History (Early Modern)


This is a course which gives both an insight into the past and develops deductive reasoning, analytical and extended prose composition skills. The department offers three options for History - you might consider studying Medieval & Warfare History or Modern History as an alternative to this option. All are assessed in exactly the same way, the only difference being the subject matter.

History is a subject that can be helpful to any student and can usefully be studied in combination with any arts subject. Students often study History alongside English, Classical Civilisation and/or Politics. The subject can also give greater breadth to the academic portfolio of students studying predominately science subjects.

Exam questions come in the form of either essays where a student must argue a case for or against a key historical issue or questions address the historical skills of source analysis and historical interpretation. In the second A Level year, students will complete an extended study in the form of coursework. Strong written and literacy skills are needed for the course and assessments.

Our department’s staff are highly qualified with extensive experience delivering the curriculum. Many of us work as examiners for examination boards. We have very good links with higher education institutes and members of staff who support students with their university applications.

We offer many trips and visits which are directly associated with the subject matter studied. Throughout your course of study, you will be fully supported in and outside the classroom by the department’s staff.


The Early Modern course follows the most dynamic and colourful period in history when the world was in a constant state of change and development from the medieval period to the beginnings of the modern world. This era also benefits from some of the most dynamic personalities you will find anywhere in history. If you like good stories filled with extraordinary people then this is the course for you.


Unit 1: England 1445 – 1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Tudors

You will be learning about the Wars of the Roses and Henry VII – the first Tudor monarch. The Wars of the Roses was a civil war fought between rival families with a claim to the throne. We will explore what started this conflict, the twists and turns as king after king gets deposed, even murdered! Out of this conflict we see the birth of our most infamous dynasty – the Tudors. How does Henry Tudor become Henry VII, end the Wars of the Roses and pass the throne on to his son, cementing the Tudor dynasty?

Unit 2: The German Reformation and the rule of Charles V 1500-1559

It is not very often in History that we see one person change the world. Martin Luther remains one of the few figures in History who has that level of impact. Luther, a humble monk, takes on the might and power of the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His ideas form the basis of the Protestant faith and contributed to the understanding that if it is possible to criticise the Church it is possible to rethink and criticise anything. We also study Charles V, one of the most powerful rulers of the early modern era. We will learn about his conflict with the Ottomans and the French as he struggles to protect all of his territories from enemies from without and within. 


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


Unit 3: The Ascendancy of France, 1610-1715

From Cardinal Richelieu, the archetypal villain in the musketeer films and book by Alexander Dumas, to Louis XIV, Europe’s longest reigning monarch and creator of the sumptuous palace of Versailles. We will be learning about France in an age of war, court intrigue and rebellion. How do the French kings consolidate their power, manage opposition and pursue the goal of absolutism (complete power)? This is a great course – fast paced, dynamic and very, very interesting.


You will also be choosing from a list of coursework essay titles to research and write up. Topics offered may include the Reformation which was studied as part of Unit Two and the European witch-craze. We also offer some Tudor history questions on the fall of Anne Boleyn, aspects of Elizabeth I’s reign and Henry VIII and the Reformation.



Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:

Grade required Subject required

Grade 5

In one of either GCSE English Language, English Literature, Religious Studies or Sociology


Grade 5

GCSE History (if taken) 


if GCSE History has not been taken

Grade 5

in a second GCSE subject from the list above

Please note that students cannot take two History options – Early Modern and Modern for example.


History is a highly regarded arts qualification. Many of our students go on to study it at university. Teaching and postgraduate research are obvious career options. In addition, many historians go on to train for professions such as the law or accountancy.


To be successful you will need to enjoy reading and have sound written skills. The department has well developed support materials which are available through the college’s virtual learning environment (Moodle) system and MS Teams. There is also an extensive collection of history books and e-resources in the College Library.