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History A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

How did Communism emerge as one of the most significant ideologies of the twentieth century? How did Communist rule affect ordinary people such as workers and peasants in the Soviet Union & China? Why did the Soviet Union collapse in 1991? How did ordinary people, including women, gain democratic rights in Britain between 1780 and 1928?

Course content

Year 1

Russia, 1917-91: from Lenin to Yeltsin

This unit covers: Communist government in the USSR, 1917-85 (Lenin; the one-party state; Stalin; the purges; Khrushchev; de-Stalinisation.)

Industrial and agricultural change, 1917-85 (Command economy; the 5-year plans; collectivisation; Virgin Lands Scheme.)

Control of the people, 1917-85  (Media; propaganda; cult of personality; dissidents; cultural change.)

Social developments, 1917-85 (Housing; women and the family; education; youth; literacy.)

Mao’s China, 1949-75

This unit will look at: Establishing communist rule, 1949-57 (Civil War, the communist party; the Hundred Flowers campaign; Korean War.) Agriculture and industry, 1949-65 (Attacks on landlords; collectivisation; the Great Leap Forward; great famine.)

The Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, 1966-76 (Red Guards & Red Terror; the ‘four olds’; the Gang of Four)

Social and cultural changes, 1949-76 (Foot binding; women’s lives; education; culture; religion)


Year 2

Protest, agitation & parliamentary reform in Britain, c. 1780-1928

This is an exciting course which covers:

Radical reformers, c.1790-1819 (Extra-parliamentary protest; Peterloo massacre; Thomas Paine; Henry Hunt.)

Chartism, c.1838-c.1850 (The National Convention; the petitions; the role of Feargus O’Connor.)

Contagious Diseases Act & the Campaign for repeal, 1862-86 (venereal disease in the armed forces; prostitutes; Elizabeth Wolstenholme.)

The Women’s Social & Political Union, 1903-14 (WSPU; Emily Davison; the Pankhursts; female suffrage.)

Trade union militancy, 1917-1927 (James Maxton; Ernest Bevin; Triple Alliance; General Strike.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grade 4/C or above, including at least a grade 4 in English Language. You need not have studied History before, but if you have, a grade 4/C or above is expected.


Assessment is through a combination of coursework (20%) and exam (80%).

Financial information

History opens the door to a wide range of degrees, including progression into social science and humanities courses at university, such as History, English, Law and Economics. For some careers, especially Law and Journalism, History is a particularly useful subject.

It provides a background to our cultural tradition and a better appreciation of the present. However it is by no means restricted to being useful for these courses alone. Indeed many leading universities also respect science students taking History as the analytical and writing skills gained from it are invaluable in any field.

Further information

Check our website for the most up-to-date course details.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 20 November 2017
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