Studying Politics at Wycliffe provides pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed judgments about topical issues which are fundamental to playing an active role in a democracy.
During the course, pupils will study the following; the role of political parties, the growth of pressure groups, the purpose of elections, how voters vote, the influence of the media, how much power the executive wields, whether the cabinet continues to perform a worthwhile role, why legislatures should be reformed and how citizens have their rights protected (and eroded). A range of political ideas are also studied ranging from the mainstream (liberalism, conservatism and socialism) to more esoteric (feminism and ecologism for example). It is therefore a course for the pupil who has an interest in current affairs, is curious about the world around them and who can engage with topical debate.
The course is taught and examined in a linear fashion: There are three examinations – one each on the UK and US politics and a final paper on political thought and key political thinkers – all taken at the end of Year 13.
Politics encourages healthy and passionate discussion but this must be informed and knowledge based. The course is highly contemporary so it does require pupils to be up to speed with topical news stories. A rich variety of teaching strategies are deployed to do this but much is required outside of the classroom. To enable greater political engagement, frequent trips are organised. There is an annual excursion to hear Prime Minister’s Questions, pupils visit the Welsh Assembly every year and in the past we’ve invited guest speakers into Wycliffe, attended recordings of ‘Any Questions’, heard eminent speakers at the Cheltenham Literary Festival but undoubtedly the highlight has been the biennial trip to Washington DC.
Recent Politics alumni have gone on to study Politics and International Relations degrees at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Birmingham, St Andrews and York; many have then gone on to use their political knowledge in a variety of careers ranging from journalism to parliamentary research.