Course expectations Welcome to the AS Politics course. This booklet will provide you with an overview of the module that you are studying and should be referred to on a regular basis. Please read it carefully before your first lesson. We want you to enjoy the course and to fulfil your potential. In order to achieve this we have a number of expectations. You should: Attend all lessons unless absent through illness and complete any tasks missed Bring the correct equipment (including notes) to each lesson Keep your notes filed in an organised manner and bring to each class Complete all assignments by the set deadline Read as many articles, listen to the radio, watch the news. Participate fully in lessons Speak to the teacher if you are unsure of any of the content or you are concerned about any aspect of your studies Keep up to date on political developments by regularly watching the news and using the BBC website (other political websites do exist)
Assessment Your final examinations for these units will be in June. Throughout the course you will be expected to complete a variety of assessment tasks to develop your understanding of the course and your skills. You will be formally assessed prior to each Interim Review to achieve an accurate record of your progress.
AS Unit F851: Contemporary Politics of the UK
In this unit candidates are expected to show knowledge and understanding of parties, party systems and pressure groups in the United Kingdom as well as electoral systems, parliamentary elections and voting behaviour. Candidates will need a basic working knowledge of concepts such as democracy, participation and representation. They must also be aware of current political developments and be able to interpret and evaluate data. Political parties (mandatory) Concepts: representative government; responsible government; democracy; power, authority; influence. Political parties Definition; roles and functions. Party systems One-, two-, multi-party and dominant party systems; advantages and disadvantages of various systems; the UK party system. UK parties Structure and organisation of the main parties; basic values of the main parties; party democracy within the main parties. Funding political parties Main sources of party income; issues surrounding the funding of political parties; proposals for reform. Parties and the democratic process Contribution to the democratic process; criticisms. Key developments within and relating to political parties Pressure groups (mandatory) Concepts: representation; democracy; power; influence; pluralism; elitism; corporatism. Pressure groups Definition; types; role and functions. Methods Directaction; pressure groups and the executive; pressure groups and the legislature; pressure groups and the courts; pressure groups and the EU; pressure groups and public opinion. Impact and success Definitions of success; problems of assessing success; factors influencing success and failure. Pressure groups and the democratic process Contribution to the democratic process; criticisms. Key developments within and relating to pressuregroups Electoral systems and referenda Concepts: democracy; legitimacy; mandate; representation; representative government; responsible government Functions Purpose of elections and referenda Electoral systems Plurality systems; majority systems; proportional systems; hybrid systems.
Electoral systems in the UK Electoral reform in the UK
European; parliamentary; regional; local. Recent reform; criticisms of the various electoral systems used in the UK; party attitudes to further reform. Referenda Types; referenda in the UK; arguments for and against. Elections, referenda and the democratic process Contribution to the democratic process; criticisms. Key developments relating to electoral systems and referenda UK parliamentary elections Concepts: legitimacy; mandate; democracy; representation;...