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Who has the power in the UK and the US? How democratic is the society we live in? Is it possible to influence our governments to effect change?
Everything is political, and the study of Politics involves anything and everything that affects the lives of ordinary people and the society we live in. In lessons, students will develop their understanding of a wide variety of current issues, as well as gaining a wealth of transferable skills such as public speaking, critical thinking and debating skills. Outside of lessons, students will immerse themselves in Politics and hopefully gain a lifelong passion for the subject.
What are our results like?
The Politics department is very proud of its consistently excellent results. In 2018, 84% of our students achieved A*-B grades in their Politics A level.
What do our students have to say about us?
“Politics at CGS is great as it opens up your understanding of your own country’s political sphere, and why decisions we often never understand, are made” – Will Tame, Year 12.
“Politics is fun and interesting to study - and the way it is taught at CGS is very engaging and helpful” – Henry Rutherford, Year 13
“The Politics Department at Chesham organizes amazing trips and events – my highlight was the EU referendum debate with representatives from a variety of political backgrounds” – Sophia Lingley, Year 13
“At Chesham, Politics is really good to study as it broadens your knowledge of both the UK and US Politics. It especially helped us with understanding the 2016 EU referendum and how we would be affected by the outcome” – Izzy Hummerstone, Year 13.
What do we study?
The Politics A Level (first teaching September 2017) takes a look at the political systems in the UK and the USA. We will be following the Edexcel syllabus as follows:
|COMPONENT 1 - UK POlitics|
Democracy and Participation / Political Parties / Electoral systems / Voting Behaviour and the media
|COMPONENT 2 - UK Government|
|The Constitution / Parliament / Prime Minister and the executive / Relationship between institutions
|COMPONENT 3 - Comparative Politics (USA)|
The US constitution and federalism / US Congress / US presidency / US Supreme Court / Democracy and participation / Civil Rights
How can students stay up to date with the latest political developments?
The Politics department runs a Twitter account so students can keep up to date with the most recent and relevant political developments. A Level students should follow us @cgsaspolitics.
Our students also benefit from our subscription to Pre Chewed Politics. This is an excellent online textbook that consists of videos, worksheets and case studies. It is updated regularly meaning students are never exposed to out of date information.
Who are our Learning Leaders
In common with all other departments we have selected some students to help shape the department and to facilitate the exchange of views between students and teachers. Our current Learning Leaders are Grace Birdseye, Mehar Chauhan, Charlotte Keen, Max Biggs-Michaelides, Max McLeish, and Ian McCulloch.
What do we do beyond the classroom?
We aim to inspire a love of Politics that extends way beyond the classroom. As such, students have a wealth of extra-curricular activities available to them, including trips, events and societies.
Year 13 New York and Washington Trip
Each autumn, 50 Politics, History and / or Sociology students jet off to immerse themselves in American culture in order to enhance their understanding of their A-Level courses.
Year 12 Parliament and Supreme Court Trip
We visit the Houses of Parliament and the UK Supreme Court every year. In 2016 Year 12 were very privileged to meet our local MP – Cheryl Gillan – and were able to ask her many probing questions about UK Politics.
University of the Third Age
For the past three years year 13 students have given lectures on politics topics to members of the History group of the U3A at Chesham Town Hall.
Anne Crabbe, the History Group Convenor, said:
“The Year 13 politics students from Chesham Grammar School gave a sparkling and informative presentation last Monday to Chess Valley U3A History Group. Their presentation stimulated many interesting questions and comments. It is hoped that the History Group and Chesham Grammar School will have further joint ventures.”
Public Debates for students
Each year the department, with the help of Year 12 students, organises a political debate that is open to parents, staff and students. In March 2016, six panelists including Baroness Bowles (Lib Dem), Ray Finch (UKIP) and Kalypso Nicolaidis (University of Oxford) took part in a Question Time style debate on the EU Referendum question. This was followed by a Mock Referendum in school. In 2015 a similar debate saw all the Chesham and Amersham constituency candidates take part in a very popular debate at the school, before the 2015 General Election. We work closely with other schools to help coordinate these events for Politics students across Buckinghamshire.
R.A. Butler Prize Competition
Each year, Year 12 students are encouraged to enter the R.A. Butler Prize Competition which is run by the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. In 2017, students wrote essays on a diverse range of topics including why there have been so few wars in the last decade, how to tackle inequality and how far globalisation is compatible with democracy.
Oxford Global United Nations
We are pleased that we have been awarded ten places on Oxford Global MUN 2017. The conference should provide students with the opportunity to discuss international issues as well as being able to learn more about life at Oxford University. Former student and current Oxford undergraduate Millie Wild is currently helping to organise this event and says, ‘I recalled having attended a Model United Nations programme when I was a pupil at Chesham Grammar school. I'm currently part of a team organising a home conference (similar to the one in Aylesbury, but significantly bigger). I found the MUN experience valuable and believe it helped in my application to university (especially as I am studying Politics) and also helped me get onto the team now that I'm here.’
Politics Society runs every Tuesday at 2pm and is organised entirely by students. Leaders for the next year are elected by the members and the society is open to all year groups. Students debate a diverse range of topics – everything from Brexit to Black Lives Matter to feminism. The Politics Society is currently run by Joe Hann and Aaron Cousins.
Politics Documentary Club
The Politics Documentary Society runs every Thursday lunchtime. It is organised by students and open to everyone in Years 11, 12 and 13. The students watch a range of political documentaries that have covered topics as diverse as the US prison system to the rise of Macron. The Politics Documentary Society is currently run by Molly Lagan.
Where do our students end up?
The Politics department is delighted that so many of its students go on to study Politics at leading universities. In recent years these have included:
George Nixon – Journalism- University of Kent
Kate Jameson - English - Exeter
Dom Brown – Politics and International Relations - Lancaster
Ben Lane –Politics - Bristol
Dan Levy – History and Politics – Southampton
Harvey James – History – Exeter
Gemma L – Law - Southampton
Zoe Lack – English - Nottingham
Eva Dolton – International Relations at Nottingham
Politics Department Teachers
Mrs Harris - Subject Leader for Politics/History and Politics Teacher
Mr Bradbury - Assistant Headteacher/History and Politics Teacher
Miss Houghton – Politics, Sociology and History Teacher/Head of Darwin