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History A Level at The Ashcombe School

Course description

Reformed Subject

Why study the subject?

To study A level History you need an interest in the world around you, an enquiring mind and the ability to weigh up evidence and arguments in order to make judgements. It is not essential to have GCSE History in order to study A level History, however, we recommend it, as the A level builds on the skills developed at GCSE such as analysis and evaluation, particularly of historical sources.


Course content

This course consists of four units all of which are examined at the end of the second year.

Unit 1: Breadth study with interpretations Paper 1, Option 1G: Germany and West Germany, 1918-89

30% of total A Level

Unit 2: Depth study Paper 2, Option 2G.1: The rise and fall of fascism in Italy, c1911–46

20% of total A Level

Unit 3: Paper 3, Option 31: Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603

This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes. Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the nature of rebellion and disorder under the Tudors and the way the various challenges were met, the nature of change in government over the period and the changing relationship between the Crown and key sections of society. The option enables students to explore the way in which, despite a shaky start, the Tudors were able to establish their dynasty as one of the most powerful England has seen.

Key issues covered: 

• Changes in governance at the centre

• Gaining the cooperation of the localities

• Challenging the succession, 1485–1499

• Challenging religious changes, 1533–37

• Agrarian discontent: Kett’s rebellion 1549 • Queen takes Queen? The revolt of the northern earls, 1569–70

• Troublesome Ireland: Tyrone’s rebellion, 1594–1603

Exam details: 60 marks   2hr 15 minutes    30% of total A Level 

Unit 4 – Coursework - The quest for civil rights, 1917–80

A taught unit focusing on the Civil Rights Movement will be commence in the Autumn term before students write a 3000- 4000 word essay on a historical interpretation that has caused much controversy amongst historians. Issues that will be discussed are as follows: 

 Black American civil rights, c1917–55: life in the South and the impact of northern migration

• From legal challenge to direct action, 1917–55; the impact of the New Deal, the Second World War and the Truman presidency

• Black American civil rights, c1955–80: changing patterns and approaches

• Civil Rights campaigning, 1955–68, the emergence of Black Power and King’s northern strategy

• The impact of civil rights legislation: achievements and limits to success, 1955–80.




Entry requirements

Grade A*- C in GCSE History if taken, otherwise Grades A*-C in Mathematics and English are highly recommended.


Paper 1: Breadth study with interpretations

1G: Germany and West Germany, 1918–89

60 marks     2 hour 15 paper     30% of Total A Level 

Paper 2: Depth study

2G.1: The rise and fall of fascism in Italy, c1911–46

40 marks     1 hour 30 paper      20% of Total A Level

Paper 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth

Option 31: Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603

60 marks     2 hour 15 paper      30% of Total A Level 

Paper 4: Coursework 

Civil Rights and the Quest for Freedom 1917-1980

3000-4000 words     Non assessment exam     20% of Total A Level 

Further information

Extra-Curricular Trips

We run trips to the National Archives, British Library, Hampton Court Palace and a 4 Day residential in Berlin. Students will also have the opportunity to visit New York and Washington. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Ashcombe School directly.

Last updated date: 25 August 2016
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