History (A Level)


What Will I Study?

How Will I be Assessed?

What Next?

Why Study History (A Level)?

Suggested Reading

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A Level

Examination Board



What Do I Need To Study This Course?

6 or above in History and 6 or above in English Language.

What Will I Study?

You are enthusiastic about studying the past, reflecting upon key historical issues and controversies, then choose History. The course content is ideal for students who are fascinated about the world around us, and wish to gain a deeper understanding of social, political and economic change in Russia and Britain. History is a broad subject that allows you to develop your analysis of historical sources and essay writing skills with greater depth and precision. You will read more widely, enlarging your vocabulary to help form coherent and well-reasoned arguments. Class discussions and debates are integral to our lessons as we are interested in your thoughts and ideas about historical controversies. Our teaching of the subject will involve group work, personal study, role play, quizzes, timed essays, videos, source analysis, podcasts, presentations and an opportunity to attend conferences and visits to historical sights. We have previously run trips to St Petersburg and Moscow, but are now looking for other opportunities to enrich the curriculum.

How Will I Be Assessed?

The assessment of history consists of the following:

The Making of Modern Britain 40% – 2 hours 30 mins exam
Tsarist and Communist Russia 40% – 2 hours 30 mins exam
Coursework: The Unification of Germany 1789-1871 20% – NEA 4500 word assignment.

What Next?

History provides you with the contextual knowledge to make sense of today’s world. History is a challenging and rigorous A Level that is respected by employers and universities alike and complements most other A Level subjects. Our students do well in the subject with many deciding to study it further at degree level (including Oxbridge). Former students have gone on to pursue careers in law, publishing, journalism, accountancy, the navy, medicine, drama, the civil service, construction, archaeology and education including history teaching.

Suggested Reading List

British Reading List


  • Brian Moynahan: The British Century – an accessible book, packed with photographs, which looks at some of the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of post-war life.
  • Stephen J. Lee: Aspects of British Political History 1914-1945 – chapter 11 (especially pages 172-178) analyses the impact of war on Britain; chapter 12 examines the Government of 1945-1951; pages 261-266 in Chapter 17 look at foreign policy and defence up to the 1950s
  • Kenneth O. Morgan: Britain since 1945 – The People’s Peace – chapters 2 & 3 (pages 29-111) – a leading historian’s account of the years 1945-1951
  • Martin Pugh: Speak for Britain – A New History of the Labour Party – pages 286-301 – a recent historian offers a fresh view of the Government of 1945-1951
  • Alex May: Britain and Europe since 1945 – Chapters 1&2 (pages 1-19) examine the relations between Britain and Europe 1945-1951
  • William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954) – a fable dealing with post-war themes including war, democracy, civilisation, fear, good & evil
  • Andrea Levy: Small Island – not a novel from the time itself but it examines the experience of immigrants in post-war London in a really accessible way; fictional but realistic
  • Alan Johnson: This Boy – A very honest insight into growing up in working class London during the late 1940s / early 1950s, by someone who went on to be a leading politician

Film, Television & Music

  • Passport to Pimlico – An Ealing comedy film set in London in 1949, reflecting aspects of the social & cultural make-up of Post-war London
  • The Quatermass Experiment – A ground-breaking, controversial science fiction series (which heavily influenced “Dr Who”) released in 1953; only the first 2 half-hour episodes remain intact but these can be viewed, along with short summary videos of the other 4 lost episodes, on you tube. Reflects some of the fears, beliefs and values of post-war Britain
  • The Man in the White Suit – An Ealing comedy film from 1951 which reflects the priority placed on protecting jobs & industry over scientific innovation in post-war Britain
  • Look Back in Anger – later ‘50s film based on the play by John Osborne, showing a more anti-establishment, questioning culture of the ‘50s
  • Dixon of Dock Green –TV series from 1955 onwards which centred on a local police station, reflecting values of community, common sense and humanity
  • Vera Lynne: Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart – the first song by a British artist which topped the US charts (1952)
  • Straighten up & fly right – popular song by American artist Nat King Cole


Russia Reading List


  • Russian History: A very short introduction: Geoffrey Hosking – This book discusses all aspects of Russian empire history, Communist era and post-Soviet era.
  • Stalin: A Biography: Robert Service – A full assessment of Stalin from his early years in Georgia to the end of his career
  • The Russian Revolution: A Very Short IntroductionA Smith – This focusses on the main developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 – 1936.
  • The Road of Bones: Fine, Anne – Based on life in Russia under Stalin. It reveals how power corrupts and how quickly the oppressed can become the oppressors.
  • Natasha’s Will: Joan Lingard – A dangerous journey into exile during the Russian Revolution.
  • Animal Farm: A Fairy Story: George Orwell – A well- known classic story detailing the events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
  • A People’s Tradgedy: Orlando Figes – A well-known insight into the lives of Russian people before and during the Revolutions


  • The Romanovs – An Imperial Family – A Russian film with subtitles, set in 1917 focussing on the last days of Tsar Nicholas II and the rest of the Romanov family.
  • Enemy at the Gates – Set in 1942, in the Battle of Stalingrad
  • Animal Farm – The cartoon version of the book
  • Child 44 –, the film follows a disgraced member of the Russian military police.
  • Bridge of Spies – an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy


Why Study History (A Level)?