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History

Why take A-Level History at Alice Smith? Quite simply, it is impossible to understand the world around you today – culture, conflicts, divisions, allegiances, architecture, people – without an understanding of the past. What is more, employers, universities and other further education institutions all place a high value on students who have a history qualification. History is on the Russell Group’s list of facilitating subjects (subjects which give you the most choices post-16). The demand for History qualifications by universities and employers is down to the many high-level skills which form the foundation of the subject. Law, politics, government, civil service, business, teaching, heritage, museums, journalism, publishing, travel and tourism, computer gaming industry, historical research, archives are some of the careers that a qualification in History can lead to.

And of course, history is enormous fun: where else can you learn about the weird and wonderful eccentricities of humankind? Where else is it possible to theorise about what ought to have been done at the pivotal moments in our past and compare it to what actually was done? Mysteries, role-plays, pod casting, debate, video making, trials and boxing matches: you live history when you take History at A-Level!

The Edexcel A Level History course we follow at Alice Smith challenges students to develop their understanding of the intrinsic value and significance of History. We have chosen our course carefully so that we can explore a breadth and range of content, concepts chronology and place. Students study four units: two in Year 12 (AS) and two in Year 13 (A2). Three of the units are assessed through a formal examination and one unit is assessed through coursework. Our AS course focuses on early-modern and modern nations in revolution: unit 1 explores seventeenth-century Britain during the civil war years and the Interregnum up to the reign of William III; unit 2 takes us to Russia during the period of revolution (1894-1924). In Year 13, our students study the early-Medieval period of the Normans and Angevins for their coursework (unit 4) and the early-modern witch craze in Europe and North America for unit 3.

By undertaking these studies, students will acquire an understanding of different identities within society and an appreciation of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Students develop their ability to ask relevant and significant questions about the past and expand upon the research skills learnt at GCSE. A-Level historians will acquire an understanding of the nature of historical study, for example that history is concerned with judgements based on available evidence and that historical judgements may be provisional.  They will further perfect abilities to organise and communicate their historical knowledge and understanding in different ways, arguing a case and reaching substantiated judgements.

Course Requirements

It is expected that students should have studied History to I/GCSE, achieving a C grade or above. However, students who have not studied the subject previously may be accepted at the discretion of the Head of Department. It will be an advantage to have achieved a C grade or above at I/GCSE in English.Students will need to have an enquiring mind, an interest in the past and its relevance to current affairs, and an ability to communicate ideas effectively.

Opportunities

History opens the door to a wide range of possible career and higher education opportunities. The majority of our most recent cohorts of History A Level students have gone on to read History or read a combined History degree with topics such as Chinese Studies and Contemporary Themes. Those not choosing History have opted  for courses such as Media and Film and English Literature. Increasingly with our consistently outstanding results, students have been accepted into the top UK universities including, Oxford and the top five London Universities.

History combines well with most other subjects and provides an excellent foundation for careers in the fields of education, journalism, media, law, civil service, diplomatic service, management, consultancy and business.

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