Departmental Aims

  • To inspire students to develop a love of history and to value the study of the past, generating an interest that will remain with them for life
  • To transmit knowledge and understanding of the past, both within the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Students should have an understanding of how the world we live in has been shaped by the past
  • To equip students with life skills such as thinking, evaluating, analysing, empathising and communicating as there are very few jobs that do not require these skills.


  • Four full-time teachers and one part-time teacher, all of whom are specialists in the subject. They bring a wealth of expertise to the classroom, including experience in public examining and academic writing and research
  • We have a wide range of resources to enable students to access the full range of materials required to succeed in the subject.

A Level Curriculum

The course is constructed from the AQA specification. It combines both early modern and modern elements, therefore meeting the requirement for all A Level History courses to have a chronological range of at least 200 years. This has a number of benefits for students; it gives them the opportunity to study a period of history before the 19th and 20th centuries, adding breadth to their overall historical understanding. It also enables students to study modern history from an international perspective, which helps them to develop a clear understanding of the key issues in the world around them.

Summary of Content

  • Component 1C: The Tudors: England, 1485-1603 (Breadth Study) (40%)
  • Component 2Q: The American Dream: Reality and Illusion 1945-1980 (Depth Study) (40%)
  • Component 3: Britain and South Africa 1815-1910 (Historical Investigation) (20%)

Components 1 and 2 are assessed by examination and as Component 3 is coursework, it is assessed internally and moderated by AQA.  The examinations will contain a combination of source-based questions and essays.

Co-curricular, Enrichment, Extension and Support

  • Lectures and seminars are led by leading university academics. These are designed to challenge and enrich all students and provide them with the most current thinking on their subject
  • The Year 13 student-run magazine Modern History is published annually and provides all Year 13 students with the opportunity to write an article on a topic of their choice as a way of encouraging them to engage with the subject beyond the confines of the curriculum
  • Articles for further reading are provided on Infozone
  • All A Level students are offered the opportunity to enter a number of different annual essay competitions; for example, the Vellacott and Robson Prizes run by the University of Cambridge and the essay prize run by the University of Sheffield
  • Students can access further support either by making an individual appointment to see their teacher at a lunchtime or after school, or by attending a twilight session led by a member of the department where students can come along and get help with specific areas of the course.

Many students go on to read History or related subjects such as War Studies and International Relations at university. More generally, History A Level is excellent preparation for a wide range of degree courses and careers, particularly Law, Business and the Media.

In order to support students applying for such subjects, the department provides the following support:

  • Students are sent relevant articles via email from publications such as Modern History Review covering relevant issues such as how to get the best out of university open days and writing high quality personal statements when applying for History degrees
  • Students are given a reading list in order for them to further develop their understanding of the nature and purpose of History as a discipline
  • Students are also able to bring their personal statements to the History Department for review and comment. In addition, where appropriate, students can also hand in completed past papers for the admissions tests for marking and feedback
  • Students have the opportunity to come and discuss what it is like to study History at university with former BMS historians.