Many of the basic ideas and arguments of social and political sciences, anthropology and political philosophy are concerned with how the maintenance of social order can enhance people’s lives and with who wins and loses from the different ways of organising societies. This includes debates and discussions on the ways in which people are interdependent; the roles of rules, laws, norms and values in ensuring order; the way in which the weak can be protected by and from the strong; who wins and who loses under the rules and laws of contemporary societies; and on the most appropriate ways of bringing about change in society. Underpinning all of these ideas and arguments lies a concern for ‘power’ and an interest in who has and can use power: to get people to act in ways they might otherwise not act; to establish and enforce rules and practices and to shape ideas and beliefs. While there are many avenues through which these ideas could be explored, in this strand they are addressed through looking at who participates in decision-making and on what basis they participate. This strand explores these foundational ideas in social and political sciences through two contexts: decision-making in the school and decision-making in democratic institutions at national and European level. Topic 1 starts with an exploration of participation in decision-making in schools. In doing so it allows learners to look at the debates and issues about power and decision-making in a context where the issues are very real and meaningful for them. This will enable them to see the ideas, debates and data of social and political science as directly relevant to their lives. The debates addressed in this topic focus on why or if we need rules/laws who should be involved in making these laws/rules and why whether laws/rules should be limited to a focus on personal safety or whether we need a broader set of rules who benefits from the way the laws/rules are designed who enforces rules/laws and how do they do so. Ultimately, through engaging in these debates, learners will develop an understanding of the different dimensions of power in social and political life. Topic 2 focuses on decision-making in democratic institutions at a national and European level. There are numerous different branches of government and different institutions through which decision-making could be explored. This topic focuses particularly on the way in which people are represented within the executive branch of government in Ireland, and, for comparison purposes, in Northern Ireland and in the European Union. Such a comparison retains the focus on institutions which are directly meaningful to people’s lives in Ireland while at the same time allowing learners to better understand that any form of political organisation is a result of choices which are made. The media plays a particularly important role in contributing to and shaping the nature of debate in democratic societies. In addition to a focus on the executive branch in government, therefore, topic 2 also contains a particular focus on the role of the media in democracies. By the end of strand 1 learners will have been exposed to many of the foundational ideas and concepts of Politics and Society. These include power, representation, democracy, social class and gender. Later strands will provide opportunities to further apply and deepen the understanding of these concepts. Learners will also have begun to use evidence and data in coming to reflective judgements on foundational questions in social and political life.