Current Affairs

Ref: C2226864

Voting for or against Brexit seemed such a simple thing to do but the outcome has been far from simple. What will Brexit mean for the UK, Scotland, Ireland, the EU and International relations? The whole political process over Brexit has highlighted deficiencies in our system of democracy - does the UK need a codified constitution and a PR system of voting? There are other issues in current affairs too - should home schooling be regulated - or even banned? What rights should the LGBT community be given - and what impact will this have on the provision of toilets, and changing rooms at sports facilities etc? We shall also have updates on some issues such as the election of a new Conservative Party leader, and hence a new Prime Minister, as well as on-going issues such as climate change, universal credit (who are the winners and losers?), and ideas to shift money away from the old to the young by removing benefits for the elderly to enable the young to buy houses.

Additional information about this course

Half term break on 28/10/2019

Course aim

The course gives students the opportunity to analyse issues in politics, international relations and current affairs. The course will enable students to challenge their own views through debate and discussion with other students.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Assess the political views and style of the new Prime Minister particularly when compared with Theresa May. The office of prime minister is the most powerful political office in the UK yet that person is chosen by a relatively few members of the political party in power, even when they have a bare majority in the Commons. Is it time for change?
  • Discuss the impact of Brexit on the UK, Scotland, Ireland, the EU and international relations. There were many reasons why British people voted to remain in the EU or leave; assess the 'winners and losers' and how this will affect domestic policy. What will be the impact of Brexit on Scottish independence, the Good Friday Agreement, the remaining member states of the EU, and international relations.
  • Describe the current electoral system for elections to Westminster and discuss the merits of alternative systems. The First Past the Post electoral system has produced a parliament which is both out of step with the government and the electorate. Would it be better if we had a proportional representation system of voting? We shall look at the various PR systems and discuss their merits.
  • Discuss the reasons why some parents choose to home school their children instead of enrolling them in state or private schools. The government is proposing to investigate why some parents choose home schooling - it this a symbol of diversity or does it enable parents with particular religious views to circumvent the laws on teaching issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, rights for the LGBT communities.
  • Outline the reasons the government wants to reduce benefits for the elderly in order to give money to the young for housing. The government has floated ideas of cutting back on benefits for the elderly (e.g. free bus passes, the winter fuel allowance) - what impact will this have on older people and the political parties they support? There are plans to divert the 'savings' to the young so they can buy 'affordable' housing - but will this just cause house prices to escalate even more?

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The tutor will draft a programme of topics for the term and give out handouts of articles from newspapers and journals a week in advance; students will be expected to read round the topic during the week, as well as watch TV current affairs programmes etc.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It may be helplful, but not essential, to have access to the internet to research current topics.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course could lead to a range of job opportunities. Follow link to National Careers Service for more details https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Students may wish to become involved in local (or national) politics, or join a pressure group.

Download full course information sheet

Current Affairs

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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