History (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 Early 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 Modern course allows you to understand how our modern world today has been formed and shaped by people and events that still resonate today. Beginning on the cusp of the Modern world we move forwards and end up in the late 20th Century having explored British and European History which allows you to see how the Europe of today has changed and remained the same!


Unit 1: The Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603–1660

This is a study of how one Royal dynasty ruled Great Britain in the 17th Century. James I was the first king of Great Britain and events like the Gunpowder Plot are still celebrated today which have a legacy from this king. We then move onto his son Charles I who was the only English king to be publicly beheaded before England became a Republic, for the first and only time.  The final part examines what kind of legacy Oliver Cromwell had, the only commoner to have ruled our country. If you want to understand how our country is ruled today then this will be a fascinating insight into the origins of today’s Great Britain.

Unit 2: Democracy and Dictatorships in Germany 1919–1963

Germany today is one of the most modern and successful countries in Europe but this was not always the case in the past. It is a country that has witnessed the most dramatic change in such a short period of time. Starting with the end of World War One, we chart the fortunes of the new Weimar Government before examining how it descended into the darkness of Hitler’s Third Reich. The Second World Wars affected all of Europe but Germany saw itself divided by 1949 where two very different regimes developed; West and East Germany. What was it like to live in the East compared to the West? You will also have the opportunity to visit Berlin as part of a residential trip to see how the city still bears the signs of their past.


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: Russia and its Rulers 1855–1964

Russia, the largest country by landmass and one that has witnessed the most dramatic change in the 20th Century. We begin by looking at how the last three Tsars of the Romanov dynasty ruled this great country only for the First War to see their demise with the rise of Lenin and the overthrow of their regime. We then follow how the first three Communist rulers - Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev ruled. Was life better under the Tsars or Communists? How did war have an impact on Russia? Who was more repressive; Lenin or Stalin? If these questions interest you then you will enjoy this unit.

NEA (Coursework):

You will also be choosing from a list of coursework essay titles to research and write up. Topics offered may include Nazi Germany which was studied as part of Unit Two and the origins of the English Civil War.


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.