To stimulate interest in this ‘never-ending’ subject; to increase understanding and knowledge, not only of historical events, their causes and consequences but also of human behaviour, past and present; to develop the many general and specialist skills of the historian. In brief, our aim is to make the study of history interesting and rewarding.
What will I study?
The majority of girls are expected to take this subject as a two year course, without the option of an AS at the end of the Lower Sixth. However, in some situations, for example if a girl is applying to a points-based University or if she is applying for a course which requires AS grades, it will be possible for an AS to be taken at the end of the Lower Sixth.
We will cover two main areas of history. The first is a breadth study of the Stuart period. You will learn how, between 1603 and 1702, successive monarchs faced a reduction in their power with the rise of the English parliament. We will look at the English Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the regime of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the monarchy. The second area of History is a study in depth; we shall consider the divisions that existed in the USA between 1845 and 1877. There will be significant attention paid to the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
In Year 13 you will complete a Historical Investigation which is a personal study based on a topic of your choice.
How will I be assessed?
At AS, you will complete an exam on each of the two areas of History; however, the content will cover roughly half of the chronological range required for the full A-level.
At A2, you will complete two examinations (Unit 1: Breadth Study, 40% of A-level and Unit 2: Depth Study, 40% of A-level) and submit a Historical Investigation of roughly 3000-3500 words (worth 20% of A-level).
Students who take Advanced Level History will have a love of the subject and should enjoy thinking, questioning, reading and discussing. The course requires an ability to write clearly and concisely, and present reasoned arguments. An interest in people is important, since history is a subject where the study of human beings is central.
How will I study?
You will be working both independently and in groups. Each group is taught by two members of the department. In class there will be some formal teaching, lots of opportunity for discussion, and use of written sources and audio-visual materials. Homework will be related to and extend work done in class.
A willingness to undertake thorough background reading and research is essential for class discussion, essay writing and the personal study.
There will be opportunities to attend lectures in and out of school, visit places of historical interest both in this country and abroad, and to enjoy a visit to the cinema or theatre when the subject is related to our History course. We often arrange trips abroad, particularly to the USA, to enhance knowledge and enjoyment of the subject.
Where will it lead?
That is up to you. The answer to the question “What can I do with History?” is “virtually anything”. The attitudes and skills acquired by the historian are attractive to most employers, and history students enter a wide range of professions, especially Law, Administration, Management, Journalism, the Media and Broadcasting, Museums, Archive and Library work, to name but a few.
“I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and History. Whilst appreciating all of my subjects at AS Level, History has been at the forefront of my interests. As at GCSE, the course has been very exciting; I have particularly enjoyed learning about the consequential events of the Stuart period. However, the course also offers to refine greatly my essay writing skills and, through the closer examination of primary sources, is key in the development of one's ability to interpret and analyse. The study of History is fun and very rewarding, making me eager to continue with the subject at university.”