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Sixth Form: History

Updated: Fri 30 Nov 2018   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email



Subject Leader: Mr J. C. Dickens

Examination Board: OCR

A-Level Syllabus: H505

Examinations: 80%

Coursework: A Personal Study in Year 13 makes up 20% of the overall A-Level grade


“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”


‘What is A-Level History?’

Over the two-year course students complete four modules, which not only focus on different topics but also develop different historical skills. These are likely to include the following units:


Unit 1: British Period Study and Enquiry

Y101 - Alfred and the Making of England 871-1016 (Specific Document Enquiry on Alfred the Great)



Unit 2: Non British Period Study

Y219- Russia 1894-1941 (Period study)



Unit 3: Thematic Study and Historical Interpretations

Y311 - From Colonialism to Independence: The British Empire 1857-1965 (Thematic study and interpretations)



Unit 4: Coursework

Y4 - A Personal Study on a topic of the student’s choice (A single 3000-4000 word essay which must include the use of primary evidence and historical interpretations)



In short, History is quite simply a way of thinking about the world – a subject which combines academic rigour and hard work with genuine fun and intrigue! It offers the opportunity to study fascinating characters and events from the past allowing students to immerse themselves in periods and places that are both completely different and yet fundamentally similar to today. In Year 12, students analyse two contrasting nations from two completely different periods – yet both topics are vital in understanding the modern world. We delve into the concept of revolution – considering the fervour in St Petersburg in the early C20th and the impact of the Bolshevik seizure of power in shaping not just Russian history but events and ideologies across the globe. In contrast, the study of Alfred the Great will offer a unique perspective on the emergence of English identity and England as a nation – pertinent issues in the UK today. In Year 13, there is the opportunity to study the rise and fall of the British Empire (which balances a British core with the opportunity to learn about places as diverse as India, Palestine and Kenya), as well as the chance to choose an individual enquiry on an event or person of the student’s choice. As part of the course at TBSHS, we offer a range of additional opportunities including a Sixth Form Discussion group, trips to the National Maritime Museum and the British Library, a guided walking tour of Imperial London and the chance to attend lectures by eminent academic historians from Cambridge and London.


Subject Leader: Mr J Dickens

‘What makes a good historian?’

The successful History student will combine a thirst for knowledge with an inquisitive and questioning mind.  They will be excited by unravelling the mysteries of the past.  They should be willing to read around the subject and must enjoy challenging ideas and developing their own arguments.  Ideally they should enjoy the process of writing essays – embracing them as opportunities to develop an analytical response to a complex issue – making links and seeing trends in past societies.  Above all a good historian is someone who wants to ask “why?”


‘What can I expect to learn in History?’

As well as an insight into the past, and therefore a greater understanding of the present, History aims to provide students with analytical skills which can be applied in many varied contexts.  A good historian will learn to understand, appreciate and evaluate different perspectives and interpretations.  They will also learn to research and think independently, develop their own arguments and justify their opinions with both evidence and reason.


Where could History take me?

History is easily combinable with a number of subjects at TBSHS and beyond including Government and Politics, English Literature, Philosophy, Geography and Psychology.  However a large number of students also combine History with Mathematics and Sciences as the use of evidence, logical thinking and academic approach are very similar.  Careers which follow from a degree in History are hugely varied, including Law, Journalism, Business Management (10% of the directors of FTSE 100 companies have History degrees), Education, Research, Public Relations, Politics, The Civil Service, The Diplomatic Services and Consultancy. However, as a highly valued academic discipline, a strong History degree opens many surprising doors in unexpected areas.