Leaving Certificate Politics and Society at Drogheda Grammar School

What is Politics and society all about?

Politics and Society was introduced as a new Leaving Certificate subject in September 2016 and was examined for certification for the first time in June 2018.

Politics and Society aims to develop the learner’s capacity to engage in reflective and active citizenship, informed by the insights and skills of social and political sciences.

The changing local, national and global environment presents many challenges and opportunities for young people. It also requires of them a range of skills, knowledge, values and attitudes so that they can achieve their goals in this environment. These include:

  • Skills in critically assessing information and its sources and in gathering and processing information.
  • Intercultural skills to enable them to communicate and work with people from diverse backgrounds in employment and in other settings.
  • An understanding of the processes of globalisation and individualisation and their opportunities and challenges.
  • The imagination to think creatively and to propose new and alternative futures.
  • A willingness to play an active role in their society.
  • A disposition towards taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions.


Drawing in particular on the skills of critical thinking and imagination and on the content knowledge of sociology, anthropology, political studies and philosophy, Politics and Society can provide an opportunity for students to develop the above skills, knowledge, values and attitudes.

The distinctive analytical frame of reference of these subjects can also help to develop skills of critical analysis that enable people to make an informed, considered and effective contribution to their society.

The content of these subjects can support the development of an understanding of equality, inequality and diversity in a range of areas of human life, including gender, ethnicity and social class.

In this way, Politics and Society can contribute to the development of active and participatory citizenship through education. It can play a key role in informing people as to how social and political institutions at local, national, European, and global level operate, and of the importance of political and social institutions in shaping our society.

Through active and participatory learning and through the experience of learning in the wider community, Politics and Society can enable young people to develop the skills appropriate for active and thoughtful participation in the life of their communities.


Politics and Society is based around four strands of learning outlined below;


Strand 1 Power and Decision-Making

In Schools

·        The process of power and decision making in schools

·        Arguments about the need for rules

·        Ideas that underpin these arguments

·        Evidence concerning the effects of rules and rule making processes


At National Levels at European Levels

·        The making of national policy

·        How the executive branch of government is selected?

·        Social Class and Gender as important social categories

·        Arguments concerning representation

·        Evidence about the effectiveness of representation.

·        Traditional and New Media in democracy

·        Participants / theorists in the debate

Strand 2 Active Citizenship – Project Work

·        Effectively contributing to communities.


·        Rights and responsibilities in communication with others



Citizenship Project work is worth 20% of the overall assessment in Politics and Society.

4 titles are provided for students in December of 5th year to complete a research project.


This project is due at the end of April in 6th Year.

Strand 3 Human Rights and Responsibilities

In Ireland

·        Some of the rights of young people

·        Human Rights principles

·        The idea of equality in relation to human rights

·        Arguments about rights

·        State bodies for human rights

·        Evidence on the right to education

·        Participants / theorists in the debate


In the wider world

·        Rights in the wider world

·        Arguments about rights in the wider world

·        International cooperation and human rights

Strand 4 Globalisation and Localisation

Globalisation and Identity

·        Representations of national identity made available to young people

·        Diversity and cultural change

·        Diversity in the EU

·        Understanding identity

·        Understanding interaction between western and non-western culture

·        Globalisation and political power

·        Participants / theorists in the debate


Sustainable Development

·        Actions that address sustainable development

·        Arguments concerning Sustainable Development

·        Participants / theorists in the debate



Assessment for certification in Politics and Society is based on the aims, objectives and learning outcomes in this specification. Differentiation at the point of assessment will be achieved through examinations at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components:

  1. Written examination (80%).
  2. Report on a citizenship project (20%).

In September of 5th Year we begin by looking at Strand 1 – Power and decision making. As we move through the course it becomes very clear to students that these strands are all interlinked. With each strand of the course we look at a number of theorists that have ideas in relation to the topics that we will be discussing. Below is a list of the “Big Thinkers” that are on the course.

  1. Thomas Hobbes                      
  2. John Locke
  3. Karl Marx
  4. Robert Nozick
  5. Noam Chomsky
  6. Paulo Freire
  7. Kathleen Lynch
  8. Sylvia Walby
  9. Martha Nussbaum
  10. Thomas Hylland Eriksen
  11. Kwame Anthony Appiah
  12. Benedict Anderson
  13. Edward Said
  14. Samuel Huntington
  15. André Gunder Frank
  16. Vandana Shiva
  17. Seán McDonagh


While studying Politics and Society students have engaged with local and national politicians and organisations such as;

  • Lord mayor of Dublin Hazel Cheu
  • Senator Eileen Flynn
  • Senator David Norris
  • Leas Cheann Comhairle Catherine Connolly
  • The office of the President
  • Minister for Justice Helen McEntee
  • Ged Nash TD
  • Minister of state for European affairs Thomas Byrne
  • Dáil Education Officer Conor Reale
  • Fergus O Dowd TD


What do our students do after studying Politics and Society at Drogheda Grammar School?

Here is a flavour of what some of our students’ study after Politics and Society at Drogheda Grammar School.

  • Politics and International Relations alongside New Media and Cultural Studies in UL
  • Politics and International Relations in Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Psychology with Criminology – University of Hull
  • Law – University of Hull
  • International and European Law at The Hague, Netherlands
  • Law and Economics in UCD
  • Economics, Politics and Law in DCU
  • Law with Politics in Queens University Belfast,
  • Economic, Law and Politics in Galway.