Our A level History course, which combines medieval and contemporary history has been praised by the exam board for the breadth of study it offers.
The first topic covered examines the Crusades and the Latin East between 1095 and 1206. The Crusades were one of the defining features of the Middle Ages. They were a series of brutal, violent assaults inspired by a curious mixture of greed, anger and religious devotion. Why were people inspired to take the cross? Why did good intentions swiftly descend into barbaric violence and why, ultimately, was the crusading movement a failure?
In the second unit the focus shifts forward to the modern era and westward to North America. In the mid-eighteenth century, America was part of the British Empire, but within a few short years the American colonists had declared their independence, defeated the British army and established the United States of America. How did this dramatic change occur? Why did the Americans want to become independent? Why did Britain lose control? What impact did this struggle have in America and on Britain?
The second year of the course continues the split between medieval and modern topics. It also includes a major coursework assignment similar in approach to the type of work completed by undergraduate students. For this you will examine, in detail, an aspect of medieval kingship.
The final unit is an exam based course on International Relations 1945-2004. This has as its major focus the confrontation between the USA and USSR and major world events since the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s. The unit involves examining some big questions. Why did the Cold War begin? How did it end? Why did it last for so long? To what extent has the course of international relations been dominated by the United States? Has the world become more dangerous since 9/11? How effective has the United Nations been at preventing conflict and humanitarian disasters?
Subjects that link particularly well with this course are Ancient History, Government and Politics, Critical Thinking, English, Philosophy…in fact History can complement a wide range of other courses. It also goes particularly well with the Debating and Public Speaking enrichment option. To be successful in this course students should feel relatively confident in their ability to read, assimilate new information and complete extended pieces of writing.
Students who are successful at AS level may wish to complete an additional year to achieve the A level qualification, from which higher study perhaps at degree level in this or a related area is a possibility. As part of a wider programme the course provides an excellent basis for progression to a wide range of careers and/or university courses.