Topic outline

  • History A Level: What's involved?

    The course involves studying the big events from the past and investigating their causes and impact. 

    To find things out, you need to do a bit of detective work, using primary sources which are from the time, such as diaries, speeches, government statistics and newspapers. You will also have to consult the top historians’ views which are known as secondary sources.

    Therefore, this course would suit a student who has a thirst of knowledge for the past, as well as having good literacy skills to make use of the sources.

    • Why study History?

      History is not just about the past – it explains the present. Many important questions you may want to ask, for example why does Britain have a monarchy, are rooted in the past. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic people have been looking back to the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 for further understanding. Furthermore through History we can learn from the mistakes from the past and make progress, hopefully avoiding terrible events such as wars in the future.

      Studying history will also develop literacy, research and presentation skills vital to the workplace. The ability to form a sound judgement properly backed up with the necessary evidence is also an important skill in the modern world where there is fake news!

      History A Level complements other humanity subjects well, especially: English Literature, Law, Politics, Sociology and Economics.

      • Course Outline

        Currently, in the first year, the course covers two units on the Twentieth Century:

        1) British History 1930-97 – including…

        * A case study of Churchill – his wilderness years, his rise to power and his years as war leader.

        * Britain 1951-97 – Economic problems, social changes, and foreign policy – two key Prime Ministers covered will be Wilson and Thatcher.


        2) Cold War in Europe 1941-95 – including…

        * The origins of the Cold War- the wartime conferences, Stalin and Truman.

        * Its key events & features – the Truman Doctrine, the Berlin Wall and the arms race.

        * How did the Cold War come to an end? – Reagan and ‘Star Wars’, Gorbachev and ‘New political thinking’ and the revolutions of 1989.

        • Further Activities

          To find out more about Britain in the Twentieth Century I would recommend the following:

          To get you started...

          For further investigation...

          'The Churchill Factor' by Boris Johnson

          'Darkest Hour' by Anthony McCarten (also a film)

          'Twentieth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction' by Kenneth Morgan

          'The History of Modern Britain' by Andrew Marr (also a DVD series)

          To find out more on the Cold War: 

          To get you started...

          For further investigation...

          'The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction' by Robert J. McMahon

          'The Cold War: History in an Hour' by Rupert Colley

          'Cold War' by Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing (also a DVD series)