Syllabus: ‘A’ Level 8/9GPO1 (09/2013)
Examining Board: Pearson Edexcel 2013
Fast Track is a unique programme designed specifically for learners who want to obtain the qualifications in a short space of time; need to improve a current grade; revise to re-sit the AS/A level. Popular with mature students, returning learners, who need to prove academic ability before entry to higher education at University or, even improve employment prospects; all of whom want the flexibility of learning online at their own pace rather than conventional settings.
This Fast Track level three (3) course is based on the Edexcel Advanced General Certificate Education (GCE); that also includes units from the AS level (A-GCE) Specifications for Government & Politics, which became available from 2013 examination series.
The concept of the programme is to be able to study at a paced level that allows students to complete the programme in a short space of time, usually 12 months. In doing so, students can plan to sit the most suitable examination series following completion. Students can also use the course to sit either the A level or the AS level and in some cases students may want to sit both!
The College remains at the competitive edge of online and distance learning; and through our excellent track record, provide a quality assured programme of learning our fees are within the range of market trends for similar courses, but remain readily affordable.
Our fee for this course is £ 365:00* which can be paid in full or, through instalments.
(*The course fee excludes ALL external examinations costs).
This course consists of FOUR UNITS (4) from the GCE ‘A’ Level and is a qualification in its own right. Students are strongly recommended to familiarise themselves with the new Edexcel specification for the A level GCE in Government & Politics (for first examination in 2014).
The GCE Government and Politics specification comprises of 4 units with pathways at A2. The AS units provide an understanding of how UK political systems works and how it is linked to contemporary concerns and events. A2 offers a broad choice of topics covering political issues in the UK and EU, political ideologies, the politics of the USA and international/global politics. There is an opportunity in Units 3 and 4 to either teach corresponding topics.
Oxford Learning College offer the opportunity to study Government & Politics courses as specified by Edexcel. This A level syllabus has several features:
· The GCE Government and Politics specification has been designed to encourage interest in and enthusiasm for the study of Government and Politics
· Enables the student to develop an insight into political beliefs central to an understanding of the modern world.
· The specification provides a broad AS course which provides a structured foundation of political knowledge on which to develop skills for citizenship and further study
· Has a core emphasis on contemporary politics and current areas of constitutional concern, putting the UK in the context of the EU and the wider world. „
· Opportunity for students to specialise in different areas at A2 giving students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of aspects of the subject at a higher level.
· The opportunity for students to engage in contemporary political debates is a key part of the ‘questioning’ and ‘reasoning’ of this interesting subject.
· The assessment through a series of analytical assignments and final examinations has been designed to be linear and will support student progression in the course and beyond.
Course Entry Requirements
Good English oral, reading and writing skills, previous study at level two (GCSE, IGCSE etc) or equivalent. Full tutor support is given although, Tutor’s are not able to support beyond specific syllabus queries, learning difficulties and marking/grading of TMA’s. General support is offered by OLC through its online and telephone student services centre.
Approximately: Ninety (90) hours of personal study time, per unit, which is supported by the student’s OLC Tutor, which is an optional arrangement for students, but we greatly encouraged students to access this to achieve a good examination outcome.
This qualification supports progression in our College to other Advanced GCE and other International Higher Awards in many academic subjects (see our level 4 & 5 portfolio of courses online); and also, allow students to move onto Higher Education or similar Institution completing: Foundation Degrees; Degrees Post-graduate and other formal qualifications.
Course Syllabus & Contents
The whole ‘A’ level has FOUR (4) specific units of study, which are sub-divided into FOUR (4) Units of learning, these are:
The Advanced Subsidiary GCE is the first half of the GCE course and consists of Units 1 and 2. It may be awarded as a discrete qualification or contribute 50 per cent of the total Advanced GCE marks
Unit One – People and Politics
This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people and encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation. Students will also be introduced to the concept of democracy and some of the different kinds that are encountered. This will include the wider spectrum of political engagement through political groups and parties. Topics will include, among others:
· The different types of democracy
· Electoral systems and electoral reform
· The changing party system and recent General Elections
· Political Parties
· Pressure Groups
Unit Two – Governing the United Kingdom (UK)
This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions and the relationship amongst them in the context of multilevel governance. The student will explore issues relating to the following topics:
· The UK Constitution and constitutional reform
· Parliamentary and political sovereignty
· The Executive
· The Judiciary
This unit will introduce you to the major governmental processes within the UK. It will encourage you to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions and the relationship of these institutions in the context of multilevel governance.
A Level Module Options
Building on the AS module, the unit becomes part of a much wider context, in which you will develop a critical analysis and understanding of the many questions that form politics and governance. This will include learning about the socio-political framework that forms the foundations of the democracy. We have within our own expertise chosen from the core topic areas of Units 3 and 4 that are poignant and current and impact on our society. These are as follows:
Unit Three – Key Themes in Political Analysis
(Topic -A): UK Political Issues
This topic looks at key policy issues in the UK, particularly those that have affected the outcomes of general elections or stimulated public debate. This will include:
Economic Policy: Students will gain a wider knowledge of the general relationship between the state and the market in economic policy and of debates about the role of economic management. Policies in relation to economic growth, stability, privatisation, fiscal and monetary policy, employment, inflation, the distribution of income taxation, exchange rates, and trade unions. The impact of economic globalisation and the EU context of economic policy making should also be taken into account.
Social Welfare, Health and Education: Students will gain a wider general knowledge of the scope and scale of welfare provision and of the changing emphasis of the welfare debate in the UK A knowledge of party positions and developing public policy related to the benefits or social security system, the education system, the health service and housing provision.
Law, Order and Criminal Justice: Students will gain a focused knowledge of party positions and developing public policy related to crime and public order. This includes changing attitudes towards prison policy, young offenders, anti-terrorism and police powers and accountability; Crime and punishment. Students may also be required to assess the efficacy of law and order policies.
Environmental Policy: Learn and develop a clear understanding of party positions and developing public policy related to the environment. This includes attitudes to ‘climate change’, pollution, resource depletion and the environmental aspects of other policy areas such as transport, food, planning and rural affairs. Understand the impact of EU and other policies and treaties on UK environmental policy should also be demonstrated.
Unit Four – Extended Themes in Political Analysis
(Topic -A): EU Political Issues
This topic examines the political issues that have arisen as a result of the process of European integration and the impact of the EU on the UK. It also looks at European institutions and their interrelationships and the European economic and social model. Students will learn about:
Impact of the EU on the UK: Understand the impact of the EU on UK policies and political parties, including changes in party attitudes towards the EU. „ An awareness of the factors that have shaped these policies and debates about their impact and future development. „ Effects on the constitution, on institutions and institutional relationships and on pressure group politics.
European Integration: Understand the process of European integration and of key treaties and phases in the integration process, including the issue of an EU constitution. „ A knowledge of debates about the implications and benefits of integration, and of the relationship between integration and enlargement.
EU Institutions and Their Relationships: Understand the key institutions of the EU and of the relationship between and among them, including an awareness of the location of policy-making power within the EU and of the balance of power between the EU and member states and amongst member states. Conceptualise the processes within the EU for ensuring democratic participation and accountability and of the success of the reform process.
Domestic Policy Issues: A knowledge of the different economic and social models in EU states and the development of EU economic and social policies such as monetary union, the Common Agricultural Policy, tariffs and trade and those policies contained in the Social Chapter. Understand the range of factors that have shaped these policies and of debates about their impact and future development.
Although the course programme is ‘self contained’ the student may wish to obtain further materials in regards to learning. The following materials are in the main useful, but not essential to guide learning: -
The Key Source for the course is the Anthology prepared by Pearson Edexcel, which can be obtained at:
Andrew Northedge – The Good Study Guide Open University
All of the above can also be obtained in an electronic format
Greater detail of all the course information and resources will be provided after enrolment.
Awarding Body Syllabus
The course does not as standard have any examinations board ‘course work’ element and is therefore, has an end loaded final assessment by a FOUR (4) papers across the four syllabus units of learning.
To ensure that the four assessment objectives are clearly placed and assessed prior to the final examination, the TMA’s are weighted in accordance with these AO statements below:
AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant institutions, processes, political concepts, theories and debates.
AO2: Analyse and evaluate political information, arguments and explanations, and identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of the political systems studied.
AO3: Construct and communicate coherent arguments making use of a range of appropriate political vocabulary.
Quality of Written Communication (QWC)
In addition, in GCE A-level specifications which require Students to produce written material in English, Students must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to purpose and to complex subject matter; organise, information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate. In this Specification, QWC will be assessed in all questions and in all units
Course Assessment Requirements
All the course units carry a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA). These are marked by a dedicated team of tutors, one of whom will be allocated you as a student. They will advise your learning, mark your TMA’s and answer any academic course queries that may arise.
Students are also fully supported by a dedicated Student Services Team who are available to, guide all non-academic aspects of learning; from accessing materials, finding welfare support and any other pastoral or administrative needs during your course.
Each unit will also have its own Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA). These assignments will be based on actual examination questions (from past papers), which will prepare the student for the final examination. There is no coursework option for this programme.
The TMA should be sent/uploaded to the ODL tutor through the Online Campus, for marking and grading. Although tutor support is optional, it is a vital component in preparing the student for the examination and therefore, it is encouraged that students take full advantage of this support. The completed TMA unit can then be used as a ‘revision tool’ for the final examination.
Each TMA (four in all) completed once study of both the AS and A Level Modules for a unit are concluded. TMA’s will be graded in the same manner as the examination paper, with feedback comments and support/advise from the course tutor.
Each unit will have a short optional ‘self tasks’ which will ask revision questions about the content being learnt in the unit, and answers provided for the student to check their own knowledge and understanding. These ‘self tasks’ do not need to be sent into the tutor for marking – and if done so, would be returned unmarked!
Final Internal Grading
The scheme of assessment consists of a single tier, in which all components target the complete ranges of grades; from: A*–G. Students who fail to achieve grade G will be awarded Ungraded. The grades are weighted from marks attained in Units.
As there is no internal centre (OLC) coursework component, the internal OLC TMA’s do not form part of the final grading outcome for the student, although they do in essence prepare the student for a level of success in attaining a pass result in the examination. Therefore, it is advisable that students complete all TMA’s as part of their programme of learning and submitting them for tutor marking and comment.
The College will only provide academic references for such higher learning, only if the student has completed at least two (2) TMA’s. This allows the academic team to make an informed judgement of a student’s abilities for higher learning. In doing so, the College reserves the right to make a small charge for all academic reference requests.
All students take the single externally marked examination paper to attain the A Level GCE and/or AS Level or both, in Government & Politics.
Pearson Edexcel Awarding Body
Pearson Edexcel has a complete area of their website dedicated to students. This specialist area is full of helpful advice and guidance on all aspects of the courses being offered. We advise students to make use of this invaluable resource. This resource can be accessed at the following website:
Online learning materials, online resources, and full tutor support for one year upon signing our Terms and Conditions agreement.
Although the A-Level programmes build on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking an A-Level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literacy and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE. Please note that full tutor support is still provided throughout your course duration.
The format of the Examinations
PLEASE NOTE: All exams are held during the May - June exam period of every year.
If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examination through your local British Council, depending on your location.
Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.
After enrolling online, you will receive a username and password to access the On Campus area. This is delivered within a few moments and three-working days.
Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.