History — Solihull Sixth Form College


Why study History?
  • A level History is an exciting subject, full of relevance to today. A Level History brings the past to life and helps students understand how History has shaped the present.
  • A level History fosters thoughtful, intelligent and curious students who are prepared to think about difficult issues past and present.
  • A level History teaches many transferable skills that are highly valued by universities and future employers. These include skills of analysis, forming and justifying coherent arguments, critical thinking, reflection and empathy.
Why study History at Solihull Sixth Form College?
  • Students are taught by subject experts, with extensive experience of teaching A level History. We have high expectations of students and support all learners to reach their potential.
  • Learners will be offered the chance to participate in appropriate study days and visits. We have visited Warwick University to attend lectures by eminent historians, London to the National Archives, and when possible, trips abroad.
  • We subscribe to key historical publications to widen historical awareness. The cost of additional activities is kept to a minimum.
Students at the Brandenburg Gate
Course Outline

British History – 1547–1603: the Later Tudors

  • This course studies the short reigns of Edward VI and Mary I which can often be seen as a period of ‘Mid-Tudor Crisis’, and then the much longer reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
  • The unit is examined at the end of Year 13 with a 1.5 hour paper.
  • It is a mixture of primary source questions on Edward VI/Mary I, and an essay question on Elizabeth I
  • It counts for 25% of your final A level History grade.

Exam work: European History – Democracy and Dictatorship in Germany 1919-63

  • This unit focuses on Germany from the end of World War One and the establishment of the Weimar Republic, through to the rise of the NSDAP and the Nazi period, and then the post-World War Two period that saw the division of Germany into East Germany and West Germany.
  • It explores themes of democracy, dictatorship, recovery, impact of war and division.
  • The unit is examined at the end of Year 13 with a 1 hour paper. It is an essay based paper. It accounts for 15% of your final A level History grade.

Exam work: Thematic Study – Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964

  • This course covers 109 years of Russian history, from 1855 until 1964.
  • It is a thematic study that explores how Russia went through a time of incredible change from the end of the Romanov Tsars to the rise of the Bolsheviks.
  • The course runs from Tsar Alexander II until Khrushchev’s era.
  • This synoptic unit is a broad study of change and continuity across the period, and looks at the changing nature of Russian government, the economic policies and social impact, the impact of war and revolution across the period, and the fortunes of national minority groups within the Russian empire.
  • The Russia course also explores three Depth Study themes within the 109 years and considers how to evaluate different historical interpretations of history.
  • This is the exam that carries the most marks and will include a written interpretation question and two essays and accounts for 40% of the A level. The exam is 2.5 hours and will be sat at the end of Year 13.

Coursework – on Mary I

  • Learners complete a personal investigation of a controversy from one of the examination units in a 3-4,000 word personal investigation. Developing university level research, selection and interpretation skills they will evaluate (primary) sources and (secondary) historians’ interpretations to develop an answer that addresses the historical debate or controversy.
  • The coursework essay accounts for 20% of the A level.

Coursework (20%)
Examination (80%)
Examining Board – OCR.

Special Entry Requirements

Learners must have grade 4 or above in History if they have taken it at GCSE. It is not necessary however to have studied History at GCSE. In addition, standard A level entry requirements apply.

Prohibited Options


What do our learners go on to do?

History is a facilitating subject which encourages skills of comprehension, analysis and evaluation which are particularly valued by universities and employers alike. Careers in the media, business and management, the civil service, public relations and personnel are all open to you, and History is considered particularly helpful if you are intending to study Law at University. History teachers support learners to complete Extended Projects, university entrance essays and examinations.

Cost Implications

Visits to places of interest usually incur travel costs only. No trips are compulsory. The department will supply a wide range of personalised study packs and textbooks that will include standard class resources and extension material to encourage stretch and challenge.

Complementary Subjects or Enrichments

All History courses are traditionally linked with subjects such as Politics, Sociology, English, Economics, Law and Religious Studies and there are sound reasons for these combinations. However, our experience has shown that scientists find History an ideal companion subject, with a complementary enhancement of logical thinking.

This information is correct for September 2024 entry.

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