics of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom

This unit focuses on how the Republic of Ireland is governed and how this compares to the British political system, with specific reference to the legislative and executive branches. Students should draw on the knowledge and understanding that they have acquired in Unit AS 2: The British Political Process. 

  • The Government and Politics of the Republic of Ireland – the legislative branch
  • The Government and Politics of the Republic of Ireland – the executive branch
  • Comparative Government

Module 2: Option B – Political Ideas

This unit focuses on the study of the three key texts associated with a major political ideology – Mill’s On Liberty, Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto. Within each text, students should focus on the key themes and how these can be critiqued. Students also explore the three main political ideologies of liberalism, socialism and conservatism. They analyse and evaluate the key features of each ideology, including the variations within each. 


AS 1 – 1 external exam – 1 hr and 15 minutes

AS 2 – 1 external exam – 1 hr and 45 minutes

A2 1 – 1 external exam – 2 hrs and 15 minutes

A2 2 – 1 external exam – 1 hr and 30 minutes

No Coursework

Departmental Activities

  • Visit to Stormont
  • Visit to London
  • Panel events
  • Consultations with the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Programme of Speakers
  • Local Democracy activities
  • Youth Parliament
  • Election events
  • Bar Mock Trial

Career Opportunities

Government and Politics is a subject that demands and develops skills of analysis and evaluation.

It will sharpen the analytical and investigative faculties that are vital to success in many jobs and all further study. Government and Politics is directly relevant to the study of a number of university courses and occupations from Law to History, Business Studies and Finance to Government Services and Politics itself.

Past pupils have gone on to work in a range of fields including Politics, Journalism, Law, Economics, Teaching, the Civil Service, Accountancy, Occupational Therapy and Business and Finance.