Government and Politics

Politics is all around us, yet all too often people’s opinions about it are reduced to inarticulate prejudice or confused apathy. We aim to remedy that in our students with a comprehensive examination of both the institutions and the ideas which dominate political life in Scotland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the wider world.

Politics goes well with History, Geography, Economics, Modern Languages, and English. It is an invaluable background for students wishing to pursue careers in the media, civil service, business, Europe, NGOs, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, politics. Politics and International Relations are popular courses for Fettesians at university.

We offer two routes through sixth form:


This syllabus aims to provide a programme of political education which will develop the skills, knowledge and content necessary for an understanding of how the British and political system works, including the impact of the European Union, the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the Ulster Peace Process. The British system is compared with others, especially the American Constitution, to see it in context.

Although no previous study of the subject is required, a good grade in GCSE History and English is preferred; Politics is an essay-based subject with a lot of reading. An active interest in and awareness of British politics is a definite advantage for students, who are expected routinely to read the newspapers and watch or listen to news programmes about political matters.

Politics is assessed through examined modules based on a choice of short, essay and document-based questions.

How is A Level Politics assessed?

3 x 2-hour exams (there is no coursework)


IB Global Politics is a new course which has just completed its pilot, with first examinations in 2014. Although much of the taught part of the course is similar in content to the Upper Sixth element of the A Level course, it differs in significant other ways; it is primarily international rather than focused on the UK, with no papers on British government, and there is a significant proportion of coursework..

“The global politics course develops international mindedness in students through an examination of fundamental political concepts and debates which have global significance, and through an exploration of key contemporary global challenges. The course considers contemporary examples and case studies at a variety of levels, from local to global, as well as encouraging comparison between such examples and case studies.” - IB subject guide

The course consists of four compulsory units:

• Power, sovereignty and international relations
• Human rights
• Development
• Peace and conflict

How is Global Politics assessed?

•Paper 1: 1 hour 15 min examination based on sources (30% SL,20% HL)
•Paper 2: 1 hour 45 min essay-based examination (45% SL, 40% HL)
•Internal assessment (25%SL, 20% HL).

Take a look at the following PDF for full details about Government and Politics at Fettes: Government & Politics 2016 [PDF - 125kB]