Politics and Society

Politics & Society is the first new Leaving Cert subject since 2007 and was first examined in June 2018.
“The need for a sound social and political education...has never been so great. Without it, our young people are forced to operate in the social and political world without the skills and insights that they need to be in control of their own destiny.”  - Kathleen Lynch,  UCD Academic and one of 17 Key Thinkers on the Politics & Society course.

Why study Politics & Society?

Few subjects are as relevant to our everyday lives as Politics & Society. Amongst other things, students will study interesting concepts that affect them such as human rights, rules, equality, identity, diversity, sustainable development, power, conflict, the media, gender and democratic decision-making.
In addition students will study social systems and power structures in society and consider questions such as : Who has power? Who does not? Who abuses power? Who should have power? Studying Politics & Society gives students a real insight into people, power, how society works and the forces that shape the world we live in. It will appeal to students who wish to become more informed and active global citizens as well as those who enjoy debating and analysing the world around them.

Course Content

The Politics & Society specification consists of 4 main areas covered in topics as follows : 
Power and decision making:
    Topic 1 - Power and decision making in school
    Topic 2 - Power and decision making at national and European level
Active citizenship :
    Topic 3 - Effectively contributing to communities 
    Topic 4 - Rights and responsibilities in communication with others
Human rights and responsibilities :
     Topic 5 - Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland
    Topic 6 - Human rights and responsibilities in Europe & the wider world
Globalisation and localisation : 
    Topic 7 - Globalisation and identity
    Topic 8 - Sustainable development


Exam Structure

Politics & Society can be taken at Higher or Ordinary level. Assessment is based on the course aims, objectives and learning outcomes. There are two assessment components at each level : 
A citizenship project report which accounts for 20% of the final grade*
A written examination which accounts for 80% of the final grade
* The citizenship project changes annually. Students choose one topic from a choice of four. The project requires students to research a topic of interest to them and then put their learning into action.

Career Pathways

Politics & Society is a useful subject if you want to study politics, sociology, law, anthropology, philosophy, development studies, media studies, journalism to mention just a few. It will also benefit people who want to work in current affairs (media / Podcast hosts), local and national government (TD / Councillor) policy analysis for governments and corporations, The EU (diplomat, relations officer). Crucially, the skills of critical thinking and active citizenship that are developed through this subject will be useful to students in any future learning and in their everyday life.

For example : 
Ability to understand the difference between opinion, reasoned judgement and fact.
Recognition of bias.
Motivation to seek out alternative perspectives and viewpoints.
Ability to evaluate different opinions
As reported in The Wall Street Journal in March 2020 : “Mentions of critical thinking in job postings have doubled since 2009, according to an analysis by career-search site Indeed.com...Employers complain that colleges are not producing graduates who can solve problems and connect the dots on complex issues”. 

Links to other subjects in Senior Cycle

Politics and Society will be useful if you also study Geography, History, Economics or Religious Education. In addition it supports and develops skills needed for Leaving Cycle English and builds on skills developed in Philosophy, CSPE and SPHE in Junior Cycle.

How do students learn?

There is ample opportunity for classroom discussion, debate and reflection on the different ideas and perspectives. Through these methods students will develop valuable analytical and evaluation skills as they debate topical and sometimes controversial issues, study different viewpoints and form their own political opinions.

Senator visits 5th year Pol & Soc class: 4 Mar 2019

Senator Catherine Noone, Fine Gael, visited the 5th year Politics and Society class.

5th year Oireachtas Visit: 30 November 2018

Politics and Society Trip to RTE: 4 February 2019

The 5th Year Politics and Society class were in the audience for a live recording of 'Claire Byrne Live' in RTE on 4 February 2019. Thanks to Mr Biggane for organising the trip.

Oireachtas Visit

Politics and Society is a subject that was examined for the first time at the 2018 Leaving Certificate. Our 5th year Politics and Society students, along with their teacher Mr Biggane, attended a workshop in government buildings on 30 November. The following photos were posted on the @OireachtasNews twitter feed with this message: 'Delighted to welcome the Politics and Society students from Manor House School Raheny for the parliamentary workshop experience today. Excellent points raised during the debate. Thanks also to Finian McGrath TD for answering questions and providing insights into his work.'