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These specifications are designed to offer candidates and centres the opportunity to select from a wide variety of periods and topics in English, European and American history, from the medieval to the late 20th century. They offer candidates the opportunity to study history in length and breadth as well as in depth, to develop expertise in various skills (general as well as historical) and to acquire and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the periods studied. They give an opportunity to introduce more ‘stretch and challenge’ into A Level History.

These specifications enable candidates to study:

–  Significant events, individuals and issues;
–  A range of historical perspectives;
–  The diversity of society;
–  The history of more than one country or state;
–  A substantial element of English history;
–  Continuity and change over a period of time.

Course Content

History is a popular and engaging subject; the number of films and television programmes based upon historical events are testament to this. A-Level History will continue to capture students’ enthusiasm and challenge their intellect, whilst providing a supportive environment from which they are able to make the transition from GCSE.

AS History is comprised of two units:

Unit 1: The Change from Anglo Saxon England to Norman England 1035-1107.

The unit examines the following questions:

–  How effectively did Edward the Confessor deal with his problems as king?
–  What part did the Godwin family play in the reign of Edward the Confessor?
–  What were the reasons for the succession crisis at the end of Edward the Confessor’s reign?
–  Why did William of Normandy win the Battle of Hastings?
–  How did William I deal with opposition to his rule?
–  How far did William I change the government and administration in England?


Students will also study a primary source on William II and will have to assess how valuable the given source is. Students are supported with study guides and activities, assessments and practical activities.

Unit 2: The Cold War in Europe.

Students must study the reasons for the outbreak of the Cold War from 1945, the freezing and thawing of East-West relations throughout the period and the reasons for and consequences of the collapse of communism in Europe. Within the unit students will also look in depth at Berlin, Hungary and Czechoslovakia as hotspots during the Cold War in Europe. For the exam students must assess the interpretation of a historian concerning an aspect of the Cold War, in addition to writing an essay on the subject based on their revision.

Both AS and A2 History are taught within 5 lessons of 1 hour in length each week.

Students are guided through the course using a series of study units. These offer opportunities for preliminary and wider reading. They also take students through each unit in a structured way allowing them to work independently. These units also provide foundation notes for all major topics.

A2 History is comprised of four units which include the same two topics taught at AS level in addition to:

Unit 3: Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964

Students will look across a period of over 100 years and will try to analyse trends, turning-points, changes and will compare the seven different periods of Russian rule that span this point in history. Students will also look in particular depth at:

–  The Domestic Reforms of Alexander II
–  The Provisional Government
–  Khrushchev in power 1956-1964


The exam for this unit will count for 40% of the course and includes the evaluation of the interpretations of two historians and two essay questions.

Unit 4: Topic Based Coursework Essay

For this unit students will have the opportunity to select an aspect of the course from units 1-3 and they will study the topic in greater depth. This will include the use of a range of both primary and secondary sources. This task is designed to prepare students for the demands of university and will be carried out independently, yet students will always have the support of a link teacher to guide them through the process.

Entry Requirements

Students who have achieved at least a grade C in five or more GCSEs. It is not necessary for you to have completed a history GCSE course – we have had a number of successful students that came to us having not studied history at GCSE – though if this were the case we would expect you to have attained at least a grade B in English. GCSE English at grade A*-C is a requirement for all students. Clearly students will also need an enthusiasm for the subject, an enquiring mind and ability to work independently.


AS Level

Units 1 (Early Medieval England) and 2 (Cold War in Europe) are assessed by two 1 hour 30 minute exams, where you will have to write essays, interpret historical sources and analyse the views of historians.

A2 Level

At A2 students will continue to work with the subject content from units 1 and 2 at AS level and in addition they will complete a unit on the history of Russia. Students will also complete a coursework module which comprises of a 3000-4000 word essay on a topic which arises elsewhere in the course.

Financial Information

The Academy will not charge for books, materials, equipment and instruction in connection with the National Curriculum or Statutory Religious Education taught at school, except where parents have indicated in advance their wish to purchase the product. There will be a list of suggested resources and, although useful to students wishing to enhance their subject knowledge, it will not be necessary for students to purchase them.

Exam Charging Policy:

–  Students with less than 85% attendance may, under the discretion of the Sixth Form Office, be asked to pay for their exam entry.

–  Exam resits that are made at the request of the post 16 students will be charged at full price.

–  When it is not possible to obtain a refund, full price will be charged to students for:

    –  the Summer Exam entry, if they withdraw from the subject after 20 April.
    –  non-attendance at an exam without good reason.

BTEC students, who leave the Academy prior to the conclusion of the course, will be charged £50.


Future Opportunities

For many students the most valuable aspect of a post-16 history qualification is that the subject is known as a facilitating subject and is therefore widely respected by higher education institutions and employers alike. For more information on facilitating subjects then visit the Russell Group Universities website.

The transferable skills developed whilst undertaking A-Level History are held in high academic regard amongst the varied qualifications that can be chosen today. It is a popular subject at degree level and prepares students for careers in a variety of professions such as law, politics, journalism or civil service.

Further Information

The history department has its own regularly updated website with thousands of resources including podcasts, revision sheets and lesson resources. Visit to explore our site which is designed to meet the needs of students in a way that they can relate to in the modern world. Students are encouraged to broaden their historical knowledge beyond the boundaries of the classroom. The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) is an invaluable facility which enables students to become more confident in their understanding and broaden their range of transferable skills which will become a great asset when seeking future employment or progressing to higher education. Visits to Leeds University aid the preparation for A2 Independent Investigation (coursework) and prepare students for the next stage of their academic career.