History A Level
A Level Exam Board: Edexcel
A minimum of a grade 7 at History GCSE is required a minimum of a 6 in English Language or Literature.
History is a fantastic A-level choice for those interested in understanding the nature of humanity. With courses that encompass every dimension of human activity and transferable skills for almost any future study or career, this is the subject for those with curious minds and great capacity for analysis. A highly respected academic qualification, delivered by a passionate and dynamic cadre of teachers who will support and challenge you to excel, history presents an exciting opportunity for sixth form study and beyond. Classed as a facilitating subject, history remains extremely attractive to Russell Group universities and offers an entry point for degrees ranging from History, International Relations or War Studies, through Law and English, all the way to Accountancy and related subjects. Beyond university, those with qualifications in history enjoy careers in politics, law, journalism and broadcasting, education, banking, the civil service, and even the creative arts. The able and ambitious need look no further.
Structure of course:
The History Department at Caterham offers a diverse mixture of A-level topics covering a range of eras and geographical regions.
Unit 1: Britain, 1625–1701: conflict, revolution and settlement
This includes the Personal Rule of Charles I, the British Civil Wars, Charles I’s execution, Cromwell, Charles II and the Restoration, James II and the Glorious Revolution, and the origins of the British Empire.
Unit 2: Russia in revolution, 1894–1924
This includes the collapse of tsarism; Figes’ world of ‘icons and cockroaches,’ the 1905 ‘dress rehearsal for revolution,’ the Russian experience of WW1, the 1917 Revolutions and the Russian Civil War, and the creation and early trials of the world’s first communist state.
Unit 3: Civil rights and race relations in the USA, 1850–2009
This includes analysis of the changing portrayal of Civil Rights in fiction and film over time, the impact of the US Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, the New Deal, Martin Luther King and the 1950s and 60s, and the reasons for Obama’s electoral victory in 2008.
Unit 4: The European Witch Craze (coursework extended essay)
An essay analysing historians’ differing interpretations.
Assessment & Enrichment
Units 1 and 3 are each worth 30% of the A-level and units 2 and 4 are each worth 20%, and historians in the sixth form will experience a wide range of teaching approaches. The department embraces technology and innovation to ensure that key skills are developed, fully preparing students for university study. Results are strong at A-level with c.50% of pupils achieving A*-A and 100% A*-B.
Informal learning opportunities abound for A-level historians through trips to the theatre and cinema, to exhibitions and museums, and, most excitingly, with early-stage plans to launch a US trip for sixth form historians over the coming years. There is a thriving enrichment programme with an active History Society (CLIO) for senior pupils and a superbly resourced library. External competitions have also been a recent area of strength; with one sixth former winning the 2021 University of Sheffield History Essay Competition against hundreds of other applicants.