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History A Level at Plymouth High School for Girls

Course description

The A Level course is demanding but intellectually rewarding. The skills required are relevant for a range of careers. Students who choose the course are able to develop skills of communication, presentation, synthesis of ideas, critical evaluation of sources, as well as eÙective reading and writing. Ultimately, though, we believe the course we have chosen is intrinsically interesting, building on the experiences of GCSE to allow for a smooth transition to the challenge of A Level study and beyond.

Course content

The Department has chosen topics with a proven track record of interest and success. These topics also reÛect the academic specialisms and enthusiasm of the staÙ, helping ensure excellent results

History GCE AL Course
Unit 1: Britain c.1951-1997
A British period study and enquiry:
- Conservative domination 1951-64;
- Social change, leaders Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Home, Profumo scandal, Labour divisions
- Labour and Conservatives 1964-1979;
- Wilson, economic problems, Unions, Heath as leader, Labour divisions, miner’s strike
- Thatcher and end of the consensus 1979-1997:
- Support for and opposition to Thatcher, Unions, economy, fall of Thatcher, Major
- Britain’s position in the world:
- Relations with USA and USSR, Europe, end of Empire: crises: Korea, Suez, Falklands, Gulf War

Enquiry Topic: Churchill 1930-1951
- Churchill’s view of events 1929-34
- Churchill as wartime Prime Minister
- Churchill and international diplomacy 1939-1951

Exam: 1 hour 30 mins (50 marks) 25 % of Únal grade

Unit 2: The American Revolution 1740-1796
A Non British period study:
- The development of British rule in America
- The demands for independence and causes of the American Revolution
- The American Revolution 1774-1783
- The early Republic 1783-1796
Exam: 1 hour (30 marks) 15 % of Únal grade

Unit 3: Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992
A Thematic study and a focus on historical interpretations of the past:
- African Americans and the gaining of civil rights including Martin Luther King and the rise of Black Power (Malcolm X) to 1992
- Trade Union and legal rights
- Native American Indians and to what extent they have gained equal rights
- Women – the impact and success of women’s campaign for equal opportunities
- Depth Study: Civil Rights 1875-1895; the New Deal and Civil Rights; Malcolm X and Black Power
Exam: 2 hours 30 mins (80 marks) 40 % of Únal grade

Unit 4: Coursework:
Topic Based Essay Assessment of 3000-4000 words (20% of A Level)

The idea behind this is for students to develop their own study into a historical controversy which runs alongside their studies in the other three modules. They have a free choice of focus and they may wish to look at a speciÚc event in more depth, the role of a speciÚc individual, or an area such as cultural and social history which the course does not itself give massive focus to.

The work is independently researched with the student developing their own question and conducting the subsequent enquiry. Students will be expected to Únd their own mix of contemporary sources and interpretations to help develop their arguments.

This is ultimately as excellent opportunity for students to really immerse themselves in the subject and produce a piece of work that will prepare them well for life at university.

Entry requirements

You do NOT need GCSE History to do A-level History; we are welcoming & supportive of all those who opt for history

Our expectations are that students applying to study this Level 3 course for 2 years will have achieved a good GCSE grade. As there is a great emphasis on independent reading and essay skills, the department has found that the normal requirement to do A-level History is at least a grade B in GCSE History and English. It is also possible to take A-level History without having done GCSE History if students have proven English skills. Above all you need to prove to us that you are curious, can research independently, and have a real personal interest in understanding the past, and what it can teach us today

Future opportunities

History A Level is highly respected by universities and employers. Skills acquired are applicable to a wide range of disciplines, opening the door to a variety of career options. An obvious link is with the legal profession as students practise their skills of evaluating evidence and argument. This also applies to business and management where coherent argument and selection of evidence is crucial to success. Other careers which see history as a relevant starting point include the civil service, politics and teaching. A major area, however, remains the media with many history graduates taking up careers in journalism and the broadcast media upon completion of their degree.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Plymouth High School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 03 March 2017

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