Government and Politics
Global and domestic politics constantly shifts and shapes our lives. Government & Politics A Level is therefore a fascinating and highly relevant subject to study. Understanding contemporary events, opinions and theories will help boys to form their own views about the dynamic world of politics.
AIMS OF The Politics Department
- Instil in our pupils a long standing fascination with politics and desire to participate actively in civil society
- Encourage our pupils to form an appreciation of what politics offers both academically and pastorally
- Develop essential knowledge and understanding of political structures, systems and theories and how they relate to everyday life as a politically active citizen
- Develop skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation
- Thoroughly prepare pupils for external examinations and enhance their chances of securing their first choice university
Boys who choose to study the full Government & Politics A Level embark on a two year linear course. They study UK Politics & Government, political ideologies (covering liberalism, conservatism, socialism & nationalism) and US Politics and Government. They are examined in three two hour papers at the end of the two year course. Boys must develop a healthy appreciation of contemporary politics to ensure that they can illustrate theories, arguments and conceptual understanding with a range of relevant case studies. They also study comparative political theories in the Upper Sixth, looking at similarities and differences between the UK and US political systems.
Boys who choose to study Government & Politics AS Level embark on a shorter one year course. They study UK Politics & Government and sit two examinations at the end of their Lower Sixth year. The papers contain a variety of questions styles and tariffs, from shorter questions to essays. It is also vital that boys remain engaged with current affairs as a high level of contemporary knowledge and awareness is expected.
No prior political knowledge is required when our pupils begin the AS or A Level courses, but it is expected that boys will have a healthy curiosity about the world and a desire to understand political events at a deeper level. Politics fits into several different subject combinations, particularly those in the humanities and social science disciplines. Boys become fully immersed in the political world through regular media discussions in class.
Politics is a very well respected A Level and we regularly have about 60 boys studying this subject in the Sixth Form. Successful students will gain skills of analysis, independent thought and presentation of logical and structured argument. Politics is becoming an increasingly popular option at university. It is offered in different subject combinations at both Oxford and Cambridge and a university course in politics can help in accessing any number of careers. Obvious choices would include the Civil Service, local government, journalism or working for pressure groups, charities or political think tanks. There is also a chance to explore politics outside the classroom with an annual trip to Westminster for Lower Sixth and a biennial trip to Washington DC for both Lower and Upper Sixth pupils studying Politics and History.
Debating is an increasingly popular co-curricular activity at Hampton. Several boys also compete at national level in the Oxford Union, Cambridge Union and Observer Mace competitions.
Model United Nations
Hampton boys take part in a number of Model United Nation (MUN) events throughout the academic years. We attend up to eight conferences a year at The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Reigate Grammar School and Haileybury School. The conferences are an opportunity for secondary school pupils of all ages to explore and debate the major global issues of the day. MUN is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda.
The boys are asked to prepare policy statements and resolutions in advance, to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. The aim, over the course of the conference, is to get their resolutions debated and passed by the policy committees.
MUN is open to all boys in the School from Third Year to Sixth Form and many boys enjoy attending the weekly lunchtime club. This provides a chance to practise debating skills and prepare for forthcoming conferences. Hamptonians always achieve very highly at MUN conferences, winning a variety of individual and team awards.
The Politics Department organises two main trips for pupils. The Lower Sixth boys visit Westminster for a tour of Parliament, followed by a conference attended by high profile politicians. This provides an enriching opportunity for boys to engage directly with contemporary figures such as Kenneth Clarke, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.
Every two years, the department takes Politics and History students to Washington DC, which directly supports their study of American politics. Boys will visit the US Congress, the US Supreme Court and the Smithsonian Museums. In 2018 we also enjoyed a visit to the BBC Bureau, including a fascinating meeting with the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel.