Politics is for boys who have a love of current affairs and debates. Through our teaching we explore contemporary politics and the distribution of power in modern Britain, as well as political concepts, values and ideologies.
Politics is taught in the Upper School only, but the lively Politics and Economics Society, Polecon, runs a programme of speakers which attracts many younger pupils.
AS and A level
We follow the OCR course (pdf) at AS and A levels.
At AS we look at Government in the UK, considering such questions as: the role and function of Parliament; the nature, role and ideologies of political parties; the role of pressure groups; whether the UK has become more or less democratic in recent years; and how effectively rights and liberties are protected in the UK.
The A2 course looks at political ideas and concepts. Major theories in modern political thought to do with issues like rights, democracy, power and authority, the nation state and globalisation, are explored. In addition to new ideologies like religious fundamentalism and ecologism, we study traditional ideologies such as socialism, liberalism and conservatism. We then build on this theoretical understanding to look at how these concepts lead to political debates in the world today: for example, whether globalisation is a cause or effect of Islamic fundamentalism, whether international institutions are able to deal with the financial crisis, or whether the security of the UK should come before individual rights.
Polecon, St Paul’s joint Economics and Politics Society, is open to all boys. Through this we regularly invite in speakers – from George Galloway to Eric Pickles - to discuss topical issues and answer questions. Furthermore, Junior Politics society is a way for young members of the school to explore their interests in the subject through debate and discussion. We also encourage Paulines to explore their interest in the subject by entering numerous essay competitions run by universities and political societies.
After St Paul's
The presence of Old Paulines in public life is very marked: George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Ed Vaizey MP; Matthew Gould, previously PPS to both David Miliband and William Hague at the Foreign Office and the first Jewish British ambassador to Israel; Lord Razzall of Mortlake, Liberal Democrat spokesman on Trade and Industry; Lord Baker of Dorking CH PC.
Other Old Paulines notable for their work in politics include academics such as:
- Isaiah Berlin, a twentieth-century philosopher and historian of philosophy, famous for his work on liberty and pluralism, fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and President of the British Academy (1974-78)
- Max Beloff, a twentieth century historian of government, Conservative peer, and principal of the University College of Buckingham
- George Cole, Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, Oxford, between 1944–57 and President of the Fabian Society
- Professor Leonard Schapiro, Professor of Political Science, with Special Reference to Russian Studies, London School of Economics, 1963–75
- David Butler, social scientist and psephologist
Politics Staff Members