Accessibility links

History A Level *FEES PAYABLE* at Ashbourne Independent School

Course description

History students at Ashbourne take an epic journey spanning four hundred years – from the end of Elizabeth I’s reign in England to Italy at the end of WW2 – to investigate how major events, turning points and conflicts of the past have shaped our world. They will encounter dynamic figures like Napoleon, Cromwell and Mussolini and explore how and why their actions, beliefs and ideologies made such an impact.

Students are encouraged to analyse, evaluate and interpret a wide range of sources so they can discuss and debate issues from differing perspectives, gain a better understanding of events and paint a vivid picture of the past.

We take full advantage of all the excellent exhibitions and events going on in London to help students contextualise their history and get a taste of what different times were like.

Past excursions include the Pepys exhibition called ‘Fire, Plague, Revolution’ at the Royal Maritime Museum; travelling the 17th century way by boat from the Embankment; exploring historical issues and figures through art at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain; and visits to the Imperial War Museum.

Travelling back in time forces us to examine the many forces – social, economic, political, cultural – that influence behaviour and bring about change. It reveals the complexity of human nature and helps us make more sense of the world we live in now.

As a history detective you will learn how to gather and critically analyse information and sources, sift through facts and draw conclusions, argue your point yet consider others’ and illustrate how past events affect what goes on today.

History is a very highly regarded subject and excellent foundation for many degree courses.

Course content

Stuart Britain 1603-1702, Italy and Fascism 1900-1945 and France 1789-1905 are the three components covered in this linear course.

Stuart Britain 1603-1702 (1D)

Breath study: Stuart Britain and the Crisis of Monarchy (1D)

Disputes over religion, opposition forces and powerful individuals and ideology all added to the volatile relationship that existed between Crown, Parliament and the people in Britain during the 17th century.

In this component you will study the reigns of James I and Charles II as well as the Interregnum and discuss how effective the early Stuarts were in establishing and consolidating their monarchy in the period 1603–1702.

In 1642 Civil War broke out between King and Parliament and transformed English politics and society. Students will examine a wide range of historical perspectives and interpretations of this period including those of Barry Coward, Conrad Russell and Christopher Hill.

From a world turned upside down by the Civil War emerged Oliver Cromwell, a military and political leader who presided over the execution of the King. Following his death the monarchy was restored but religious and political strife quickly resurfaced.

Italy and Fascism 1900-1945 (2L)

Depth study: Italy and Fascism 1900-1945 (2L)

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his Fascist party came to power in 1922. He drew support from disillusioned WWI veterans whom he organised into secret police squads called the Black Shirts to crush any opposition. He allied with Nazi Germany and Japan during WW2 and was finally toppled in 1943. He was shot shortly after German surrender in Italy in 1945.

In this component you will investigate the impact of Mussolini’s Fascist regime on the Italian State and people, and why it eventually collapsed. What caused Mussolini’s ideological shift from revolutionary Socialism to Fascism and how did he transform his ideas into practice?

France 1789-1905

Historical investigation: France, 1789-1905

Hot on the heels of American revolutionaries and emboldened by Enlightenment ideals the citizens of France rose up in 1789 to overthrow the monarchy and smash the feudal system. A ‘Reign of Terror’ then ensued as the revolutionaries turned in on each other leading ultimately to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte by the late 1790s. The dramatic events of the French Revolution transformed the political landscape forever in France and for the rest of Europe.

What were the underlying causes and events that led to such an uprising and how did the tensions and divisions among the revolutionaries make way for Napoleon? How has the legacy of the revolution shaped France and Europe? These are some of the questions you will need to address for this component.

Entry requirements

Ashbourne aims to attract students with good character and solid academic achievements. The college takes great care with admissions and interviews each applicant. The interview is friendly, informal and without obligation.


Stuart Britain 1603-1702 (1D)

A Level

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, 80 marks, 40% of overall result

Italy and Fascism

A Level

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, 80 marks, 40% of overall result

France 1789-1905

Internally assessed coursework: France in Revolution, 1789-1905; 40 marks or 20% of overall result.

Future opportunities

With your finely honed investigative skills you will be well equipped to pursue a career as a private detective, high court judge, national politician or political revolutionary, undercover economist, campaign journalist, intelligence spy and more.

History is a highly regarded A level and is an excellent foundation for degree courses in Law, International Relations, other Humanities subjects and History itself. It may also be considered an option for those aiming for medicine.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ashbourne Independent School directly.

Last updated date: 09 November 2016

Key information