St John Plessington Catholic College

About the Course:

This subject is offered as an A Level course. The History course is intended to develop powers of reasoning, analysis and expression and to promote a thorough understanding of modern societies. As a subject, History is very well respected by both universities and employers. Studying History helps you to understand more fully the issues and events which make the headlines today. Why are there still Nazis in Germany today? Why is the Health Service so difficult to fund? Why is there a crisis in the Middle East? Without an understanding of History such questions have little chance of being understood or resolved. It is a subject which will help you to  understand people and their attitudes, beliefs and behaviour. The History Department expect that students will have gained a grade C  or above at GCSE Level or in a related subject such as Geography or English as the study of GCSE History is not an essential  requirement for you to opt for A Level History. As part of the course there are many opportunities to take part in a variety of trips and visits, including Conferences in London and international study tours to destinations such as the USA, Germany, Poland and Russia.


The course is divided into four units, two studied at AS Level and two at A2 Level. At AS Level students will study the relationship between Britain and Ireland 1864 – 1922 and Russian History from 1894 - 1941

At A2 Level students study two further units: A coursework module comprising of 2 x 2000 word Historical investigations centred upon American Civil Rights from 1865 – 1992, and a source based study of Weimar and Nazi Germany which will investigate the controversies surrounding the Weimar and Nazi Germany periods.

Through these areas of study you will:

  • Develop source skills in critically evaluating primary and secondary sources
  • Develop debating skills
  • Develop the ability to form a written and oral argument

Edexcel GCE History


  • Unit 1: From Autocracy to Communism – Russia 1894-1941 – 1 Hour 20 minutes essay paper in the Summer
  • Unit 2: Empire Challenged – Britain and Ireland 1864 – 1922 1 hour 20 min source paper in the Summer


  • Unit 3: Weimar and Nazi Germany – 2 hour source paper in the Summer of A2
  • Unit 4: American Civil Rights – 1865-1992 – Historical Investigation coursework module for submission in May of A2. 

Is there anything else I need to know?

History would be an ideal choice in combination with a variety of arts and humanities subjects such as Government & Politics, English Literature, Sociology, Religious Studies and Geography as well as demonstrating breadth of knowledge and understanding to  universities and employees if the rest of your subjects are science or maths based.

Progression Routes:

A Level History can lead to further study of the subject at degree level and provides an ideal foundation for careers in areas such as journalism, law, politics, education, the civil/diplomatic service or indeed any profession which requires analytical ability or the skill of  presenting a coherent argument. It is expected that students will have gained at least a C grade at GCSE History.

Student Quote

‘I studied History at GCSE Level and gained an A grade. It is a subject I have always found fascinating and it was natural for me to progress onto AS and A2 Level. I would recommend the course since it teaches you to think independently and offers a wide variety of skills which can be applied to any number of University courses and careers.’

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