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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 13:04 UK

More politics please

Josh Searl, Jon Harris, and Ben Pritchard
Lord Williams's School
Oxfordshire

We are three A-Level students studying at Lord Williams School, Oxfordshire.

Examination
GCSE... no politics option

As part of our politics work on pressure groups, we recently set up our own campaign group.

We decided on Politics GCSE, as we were dumbstruck that there was no actual GCSE in the area of politics.

We contacted our local MPs - Boris Johnson and John Bercow - and of course the Politics Show, looking for support and advice.

And after we heard back from the Show, we arranged to make a piece on our campaign.

Strong feelings

As a group, we felt strongly about having Politics in the GCSE curriculum.

Each of us would have liked to take a GCSE in the area, but there was just no option.

We learnt that the GCSE had been withdrawn due to lack in demand (despite the fact that GCSEs could still be taken in areas such as Maltese and Polish!).

We believe Politics GCSE is hugely important for educating more youngsters in the area.

As we have learnt from recent elections, turnout is low - just 61% in the last election, meaning more people didn't vote than voted for the governing party!

More education for the young adults of Britain should lead to an increase in participation. The fact that politics affects just about everything is a key motive for our campaign.

In demand

An exam board recently told us that there has been no demand for a GCSE politics. This is simply not true: young people have not had the option for the GCSE, so there is no real recognition in the area.

One of the key reasons for the course being withdrawn was the subjects it covered.

Watch what happened when Max Cotton and the GCSE students finished filming.

Most of the course was based around political institutions. As a group, we believe there are so many more interesting aspects of politics that could be covered in the curriculum, such as pressure groups, and political parties.

Politics needs to shake the 'dull' image young people have in the area, and promote its attributes to the young generation of Britain. Society as a whole would totally benefit from more political knowledge.

Politicians on board

To promote our campaign, we met key politicians ministers from each of the leading parties who each gave a positive response to our campaign.

William Hague MP
William Hague will promote the issue to Tory colleagues

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, gave us his full support and said he would contact the Education Secretary about it.

William Hague, the Conservatives' Shadow Foreign Secretary, pledged to speak to his party's Shadow Education Secretary about the policy.

Jim Knight, the Minister of State for Schools and Learners in the government, admitted the campaign was worthy and also gave his support and advice in taking it further.

But to promote the campaign further, we need your support!

To help us in our campaign, sign our petition at the Downing Street petition site, in order to display to the government and the exam boards how essential we feel a Politics GCSE is. Thank You!

Note: The Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove MP wrote offering to meet the three students who wrote to The Politics Show.

Mr Gove recommended two politics books:

  • 'Just In Time' by John Hoskyns ...about the Thatcher Government
  • 'All's Fair' by James Carville & Mary Matalin ...about Clinton's 1992 campaign


'Politics Max' is the interactive strand, within the Politics Show, which deals directly with your own concerns and complaints.

Max has already solved a number of tricky problems - here are just three...

Max is always looking for more of your political problems to solve.

So if you need help to tackle the powers that be, from parish councils to EU officials and everything in between, then email Max and the team on politicsshow@bbc.co.uk - or use the e-mail form below...

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