Politics is everywhere, and it assumes many forms. We can neither ignore its importance nor escape its influence. Like history, it affects us all, whether we choose to notice it or not. At the most obvious level, Politics is all about the interactions between people in society: it's in the pages of our newspapers, it's on our television screens; it's politicians kissing babies and waving to camera, armed with a small arsenal of once-inspirational slogans; and it's the endless round of elections, leadership challenges, debates, scandals, threats, promises, rants, acts, actions and bills which make up modern Government.
But on another level Politics is something far more universal than the distant proceedings of eccentric men and women with questionable business interests. Whenever a tabloid rumour sparks a witch-hunt, whenever a demonstration turns into a riot, whenever ideals and reality, people and principles clash, Politics is happening. And it is happening all the time.
As an A Level subject, Politics offers students an unparalleled opportunity to look at the driving forces of our society, and to ask - and be equipped to answer - the same questions which are being asked in Whitehall and Washington. As well as a chance to get under the bonnet of contemporary government, the fast pace of change and the packed schedule of departmental events mean that, for anyone with a healthy interest in the Whats, Whos and Whys of current affairs, Politics is never dull, and often provides surprising and wide-ranging opportunities, now and later in life.
The department specialises in both UK and US politics and after 2 years, students develop a high level of understanding of both systems. The course is taught in a very engaging and interactive manner and the opportunities for enrichment are endless. These could be by linking with our partner school in Hudson, Ohio; by editing our in-house political journal Preview, by joining a political party, by actively campaigning for an established pressure group, by undertaking work experience in Westminster or Brussels, by interviewing high profile political figures, by attending book launches, protest marches or conferences. Have a look at the photos below and speak to one of the Politics teachers for a fuller flavour of the department and what the study of Politics at A level entails.
Toby Cooper MA AKC PGCE (Durham), Head of Politics, Teacher of History, Head of Ridgefield, Assistant Director of Learning and Teaching
Toby studied History at undergraduate and postgraduate level at King's College London. He went on to take his PGCE at Durham University in 2005 and joined Caterham in September 2010. He is an experienced A Level examiner, oversees CLIO, coaches cricket and netball and wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed staff pantomime!
David Clark, BA (Hons) Exeter, MPhil Cambridge, PGCE, Teacher of Politics, Deputy Headmaster (External Relations)
David set up the Politics Department in 1999 and, since then, it has become established as an innovative and high profile department within the school. He launched Preview a year later and the popular exchange with the Western Reserve Academy in the USA. He is passionate about encouraging students to engage with the political world and is particularly renowned for his collection of historical artefacts and costumes!
Tom Murphy, MA (Oxon.), Deputy Head (Curriculum), Teacher of Politics
Tom joined the school in 1998 and taught History across all year groups and Politics in the Sixth Form. His specialisms are too numerous to mention but what he doesn't know about early modern history and American politics, for example, is not worth knowing. Tom is a 'very' senior examiner for Edexcel, a commentator on current affairs and has an arsenal of political jokes, quotes and anecdotes!