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History AS/A-Level at Walthamstow Academy

Course description

The History Department at Walthamstow Academy is fully committed to all students making sustained and rapid progress to achieve or exceed their aspirational targets. All students are stretched and challenged every lesson in order to ensure they are able to achieve to their full potential in this important academic subject. Our goal is to enable all students to truly learn and understand some of the astonishing events, remarkable people and changes that have taken place in Britain and across the world, and to learn from past mistakes and recognise the importance of making a better future.

Students have the opportunity to develop their higher order analytical and evaluation skills drawing upon greater depth and range of historical knowledge and evidence, and learn to evaluate with more sophistication, demonstrating a deeper understanding of historical concepts, producing extended answer essay responses that are more analytical and judgements that are more effectively substantiated as a result of high levels of reading, research and planning.

Course content

Year 12 - students study Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the ‘Democracies in change: Britain and the USA in the twentieth century’ Edexcel A Level History unit. They study in-breadth the dramatic political, economic and social changes that took place in Britain over the course of a hundred years between 1918 and 1997. They learn how these changes are responsible for transforming Britain in to the country it is today. This unit enables students to understand modern Britain and how they can use their understanding of the past hundred years to solve some of Britain’s problems in the future with skills and understanding they have developed as part of their A level study.


Paper 2 is a depth study of the USA between 1955–92, investigating the nature and size of change that took place in the USA and the extreme measures taken by groups to achieve that change or resist change. Students learn about how the USA became the most powerful Superpower in the world during the 20th century, however it still had extreme forms of divisions and racism such as segregation, fought against by brave leaders such as Martin Luther King and the Civil rights movement. Students investigate the rise of student movements and protests and the Women’s Liberation Movement, as well as the Presidencies of great American leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.


Year 13 - students carryout their own research and investigate the historical controversy of German responsibility for causing the First World War. Students read and research using a wide range of historical texts and articles and write-up their research evaluating the prevailing controversial historical interpretation that Germany bore full responsibility for planning and starting a war of aggression in 1914.


Students also study a new breadth and depth study combined in Year 13. Students investigate in breadth the political, economic and social changes that took place in Britain between 1780-1928 and they study in-depth the radical reformers during this period, the Chartists, the Contagious Diseases Acts and the campaign for their repeal, 1862–86, The Women’s Social and Political Union, 1903–14 and Trades union militancy, 1917–27. This unit enables students to further understand the changes in Britain during the 19th century and develops their understanding of the changes in Britain during the 20th century.


Students also develop their higher level problem solving skills, communication skills, working effectively as part of a team in group work activities as well as carrying-out their own historical research as part of their 4000-word coursework essay, which forms 20% of their overall A Level grade.

A Level Exam units

  • Paper 1, Option 1H: Britain transformed, 1918–97. - 2h 15mins
  • Paper 2, Option 2H.2: The USA, 1955–92: conformity and challenge. - 1h 30mins
  • Paper 3, Option 36.1: Protest, agitation and parliamentary reform in Britain, c1780–1928. - 2h 15mins
  • Paper 4: Coursework:  4,000-word essay

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Walthamstow Academy directly.

Last updated date: 15 December 2016
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