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Subject leader and contact

Jess Angell : Head of History


A Level History


Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE History  

Why study History?

History is a fascinating subject which encourages pupils to consider the role of individuals, events and key themes and their contributions to our past. It offers parallels with our society today, helping us to explain current events and issues. Everyone has a connection with the past; A Level History  is about discovering which aspect of the past unlocks an individual’s interest.

Where can it lead?

With History A-level, students can go on to study the subject at university. However, there is a huge
number of transferable skills which students develop through studying History: communication skills (written and verbal), the ability to evaluate critically evidence in a variety of forms, and the ability to evaluate critically arguments and interpretations. It is very highly regarded by employers and will equip students for many different occupations, including teaching, law, journalism and working in the Civil Service.

History Extras

There are a variety of enrichment opportunities available for students with an interest in History. These include a reading club, public lectures, and a new afterschool archaeology club. Additional reading lists are also made available to pupils at the beginning of a scheme of work that include novels, online texts and suitable films to watch to acquire more knowledge of specific topics studied.

All students are encouraged to borrow books from both the Sixth Form Library and our own History class libraries. Recorded History lectures:

Course Content

The subject content for A-Level History is divided into four components:

  • Unit 1: British period study and enquiry
  • Unit 2: Non-British period study 
  • Unit 3: Thematic study and historical interpretations
  • Unit 4: Topic based essay (coursework)

Unit 1: Britain 1930–1997 
1 hour 30 minute paper; 50 marks; 25% of total A-Level.
(Enquiry topic: Churchill 1930–1951) 
This enquiry topic covers Churchill’s views on the events leading to WW2, his time as war Prime Minister and his role as an international diplomat during and after WW2. Your period study focuses on the British governments of 1951-97, commencing with the 13-year domination of the Conservative party (1951-64), the period of intermittent Labour and Conservative governments in the 1960s and 1970s, Conservative dominance 1979-1997 and concluding with a study of British foreign policy 1951-1997. 

Unit 2: The French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon 1774–1815 
1 hour paper; 30 marks; 15% of total A-Level.
You will study the reasons for the Revolution of 1174, the Revolution of 1789, the events from 1789 to the constitution of the Directory 1795.  
You will also investigate Napoleon’s early career through to 1807; then the decline and fall of Napoleon 1807-1815.

Unit 3 Y319: Civil Rights in the USA 1865–1992 
2 hour 30 minute paper; 80 marks; 40% of total A-Level Assessment of units in this unit group is in two parts: the historical interpretations depth study and the thematic essay, and thus the question paper has two parts

  • Section A: Thematic study: This theme focuses on the nature and development of civil rights for key sectors of society in the USA from 1865 to 1992. Students should understand the similarities and differences in aims and methods between individuals and groups who campaigned for greater equality and opportunity, as well as those who attempted to maintain prejudice and racial discrimination. Inevitably, within a study of each defined social group, it will be necessary to study the role of government institutions and key events which shaped development, the reasons for resistance to change and the significance of improvements. Students will study the following:
    African Americans
    Trade Union and Labour Rights
    Native American Indians
  • Section B: Depth Studies: As part of this course students must develop the ability to analyse and evaluate the ways in which aspects of this period of American history have been interpreted in debates between historians. Students will study and investigate interpretations about the following:
    Civil rights in the ‘Gilded Age’ c.1875–c.1895
    The New Deal and civil rights
    Malcolm X and Black Power

Unit 4: Topic based essay (coursework)
An independent piece of research coursework on either Winston Churchill of Napoleon Bonaparte. Students will complete a 3000–4000 word essay on an aspect of Churchill or Napoleon. This is an internally-assessed unit that is standardised by OCR. You will be expected to independently select an essay title that will be approved by OCR. Non-exam assessment; 40 marks; 20% of total A-Level