Head of Department
E-mail: Mr R H VerdonBA, PGCE, MBA
Mr Rob Verdon joined Cranleigh in 2014 to teach History and Politics, having gained a BA in Politics from Nottingham University and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School. Prior to Cranleigh he spent eight years in Sydney, Australia, working for Capgemini Consulting.
Mr Verdon is enjoying capitalising on the exciting politics landscape by organising school events such as the General Election Hustings and EU Referendum debates. He also coaches rugby, hockey and cricket, and loves nothing more than going out for long cycle rides.
Politics is an ever-changing subject that not only involves understanding how important decisions are made, but also the basis for the different views and ideologies that motivate decision-makers. Pupils studying Politics at Cranleigh are interested in understanding what is going on in the world; they are generally keen readers of newspapers and magazines, followers of global events online and on TV, and are keen to question not only why certain events are happening, but also what the future holds for various individuals, governments and institutions.
Upper School (AS and A Level)
Our course follows the Edexcel specification. Whilst politics A Level only reformed in 2017, from September 2016 we began teaching the entire course over two years, with pupils taking all four papers at the end of their UVIth year. As such, pupils study British politics and Political Ideologies concurrently.
Component 1 – UK Politics and Core Political Ideologies
The first component of the course provides an introduction to UK politics, exploring the concepts of democracy and political participation. Pupils learn about the major UK political parties, how different electoral systems work, and about voter behaviour and the role of the media. This component also includes study of the traditional political ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism. Pupils learn about the theory of these ideologies, as well as studying the works of key political philosophers.
Component 2 – UK Government and Optional Political Ideas
The second component of the course focuses on how the UK political system works, by looking at the UK constitution, the roles of Parliament and the Prime Minister, and how these different branches of government interact. Pupils also build on their knowledge of political ideologies.
Component 3 – Comparative Politics – Global Politics
The final component of the course involves the study of global politics. Historically, many Cranleighans have been drawn to the study of International Relations at university, and this module provides an excellent introduction to this field. Pupils first study theories of global politics, before applying them to issues such as globalisation, issues of global governance, including economic globalisation and human rights and environmental issues. The course also includes an investigation into the power of nations, and the roles of international organisations, including the EU.
Trips and events
The politics department is always a very busy department, with weekly lunchtime meetings of the Knoller Society to discuss what is going on in the news. We run events to coincide with all major political events – in recent years this has included hosting local hustings for all prospective MPs for the Guildford constituency for the 2015 General Election, and then running a mock school election. We have also hosted an EU referendum hustings event, and pupils have made podcasts to inform voters about the EU.
Every year, all politics students attend a political conference in London to hear speakers from all the major political parties, and teams from Cranleigh have reached the final of the PSA Short Video Competition for the past two years. Every two years, we also run a trip to Washington DC, where pupils are able to learn about the history and politics of the USA.