St Paul’s School / Academic

Curriculum

Politics is taught for a two year A level course only, but the lively Politics and Economics Society, Polecon, runs an exciting programme of speakers which attracts many younger pupils.

Currently we follow the OCR course for AS and A level.

At AS level we focus on the contemporary government and politics of the UK. We consider such questions as: the role and function of Parliament; the ideologies and internal democracy 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. In addition, a compulsory extended essay competition is held for all pupils in this year, which encourages them to go beyond the syllabus, and promotes independent learning and scholarship.

The A2 course looks at political ideas and concepts and examples can be drawn upon from an international context. We explore major political concepts such as rights, democracy, power and authority, the nation state and globalisation. In addition, we study a range of political ideologies and their thinkers ranging from feminism and religious fundamentalism through to conservatism, socialism and liberalism. 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.

From September 2017 we shall be following an exciting new two-year linear A level course which will also include the study of global politics in the second year.

Extra-curricular

Polecon, St Paul’s joint Politics and Economics Society, is open to all boys. The executive committee is comprised of a group of Upper Eighth (final year) pupils who contact speakers and invite them to address the society. In recent years we have hosted Members of Parliament such as Diane Abbott, Douglas Carswell, Iain Duncan –Smith, George Galloway, Jeremy Hunt, Eric Pickles and Ed Vaizey. In addition, the pupils themselves chair some weekly meetings and we hold a discussion on topical issues such as the migrant crisis or the EU Referendum.

Junior Politics society is open to the younger pupils and is held jointly with the final year at the Junior School.  It provides a forum for them to explore their interests in the subject through debate, discussion and presentations. For example this year we have held discussions on the US elections, the politics of space development, First Past the Post and Trident. 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

  • Photo of Rohan Edwards

    Rohan Edwards

  • Photo of George Boss

    George Boss

  • Photo of Caroline Gill

    Caroline Gill