Curriculum – History

What Study A Level History

History aims to gain a deeper understating of the modern world by studying its past. The task of a historian is to analyse individuals, groups, movements, events, processes and ideas from a range of different perspectives in order to better appreciate the forces which have shaped the present. As such, History is a subject that is both culturally enriching and vital for making sense of our current condition. By learning the lessons of History we can begin to appreciate how to work towards a better future: as George Santayana once said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

As an academic discipline, History develops skills of analysis, critical thinking, essay-writing and debate. As such, it is widely respected by university admissions tutors and can lead on to careers in areas such as journalism, law, media and politics.


A Level OCR Course Content

Unit 1: Britain, 1930-1997 (Y113)

This unit has two elements: a Period Study and an Enquiry. The Enquiry centres on the important figure of Winston Churchill in the years 1930-1951. As such, it examines Churchill’s early career before he was Prime Minister and his attitude to events such as the Abdication Crisis, the Empire (particularly India) and relations with Germany after 1933. It also examines his leadership and decision-making during his spell as wartime Prime Minister and his role in international diplomacy throughout this time frame.

The Period Study covers the years 1951-1997 and considers various social, economic and political themes during Churchill’s second stint as Prime Minister and beyond. These themes include (but are not restricted to) the move away from consensus politics with the dawn of Thatcherism, the social and economic policies which shaped Britain in the later twentieth century, Britain’s changing position in the world in the aftermath of the Second World War and throughout the Cold War era and so on.


Unit 2: International Relations, 1890-1941 (Y218)

Within this unit, students will study the causes and nature of the First World War, International Diplomacy of the inter-war period (the Paris Peace Conference and League of Nations), European dictators and the international community’s attitude towards them and political developments in the Far East (particularly focussing on China and Japan).


NCS History Enrichment

  • Evening lectures at the London School of Economics and Gresham College
  • University essay-writing competitions (including the Vellacott History prize, Peterhouse, Cambridge)
  • Visits to key places of relevance including the Houses of Parliament
  • Mentor/Coaching from an outstanding NCS Mentor


Further reading

  • Childs D- Britain since 1945: A Political History Fifth Edition
  • Farmer A- British Foreign Affairs: Saving Europe at a Cost? 1919-1960
  • Peaple S- European Diplomacy, 1870-1939


Examination Board: OCR

Disclaimer: The information on this page is to be used as guidance only. The course availability and content is subject to change based on demand and time-tabling.

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