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Studying politics will give students a relevant understanding of the systems and structures within which we operate and a new appreciation of the political landscape of both this country and the USA.

Politics does not stand still. The political landscape changes every day, with new examples appearing constantly in the media. Students will learn and develop an understanding of democracy and participation, political parties, electoral systems, voting behaviour and the media. Alongside this, important core political ideas such as conservatism, liberalism, socialism are studied.

Students will focus on the UK Government, particularly the constitution, parliament, Prime Minister and executive and relationships between the branches. Non-core political ideas are also discussed.

Students will also study the USA with particular focus on the US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court & civil rights, democracy & participation and comparative theories.

Politics at A-Level provides students with a broad range of relevant and contemporary ideas, institutions, processes and issues to support. Students will develop their skills in critical thinking and analysis. Studying politics also provides students with the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly, the capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments.


The world is changing, and as a result our Politics are changing. The Edexcel A-Level Politics course helps our students engage with Political Environments that encompass their everyday lives and encourages them to think analytically and critically about what they see happening in the news.

The course looks at British and US Politics and enables the students to move past just a partisan understanding of politics, by asking them to engage with a wide range of different views, beliefs and philosophies that will test their own firmly held opinions.

The focus of the two years will be to create students who can write with fluency and argue using comparative analysis and evaluation. Students are urged to keep up with current affairs and complete a wide range of reading to help stretch and challenge their abilities.   


A Level Politics

Politics is a new subject at The Oratory, with only our second intake of students beginning their A-Level course in Summer 2023. The curriculum follows the Edexcel A-Level Politics Specification which examines:

    • Politics and Governance of the United Kingdom
    • Politics of the US and Comparative Politics
    • Political Ideologies

The course is split across 3 papers which students sit at the end of their two-year course. Throughout the 6th Form, students are taught how to effectively evaluate, how to comparatively analyse sources and political data or information, and how to structure an effective argument.

For more in-depth information, please see the A Level Options Booklet.

As a choice for A-Level, Politics goes well with a wide range of subjects. As a Social Science, Politics focuses on development and human relations, therefore making it a good fit with Human Geography. The focus on the Economy and the evaluation of economic theorists, such as Smith, Keynes and Von Hayek, ties it to Economics. The key skills of source evaluation, evaluation and comparative analysis, as well as the 20th Century focus means that there is a lot of common ground with the A Level History course, which looks at the American Civil Rights Movement, for example. With the knowledge and skills gained throughout the course, it would also be a good complimentary course for students studying Maths or Science.



The Politics Department run a wide range of trips and opportunities for students to develop their understanding of key British and US political institutions. In the first few weeks of the course, the students are taken to Westminster Palace where they are given a tour of the History and Governance of the UK. In U6th Form there is an opportunity to go to Vienna with the Psychology Department to gain a greater understanding of political ideologies in a city that was at the heart of the Cold War and the Liberalism vs Socialism debate. The Department is also considering on a Washington DC and New York trip with the Business and Economics Department.

Students are encouraged to be active participants in the Adelphi Society (Public Debating) to practice their argument skills. During elections (UK and US), the Politics students help run a mock election for all students and staff to actively engage, or actively disengage, with the electoral process. The last mock election in 2019 saw The Oratory's results reflect the turnout and results of the local Henley Constituency.

Beyond the Course

Politics and Political Science is one of the most popular degrees/courses taken across the UK, often combining itself with other branches of Social Science such as International Relations. Some students decide to take this subject further by combining it with Economics and Philosophy to study PPE at University. The skills and knowledge built through the study of Politics can lead to careers in a wide range of fields including the Civil Service, Consultancy, Finance and Journalism.


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The Oratory School

Tel: +44 (0)1491 683500