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A Level History

Why should I study A Level History?

History is unique. In an era in which we have to filter all we read, watch and hear, history develops your skills in discerning reality from half-lies and untruths, known unknowns from unknown unknowns, in a real context. It helps you weigh up and decide upon the veracity of sources presented to you. You are taught to present your case for a point of view, justified by knowledge which you have moulded for your own argument. These are useful skills.

History at Warlingham is taught by genuine enthusiasts who love their subject, enjoy the duel of argument, and do their utmost to pass on their zeal for historical debate.

Studying this subject will enable you to:

  • Understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the past through political, social, economic and cultural perspectives.
  • Understand the nature of causes and consequences, of change and continuity and of similarity and differences over a long period of time.
  • Understand the links between perspectives, such as political, economic, social or religious as well as appreciating developments relating to the perspectives separately over time.
  • Understand the role played by individuals, groups, ideas or ideology.

Course Specification

Module 1: Industrialisation and the people, c1783 – 1885

In this module, you will examine how Britain underwent significant changes during the 19th century. Whilst this initially begins as changes to industry, it unleashes unintended consequences due to the terrible living conditions which led the people to turn to radical ideas and to dream of revolution.  You will examine what the government did in response and consider how they managed to survive.

You will study change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How was Britain governed, and how did democracy and political organisations change and develop?
  • What pressures did governments face, and how did they respond to these?
  • How and with what results did the economy develop and change?
  • How and with what results did society and social policy develop?
  • How important were ideas and ideology?
  • How important was the role of individuals and groups, and how were they affected by developments?

Module 2: The Cold War, 1945 – 1991

This module studies the evolving course of international relations during an era of tension between communist and capitalist powers which threatened nuclear Armageddon. It explores concepts such as communism and anti-communism, aggression and détente and also encourages students to reflect on the power of modern military technology, what hastens confrontation and what actions force the promotion of peace in the modern world.  During this module, you will look at:

  • The Origins of the Cold War 1945-1949
  • The Widening of the Cold War 1949-1955
  • The Global War 1955-1963
  • Confrontation and cooperation 1963-1972
  • The Brezhnev era 1972-1985
  • The ending of the Cold War 1985-1991


This is a 4,500 word enquiry on a topic of your choosing.  You will be expected to find a topic that is of particular interest to you, create a suitable title, find two key historians with fundamentally different views on the topic and research the question using a wide range of historians.

Suggested topics include:

  • The Collapse of the Concert of Europe 1814-1914
  • The Decline in Royal Power 1603-1701
  • Electoral Reform 1832–1928

Examining Board Information

Board: AQA

Course Code: 7042

Click the image on the right to download the full course specification. 

Widening Horizons

All of our students have the opportunity to apply to be part of the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which may be of particular interest to our History students. If you are accepted to be part of the project, you will experience a trip to Auschwitz, which Head of College, Mr Chotai, describes below.

Along with four College students, I had the privilege of visiting the Holocaust Memorial and Museum at Auschwitz in Poland. This was part of a project that we undertook through the Lessons from Auschwitz Project run by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Prior to the trip, we took part in a 2.5 hour seminar where we learnt about pre-war Jewish life and the circumstances leading to the Holocaust. On the day of the trip, we met very early at Gatwick, along with 150 other students and teachers.

Nothing I write here can fully do justice to our visit. Shocking and unbelievable are words that somehow don’t fully convey the feelings we all had during the day in which we visited two camps; one a concentration camp and the other an extermination camp. We were fortunate to have an extremely knowledgeable tour guide and an educator from the Holocaust Educational Trust who were able to paint a vivid yet dark picture of the horrors that had taken place at these sites. These ranged from the well-known gassing of millions of innocent people, to the experimentation on children. It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the numbers involved and, therefore, a key part of the project is to humanise the stories. Throughout the day, we were told very poignant, personal stories about many of the people who suffered and died reducing many of the students and staff to tears at various points during the trip. 

Our visit ended with an incredibly moving memorial service in between the remains of the two giant crematoria, where up to two thousand people at a time were murdered. Whether religious or not, it was impossible not to have your emotions stirred as we lit candles in the dark. Finally, the project was summed up best in the words of one of our students who, as we were leaving, said “Sir, everyone in our generation must make this visit.”

Following the visit, which saw us return at 10.30pm, we attended a follow-up seminar. During this, we were honoured to hear a first-hand account of the atrocities from a Holocaust survivor. Although in his 90s, the eloquence and clarity with which he spoke will stay with me forever. A key purpose of the programme is for participants to become Holocaust ambassadors. Unsurprisingly, the number of living survivors is growing smaller and smaller, and so it is vital that there are people who are able to advocate for them in years to come. Part of this is for the students involved to prepare a follow-up activity where they can present their thoughts to a wider audience, for example through assemblies.

“Whilst it was distressing to see, knowing the true stories of the Holocaust and its victims is both an honour and responsibility to teach others and keep the Holocaust from being forgotten.”

Daisy B, Year 12 Student

Assessment Format

Paper 1

Written examination (2 hrs 30 mins) consisting of one compulsory question linked to historical interpretations and two essays from a choice of three.  This paper is worth 40% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Paper 2

Written examination (2 hrs 30mins) consisting of one compulsory question linked to primary sources or sources contemporary to the period and two essays from a choice of three.  This paper is worth 40% of the overall marks for this qualification.


Students must complete a 4,500-word essay.  This is worth 20% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Course Entry Requirements

This course requires a Grade 5 or above in GCSE History, if taken. Otherwise, a Grade 5 or above in any Humanities GCSE.

If no Humanities GCSEs were taken a Grade 5 in GCSE English is required. (In exceptional circumstances, a Grade 4 will be considered.)

Employability Skills

Employability Skills are essential skills, personal qualities and values that will enable you to thrive in any workplace. Along with good technical understanding and subject knowledge, employers often outline a set of skills that they want from an employee.

This course will help you to develop the following employability skills:

  • Research skills and the ability to work independently gained from undertaking your coursework and other research tasks.
  • Ability to demonstrate political awareness and sensitivity gained through learning about different social structures.
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation from handling a wide range of sources of information and complex situations and during the course of study.
  • Self awareness of your aims and values through studying History to challenge your preconceived ideas.

Next Steps

Students can go on to take degrees in History, the History of Ideas, History and Politics.

The knowledge and skills acquired through the study of History can be applied to a wide range of disciplines leading to diverse employment opportunities.  History is relevant for careers in the Civil Service, Teaching, Law and Local Government or any career needing logical, progressive thought.


10 Possible Careers

  • Banking
  • Civil Service
  • Education
  • Film
  • Human Resources / Recruitment
  • Insurance
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Publishing

Student Profile: Charlie

Charlie's subjects

A Level English Literature

A Level History

A Level Maths,

A Level Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

I started at Warlingham School & Sixth College in Year 7 and enjoyed the entirety of it; the friendly atmosphere and excellent teaching have made my school experience unique and rewarding. I have a love of History and want to become a lecturer or a professor.


Will talks about studying A Level History.

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