Politics is at the heart of everything we do. It is inspiring, exciting and relevant. It is never dull or predictable. You will learn to identify political arguments, weigh evidence against opinion and come to understand how your life is affected by political activity. You will soon find out that politics is not just about men in grey suits! At A Level, you will explore topics such as why people vote for particular parties - is it the media, the appeal of leaders or are there longer-term factors such as age or class? Turnout in General Elections in recent years has declined in the post-war period but was very high in the Scottish Referendum - what does that tell us about participation in politics? You will explore the impact of BREXIT, devolution and human rights legislation on the way the UK is governed.

The course could hardly be more relevant as you find out what the political parties stand for and their role in the political system and, as more citizens take to the streets, you will consider whether protest is effective and how pressure groups can influence policy. You will also examine the ‘nuts and bolts’ of our political system; the power of the Prime Minister, the role of Parliament and the limitations placed on their powers by the Supreme Court.

In the second year, you will study the politics and government of the United States and use this to complete a comparative study with the UK. You will also explore some of the main ideological traditions in politics and investigate important questions of political philosophy, such as, what makes a just and fair society?

Year 1

  • UK Politics
  • UK Government

Year 2

  • Political Ideas: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Nationalism
  • Comparative politics: government and politics of the USA
Ben Cowdell

Ben Cowdell

Studied: Law, History, Politics + AS Economics & EPQ (2012-2014)

Progression: History & Politics, University of Sussex, plus MA in Corruption & Governance

Ben is currently attempting to enter the rail industry (a personal goal which he hopes to combine with his education) as a signaller or similar.

Ben says: "My time at Varndean was invaluable, solidifying and honing my personal and educational skills from secondary school. The homely feel of the college was why I chose it as my first choice, and Varndean gave me a stable and friendly environment with excellent teaching and extra-curricular opportunities (trips, careers, library services etc). The EPQ was particularly useful as it introduced me to the level of writing required at university level and I used the referencing, presenting and evidence gathering skills gained from this qualification at university. This gave me a great advantage amongst my fellow students, especially during the first year."


Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
100% exam
Career Pathways
Students progress to a wide variety of university degrees. Past students are now working in the House of Commons, as lawyers, journalists, teachers, lobbyists, police officers and in business and the civil service.
Transferable Skills
Debating skills; negotiation; understanding different perspectives; formulating your own opinion; subject knowledge to enable understanding of real-life situations.
Other Information

Varndean has a weekly Politics Society where you can hear a wide range of speakers, from MPs from all parties to pressure group activists. The department also has links to the two local universities and organises lectures from subject experts. Trips are also organised to the Houses of Parliament and party conferences as well as residential trips to Edinburgh and the USA.

Politics Instagram
Enquiries To
Catherine Bryan: