Government & Politics
What makes us passionate about our subject? (Intent)
A range of inter-connected subjects such as Psychology, Sociology and Politics are included in Social Studies. They are all dedicated to the analysis of human beings. Uncovering the surprising behaviour of humans as individuals or as social groups and institutions is pivotal to the allure of Social Studies. Our sometimes bizarre relationships and the diverse array of institutions that societies have developed to perpetuate themselves are all matters of concern and controversy. Anthropology provides the intellectual glue that binds these subject areas together. Social research can come to conclusions that challenge our common sense and reach surprising conclusions. For example, anthropologists have concluded that the people on earth with the most leisure time are the San people in Namibia. They work for around two hours a day to survive in one of the harshest desert environments on earth. Being more aware of human diversity is empowering and fulfilling and encourages students to be thoughtful and tolerant citizens. Part of the appeal of the Social Studies subjects is that they can investigate what is, but also what might be. Recent developments in psychology about the complex interplay between genetics and environment have added to the innately intriguing question about whether we are more shaped by nature or nurture. Conservatives, liberals and socialists have very different views of human nature. Are we basically flawed sinners, or rational and self-interested, or plastic and shaped by our environment? Teasing out the arguments and implications of these views of human nature is the brain training for a lifetime. Being able to critically evaluate major theories and to assess the research methods used is a vital skill in our contemporary society.
What do our students gain by studying our subject? (Impact)
Students develop a range of positive skills and are able to plan and conduct their own research by collecting and evaluating qualitative and quantitative data. This provides the foundations for a wide range undergraduate courses and careers that involve the use of data and the use of evidence. Students become aware of concepts such as globalisation. They gain a balanced appreciation that greater political, cultural and economic integration is a force for both good and ill in the 21st century and, as a result, learners are better equipped to be citizens. Students appreciate their roles and responsibilities particularly in relation to civic affairs. By structuring and modelling key knowledge and skills the study of Social Studies prepares students to develop as active, responsible and reflective members of the community. Psychology in particular incorporates the study of healthy brain development, mental health and also the potential to profile and deploy forensic techniques to solve and reduce crime. These examples illustrate that students can see how abstract concepts can have practical applications. Increasingly Psychology is being used in a multi-discipline environment and the potential to apply concepts to many human performance situations is motivating and allows students to aspire and achieve in a variety of useful careers from aviation safety and cockpit design to bereavement counselling. However, the ability to understand and communicate arguments with clarity is a key focus of the Social Studies subjects. The successful student will continue to think critically, question assumptions, provide alternative answers and advocate evidence based solutions to become active citizens.
We follow the Edexcel route B specification (Political Ideologies)
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