Contact Teacher: Mr J Barnett, Head of Humanities and History Team Leader

Exam Board: OCR History A H505


History at Bishop Luffa helps you understand where Britain fits into the wider world and how this has changed over time.

You are able to investigate, evaluate and interpret past actions. You can develop the ability to read source material with discrimination, asking questions of it. You can develop your skills as an independent thinker and learner. You will understand why we study certain events, why we remember, why things from the past matter. You will be prepared for life beyond the classroom. Your skills, knowledge and innate sense of curiosity will be encouraged to thrive and these are the skills that will take you through life. The strong sense of narrative will help engage you, whatever age you are. The discussion of themes and issues, helps you to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of the issues covered, and promotes stretch and challenge.

The study of individuals, and societies who challenged injustice and bigotry explicitly emphasises the Christian ethos of the School, and promotes a sense of hope and the innate goodness of the human character. You will tackle these topics and themes through the development of a range of skills that run across the key stages, developing them in a more complex fashion as you move up through the School. You’ll deploy key terms with precision, you will analyse second order concepts such as cause and consequence, you will critically evaluate source material, and you will develop your ability to come to an informed judgement.

Literacy, and a grasp of language helps underpin the subject, and you will be encouraged to develop your reading and writing skills in increasingly complex ways (expect, for example, to use more complex key terms for your study on the Normans at GCSE than you used in Y7).The issues covered give context to your everyday lives, be it the impact of economic crisis, the impact of pandemics, or the fight for freedom - all timeless issues, as relevant now as ever.

History Learning Journey

This is a visual representation of how students' knowledge and skills develop through the History curriculum.

(click on the image below to view a larger version)

History Journey 2023

Why study History?

In a rapidly-changing World, it's becoming ever more important that we remember the lessons of the past. History gives you that vital context, that wider view of events around us. As well as this important grasp of the world we live in, and how we've got to where we are today. A-level History also develops important skills in the students that choose it.

You will develop your ability to evaluate and analyse information, to weigh up evidence and to communicate complex ideas effectively.  These kills are recognised and valued by employers, universities and colleges. Many student choose to continue their history studies at degree level. You will also have an excellent foundation for many careers including journalism, law and business. This is illustrated by the number of students who are able to get onto these very popular courses.

History combines well with Maths and Science subjects to create an attractive portfolio of qualifications, enabling students to move on to a science-based university course. Combined with English and MFL it would provide a good basis for an arts or language-based degree. 

Course details

A-level History is made up of four units. Three are exam-based with one further coursework unit.

Unit 1 British History Period Study and Enquiry

The Tudors. One source and essay-based exam of 1.5 hours

Unit 2 Non-British History

Germany 1919-63. One essay-based exam of 1 hour

Unit 3 Thematic Study and Interpretations

Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992. One essay, and source-based, exam of 2.5 hours

Unit 4 Coursework

One 3000-4000 word essay, related to an aspect of Unit 1 or 2

How the course is taught and assessed

You will notice some differences and similarities with your GCSE course.

There are still a variety of learning styles. Sometimes the teacher will lead the lesson. On other occasions there will be far more independent learning. The teacher will set up a task and it will be your responsibility to organise the completion of it. The teacher will be on hand to guide and advise, but it is your motivation and organisation that are crucial. There may be source investigations, internet research, presentations or debates. Visits and student conferences help extend learning beyond the classroom.

The course is assessed through examinations and coursework. The A -level course involves one coursework unit and three exam based units.

Entry requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE History is generally required for entry onto the A-level course.