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History at Queen Mary's High School

Course description

History combines the excitement of exploration with the sense of reward earned by
successfully confronting and making sense of complex and challenging problems. It is about human behaviour; real people dealing with real situations. Whether we study the actions and impact of Fidel Castro or Queen Elizabeth I, we try to get to grips with what makes people tick.

Course content

The A Level course combines students’ existing grounding in modern history with a study of Sixteenth-Century Europe. This combination allows pupils to build on their GCSE studies whilst also experiencing something new and exciting which is still highly relevant to today’s world.

Component 1: The Tudors –England 1485-1603
This is an exciting period to study, full of larger-than-life characters whose motives are still being debated over 500 years later, stimulated by recent research unearthing new details and generating re-interpretations of the era!

This breadth study starts in August 1485, the Battle of Bosworth Field (Henry VII’s epic seizure of the crown and his launching of the Tudor dynasty) and traces power, politics and life in England through the reigns of Henry VII and He
nry VIII.

In Year 13, students continue by studying the turmoil and triumph of the mid and later Tudors. They investigate the notion of a ‘Mid Tudor Crisis’, 1547-58 (including the reigns of Edward VI and ‘Bloody Mary’), and the so-called ‘triumph’ of Elizabeth I (1568-1603).

As part of this exciting and varied unit, students will get to grips with the changing relationship between Church and State at this time, as well as studying the relative importance of the contributions of key individuals such as Henry Tudor, his son Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Wolsey, Cromwell, Protector Somerset, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and many more!

Component 2: The Cold War 1945-91
This depth study begins by tracing the origins of the Cold War (including the post
-war conferences and disputes between Stalin and the West over the treatment of the defeated Germany), through the widening of the conflict into Asia and the bringing of the world to the brink of nuclear war (including the Korean War, the Cuban Mis
sile Crisis and the crises in Poland and Hungary).

In Year 13, students investigate the changes taking place from
‘Détente’ to the end of the Cold War (including the Vietnam War, the Brezhnev era, Gorbachev and the collapse of the USSR).


Students complete two examinations at the end of this two year course. The papers are of a very similar style, each focusing on a different period of history:
- students will firstly be asked to understand and evaluate arguments in extracts taken from relevant primary sources or written by academic historians.
- secondly, students will be required to write two argumentative essays (from a choice of 3 questions)
- finally, in Year 13 students will submit a 3000 word piece of
original research on an issue that interests them, having had the year to investigate and draft their argument, supported by their teachers in lessons and via individual tutorials

Future opportunities

Universities and employers agree that A Level History is a highly-regarded qualification which will open doors into a range of higher-education and career choices.

Students of history
• ask and answer important questions
• evaluate evidence
• identify and analyse different interpretations of an issue
• substantiate their own arguments and judgements.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Mary's High School directly.

Last updated date: 15 September 2016
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