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A Level History

Head of Department: Mr A. W. Weston

Examination Board: OCR

Specification Code: H505

Course Entry Requirements: GCSE History, English or Religious Studies grade 6 or B

History lets students enlarge their understanding of human experience, evaluate arguments effectively, handle evidence critically and communicate complex issues clearly.  The study of past societies, individuals, and situations increases the capacity for empathy, the abilities to process information, defend opinions and to subject claims to scrutiny.  Students study modules that support each other in course content and allow them to understand this period from multiple perspectives.  It is not essential to have studied GCSE History, but the skills developed there provide an effective foundation for more advanced study. 

Course Content:

Unit 1: Britain 1846-1918 – Liberals, Conservatives and the Rise of Labour.  This unit looks at the beginning and development of modern British political history, and examines how key figures such as Gladstone, Disraeli, Palmerston and Peel moved the nation towards the liberal democracy of today.  We conclude with a depth study of Britain 1900-1918, a period that sees early moves towards a welfare state and the rise of the Labour Party.

Unit 2:  The American Revolution, 1740-1796.  British control of America was a cornerstone of policy until the events of 1776 established the United States as a separate, independent nation.  This module explores the reasons behind moves towards independence, the struggle itself, and the early years of the United States.  The political concepts dealt with align well with Unit 1, and the historical context is useful for Unit 3 and the NEA.

Unit 3:  Civil Rights in the USA, 1865-1992.  This unit is thematic, covering one hundred years or more and identifying turning points and developments during that era.  Civil Rights in this course relates not just to the struggle for equality faced by black Americans, but also by women, native Americans and over unions and labour rights. 

Non-Examined Assessment.  Candidates also complete a non-examined assessment (coursework), which will be a researched essay on an aspect of the American Civil War chosen from a shortlist.

Course Assessment:

Unit 1 is worth 25% of the overall grade; Unit 2 is worth 15%; Unit 3 is worth 40% and the NEA is worth 20%.

Who Should Study History?

Many go on to read History or related subjects as undergraduates. It is highly respected by admissions tutors and employers as a challenging, rigorous option, and as especially good preparation for disciplines such as law, economics and politics.

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