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History is a people-centred subject. You study how people behaved in the past, discuss how far their actions resulted from their moral or religious beliefs and see what the pursuit of power did to nations and individuals.

OCR H505

A Level HistoryWe discuss how far people’s actions resulted from moral or religious beliefs and question what the pursuit of power has done to nations and individuals. This enables us to question whether people’s lives were shaped more through the actions of their leaders than the wider forces of social and economic change. Through the study of history, you will gain an understanding of problems afflicting the modern world such as aggressive nationalism and religious conflict, as well as understand more about how we come to be who we are today.

As well as encouraging you to think about both the past and the present, studying A Level History helps develop valuable skills, including the ability to absorb a large amount of information, to present it with clarity and discrimination, to write with fluency, to have critical powers of analysis and to work in a self-disciplined manner.

Beyond the classroom 

We offer the opportunity to participate in a range of trips to develop your knowledge and understanding of the past. Recent trips have included overseas visits to Berlin as well as attendance at study days in London and History seminars in Cambridge. Our weekly History Society discusses a variety of aspects of history, and also enables students to take the lead in running sessions on different topics of interest.

Course content

  • British unit – England 1547-1603 - An enquiry based unit exploring the Mid-Tudor Crises 1547-1558.
  • Non-British unit - Democracy and Dictatorships in Germany 1919–1963.
  • Thematic unit - Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964.
  • Exploring the reigns of Tsars and communist leaders of Russia and their impact.
  • Independent investigation - A coursework unit, where students independently research and produce a coursework essay with supervision.


  • British Unit – 90 mins (25%)
  • Non British Unit – 60 min (15%)
  • Thematic Unit – 150min (40%)
  • Coursework – 3,000 - 4,000 word essay (20%)


What trips are available?
Every two years, the History department invites History students (Years 11-13) to accompany the department to Berlin. Every Autumn, we take Year 12 students to Sixth Form Conferences (usually held in London) to hear prominent Historians lecture on their recent research.
How does the department support  me if I want to study History at University?

The department is very supportive of those intending to read History at university. For Oxbridge applicants, as well as those applying to universities who require students to take aptitude tests, we offer weekly support in the form of reading beyond the curriculum as well as help with past papers.

What is the workload like?

History is a greedy subject in terms of its workload. You can never read enough. The exam board expectations amount to an hour of private study for every hour spent in the classroom - this consolidates concepts introduced and discussed and facilitates extension reading. It also helps with essay writing - it’s easier to analyse and evaluate something you know well.

Any work done outside the classroom is an investment in the final grade.

What is it like to study History at Stephen Perse Sixth Form? What are the lessons like?

We are a very popular sixth form subject. We are lucky to have such committed and enthusiastic teachers who enjoy their profession and enjoy fostering enthusiasm in the students they teach. They are always willing to discuss History both in and out of the classroom, as well as in the History Society, which we also offer. In the classroom, much time is spent debating and discussing key concepts and we like to strike a balance between discourse, active note-making and developing critical thinking skills. We also take care to guide you in the direction you want to take and will nurture you to help you fulfil your potential.  As such, one of our strengths is getting to know your potential  and help you with those aspects of the courses you may find challenging. To top it all off, we offer an excellent and engaging curriculum full of colourful and controversial characters and events all well supported by a well stocked library. We also take advantage of our technological position as an Apple Ipad school.

What resources are available to help broaden my understanding of the discipline?

We have a well-stocked sixth form library and the department is also the proud owner of a vast number of textbooks. All students are allocated textbooks for two years. We also have a vast array of teaching materials as well as current membership of a number of different historical publications such as History Today. We also hold Historical Association Membership.

Do I have to be good at essay writing to study History?
No, but a willingness to learn and take on board advice and direction is a prerequisite.
Can I still study History at A Level if I haven’t done it at GCSE?
Yes although some preparatory reading in advance of starting the courses is advised.