History A Level

Departmental contact

Miss L O’Connor – [email protected]

Examining board & Qualification


Entry requirements

Please see current prospectus for further information

Students say

“History provides you with a breadth of knowledge, creating a foundation as to why today’s society is the way it is.”

“Taking history can enable you to learn about the most fascinating personalities and influential events.”

“History equips you with key skills you need for university, like analysis, evaluation, debating events and evidence.”


A Level History is a lively course which gives students a broad understanding of key historical themes. The units chosen offer the opportunity to study political, social, economic and religious history through important periods in three different countries.

The course also allows students to study the impact of individuals of enormous historical significance including Lenin, Stalin, Martin Luther King and the Tudor Dynasty, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I.


The study of history involves many skills which are of use both within and beyond the boundaries of the subject. Developing effective research skills is an essential aspect of history but these skills are also required in many other subjects and professions.

The ability to analyse and evaluate evidence will also be central to success in this course, as well as being an important life skill. Students of history also become familiar with appraising and building arguments. In addition to this the successful communication of their conclusions will be vital. The development of an effective written style will therefore be an important aspect of progression in history and of use in the vast majority of degree courses.



The Year 12 course will be divided into two units.

Unit 1 will look at the early Tudors. Students will look at the contrasting approaches of Henry VII and his son Henry VIII as the country emerged from the wreckage of the Wars of the Roses. The course allows students to study one of English history’s most recognisable figures. The reign of Henry VIII (or Henry the Great as he expected to be remembered) left an indelible mark on the subsequent history of this country.

This course looks at his attempts to make an impact in Europe as a young king, his government of England and the course and impact of his break with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s. Finally we will look at the later years of Henry’s reign when Henry becomes increasingly paranoid and unstable.

Unit 2 will be based on the transformation of Russia during the first half of the twentieth century. Students will explore the rule of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II and his attempts to contain the rising tide of revolution. The role of the First World War in the bringing about the downfall of the Tsar will be assessed, along with the damaging effect of Rasputin’s influence before we look at the two revolutions of 1917, and the birth of the World’s first communist state. The period of the Civil War will form the basis of an interpretations enquiry before students look at the unlikely rise of Stalin as Lenin’s successor.


In Year 13 students will engage in an enquiry into the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I when religious turbulence and economic difficulties have led some historians to describe the period as the Mid-Tudor Crisis. The final Tudor monarch, Elizabeth, will be the focus for much of the year. We will explore her attempts at religious compromise, her relationships with leading councillors and the challenges posed by foreign policy including the growing enmity with Philip II of Spain and the launch of the Spanish Armada.

Students will also study the rule of Stalin as he strengthened his grip on the country through terror and propaganda while transforming the industry and agriculture of Russia. Students will look at his terrifying regime but also explore the extraordinary challenges posed by the Second World War and the USSR’s emergence as a superpower.

The final element of the course will be a personal investigation into the Civil Rights movement in America. After a brief taught course students will identify their own question which looks at the period from 1865 to 1968. They may choose to focus on the impact of the Civil War on the position of African Americans, the importance of key figures such as Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X, or the reason for continuing opposition to the Civil Rights movement.


Students will be assessed by completing 2 exams at the end of Year 13 worth 80% overall and will also complete a coursework piece worth 20% submitted before the summer exams.


A high number of our students each year have gone on to study history at degree level. It has also helped students who have wanted to study other subjects such as journalism, politics and law. Increasingly, students who study scientific subjects in the sixth form have found it extremely useful in developing skills of writing and critical thinking.
Beyond university, qualifications in history can open doors to a wide variety of professions particularly law, journalism and teaching.


Gordon Brown, John F Kennedy, Alan Bennett, Anita Roddick, Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G and Borat), and Lord Coe all studied history at university. The possibilities are endless!


We currently run a trip to Rome and a trip to Hampton Court. We also provide opportunities to listen to historians as part of a lecture series and participate in Warwick Words.

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