October 2022 Politics subject update

7 October 2022

This update contains useful information, news and advice for Edexcel Politics teachers.

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AS and A level Politics specification changes

The AS and A level specifications and sample assessment materials have been updated with some minor amendments. You can download them here:

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These new issues are for first teaching September 2022 and first assessment Summer 2023.

Please refer to the 'Guidance for teachers' document for the full details.

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Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Source booklets have been added to AS and A level Papers 1 and 2. This will make it easier for students to refer to the sources when writing their answers, and copies the approach taken in GCE History.
  • References to the European Union have been amended following the DfE’s updated subject content (May 2022). The amendments apply to AS and A level Paper 2 UK Government content and clarify how the EU should be considered in the context of this component now that the UK has left the EU.
  • Section 1.1 - The European Communities Act (1972) has been deleted.
  • Section 4.3 - the first bullet point has been changed to remove reference to social policy; the second and third bullet points have been amended and combined to read: 'The impact of leaving the EU on UK Parliamentary sovereignty in relation to policy making.'
  • The EU guidance document (available on the qualification page under 'guide'), which also explores the broader relevance of the EU to contemporary British politics, will be updated shortly.
  • A few essay question stems have been amended to reflect practice in the live series. Any 30-mark essay question stems which used 'Evaluate the extent to which...' have been amended to 'Evaluate the view that...'. This is to help clarify for students the need to reach a judgement on the view stated in the essay question.
  • Appendix 2: the definitions of the key terms Supplementary Vote (SV) and Executive orders have been corrected.
  • In addition to these new issues, the mark scheme indicative content in future live series will revert to the layout and approach taken in the sample assessment materials.

New mock paper for A level Politics

We recently met with a group of Politics teachers to discuss issues relating to our A level Politics assessment arising from the Summer 2022 exam series. Following feedback received this summer we undertook a review of our recent question papers, comparing them to the original sample assessment materials accredited by Ofqual. As a result of this review and the helpful feedback we received, we have decided to put in place the following measures:

  • Questions in future live series will more accurately reflect the level of demand of questions in the accredited sample assessment materials.
  • We will use more current teachers in our question paper production process.
  • A new set of mock papers for A level Politics will be released in mid-November to exemplify further this recalibration of the level of demand.

Summer 2023 assessment arrangements

On 29 September, the DfE and Ofqual confirmed plans for Summer 2023 exams.

  • GCSE, AS, and A level exams in England will largely return to pre-pandemic arrangements next summer.
  • To protect students against the disruption of recent years, and in case students’ performance is slightly lower than before the pandemic, senior examiners will use the grades achieved by previous cohorts of pupils, along with prior attainment data, to inform their decisions about where to set grade boundaries. This mirrors the approach used in the first years of reformed GCSEs and A levels.
  • No Advance Information of exam content will be provided.

2023 Provisional Exam timetables

The provisional exam timetables for Summer 2023 are now available on our website.

Access to Scripts deadline: 16 December

Don’t forget you can our free Access to Scripts service to view your students’ marked exam scripts online or download as a PDF. It is available from results day until the 16 December 2022. You can find more information about how to use this service, as well as guidance on our other post-results service in my Getting Ready for Results Day update.

Student survey, July-August 2022

We sent out a survey to students who sat A level Politics this summer, to get a snapshot of how they felt after finishing their course, and to ask them why they chose the subject, what they thought of the content and assessment, and their plans for next steps. Thank you to all the teachers who shared the survey with their students – we received 276 responses from students at more than 80 centres!

The feedback we received from students has been very useful. It showed that students are engaged with current affairs, value and enjoy studying A level Politics, which in turn deepens their interest in politics generally, and find the subject very useful for progression to university and in developing career skills. Many students also raised concerns about the volume of content and about their experiences in the exam hall, including the complexity of some exam questions this summer. These responses have confirmed our decision to review recent exam series and we will undertake further research about other aspects over the winter.

We intend to run student surveys across more subjects after the 2023 exam series.

A level Politics training events

This term we are running a Summer 2022 feedback event for A level Politics.

  • Pearson Edexcel A level Politics online event: 2022 summer series feedback - 13 October 2022 at 16:00 - 17:30 GMT

Look out for our Spring term network event which will focus on the new mock papers, with exemplar answers.

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