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History A level at Wilmslow High School

Course description

The History Curriculum area offers a choice from two breadth studies and three depth studies as well as a Personal Study.

Course content

Breadth Studies:

Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855 – 1964 From the riches of the Romanovs  through the bloodthirsty Bolsheviks ending in Cold War calamity this course covers some of the most turbulent and fascinating times in Russian history. Beginning with the decline and fall of the Tsars the course also covers the Russian Revolution, Civil War and the repressive rule of Josef Stalin moving onto Russia’s emergence as a superpower after World war Two and the role of Khrushchev in the Cold War. Key questions include: Why were there two revolutions in Russia? Was the USSR really a Communist state? How did the Soviet Union become a superpower? What was the legacy of Stalin?

The Tudors 1485 – 1603 This period of English history was a frightening and exciting period of unprecedented change for those who experienced it first-hand. Full of religious upheaval, the politics of the period abound with personal rivalries, ruthless factional backstabbing and treacherous rebellion. Beginning with the dour Henry VII and covering the ruthless and image-conscious Henry VIII, the sickly Edward VI, the zealous Mary I and culminating with Elizabeth I ( arguably one of our greatest ever monarchs) students will consider new research and interpretations. Key Questions include: How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy? To what extent and why was power more widely shared during this period? Why and with what results were there so many changes to the Church and religious practice? How serious a threat was posed to Tudor monarchs by opposition and rebellion?

Depth Studies:

France in Revolution 1774-1815
The French Revolution was one of the most momentous events in European history. In Year 12 the course looks at the causes and events of the French Revolution.   What finally drove the French people to rise up and eventually execute King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette?  We will also analyse how the revolution descended into terror and bloodshed. In Year 13 the focus is the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte from nowhere to become Emperor of France and then ruler of much of Europe. How this was possible and how successful was Napoleon as a ruler and military leader?  The final section will look at reasons for Napoleons fall and final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.’

Wars and Welfare: Britain in transition 1906-1957 Covering a period of rapid and significant change this course examines British politics, society and the economy. Students will gain an understanding of the impact of the First World War on Britain, the pressure to provide votes for women and the development of political extremism in Britain and Europe. The course also covers Britain during World War Two, the ‘shock’ election defeat of Churchill and the birth of the Welfare State. Finally, the course will examine the idea that Britain had ‘never had it so good’ and will look at the 1950s in relation to:  political consensus and divisions; economic policies and the rise of affluence;  society and culture; Britain’s role in a Cold War, nuclear age. 

Personal Studies:
Students must write a personal study of 3000-3500 words. This will be researched and written in the autumn term of Year 13 and constitute 20% of the A level mark.

Entry requirements

Students are required to have achieved a grade C or above in English and mathematics, and a C grade in history if they have studied it at GCSE. However, given the high literacy demands of this subject, grade Bs in GCSE English language and history are highly recommended.


Both the breadth and depth study will be assessed by a 2 hour 30 minute examination in the summer of Year 13. The personal study will be supervised and marked by one of your history teachers and externally moderated by AQA.

Further information

History A level

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 September 2016

Key information