We live in an increasingly interconnected and globalised world. The study of Politics allows our students to make sense of this world and the connections therein. It also enables them to investigate different interpretations of the nature of power, development, conflict and human rights. They do this through the application of political theory and concepts to up to date case studies that reflect the ever-changing political situation from around the globe.
We aim to create the very best thinkers, analysts and communicators. The aim of the Politics curriculum is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to be able to understand the ever changing world around them and to be able to communicate their analysis of current events. We want students to be able to navigate the best course for themselves through an understanding of power and influence in the 21st century and to appreciate how decisions are made that affect their lives.
Our curriculum at Holcombe goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable. Cultural capital is developed in the Politics department by students engaging with the news and regularly having to report back to the rest of the class to share their learning. Students are instructed to consume high quality information by taking part in a range of activities such as listening to lectures and reading articles from leading political commentators. Our curriculum in Politics supports the ethos statement of the school as students are constantly challenged to think independently when engaging in debates in class. Manners, respect and tolerance are always exhibited in Politics lessons which allows students to express themselves in a confident manner. As a knowledge-engaged curriculum we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. Knowledge is delivered to students and then built upon through the practice of essays, with regular quality feedback being given to support student progress. The knowledge acquired then allows students to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Who should study politics, and why? The short answer is that everyone should study politics – all members of society should have a general understanding of the rules under which they live. For these rules to be effective, as many citizens as possible should actively participate in making, upholding and, hopefully, changing these rules. This is what is meant by ‘active citizenship’. A healthy society is a society in which many people engage in political activity and do so with insight and understanding.
Politics is therefore particularly likely to suit students who:
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Home learning is supported and greatly encouraged by the Politics Department. This is enabled through blended learning opportunities and the availability of a wide range of resources, many of which are available online and some of which can be borrowed from department members. Both whole class and one to one support, where appropriate, can be delivered through a range of ways including the use of Microsoft Teams, SMHW and email.
The study of Politics offers clear preparation for a wide range of university courses. It also prepares students for the world of work with particular relevance to public service such as the police force, teaching and civil service. Politics is also becoming increasingly relevant to those who wish to work in the private sector; journalists, researchers, lawyers, engineers and financial sector workers are all influenced by political decisions made by people in power. They are increasingly finding that being aware of, understanding and helping to shape those decisions is not only helpful, but also necessary, in their chosen lines of work.
British Values are at the very core of Politics at Holcombe Grammar School. During students’ time studying Politics, they will be given the opportunity to understand why Britain is the way it is for them. Throughout our curriculum we look explicitly at all of the fundamental British Values., with the curriculum providing a wide and varied range of examples allowing students to consider British Values and the role they play in shaping our diverse and tolerant society. Some of these opportunities are identified below:
Democracy: The basis for the evolution of UK democracy is taught in Component One with issues such as suffragettes and the extension of the franchise, purpose and nature of elections and the extent of a democratic deficit in the UK. Politics explicitly examines the nature of democracy. The nature of democracy and liberal values is used as a perspective in when considering Political Thinkers.
Rule of law: International law and human rights law is explored in Global Politics. The role of the Supreme Court in the USA and UK is explored in Y12 Politics.
Individual Liberty: The rights and responsibilities of all electors is considered in Politics. Liberty as a concept is explored through considering a range of different political thinkers and perspectives in Politics and Global Politics. The idea of individual rights is fundamental to the study of both UK and global Politics.
Mutual respect: Politics develops skills of empathy and understanding. Students are encouraged to consider a wide range of perspectives and points and to ensure they listen attentively, respectfully and considerately to those of other views and political standpoints. Human nature is explicitly considered when looking at key political thinkers from a range of ideologies.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: Different ideological perspectives are explored in Politics and Global Politics, including concepts such as relativism that explicitly deal with equality of belief systems.