A Level History

The History department at Newquay Tretherras is embracing the changes at A Level to explore and investigate the impact of communism on China and Russia during the 20th century. Both Russia and China continue to dominate headlines in current affairs due to expansionist ideals that are rooted in the past, and for students to engage and consider these ideas will help them make more sense of our current world. GCSE students have studied the Cold War and will know that most Cold War crises concerned the spread of communism, and attempts by the USA and its allies to contain and even roll back communist influence. Conflicts such as the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, were all part of the global struggle between capitalism and communism.

Year 12
Unit One: Russia 1917-1991
From Lenin to Yeltsin This is a depth study exploring the rise and fall of communism over 80 years in Russia. Students will study four different themes in the unit covering government; industrial and agricultural changes; control of the people and social developments.
Unit Two: Mao’s China, 1949- 76
This is a breadth study exploring the impact of Chairman Mao on China. Students will explore four topics that follow a largely chronological order. These include establishment of communist rule, 1949-57; impact on agriculture and industry, 1949- 65; the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, 1966- 76 and social and cultural changes 1949-76. At the end of year 12 students will sit the AS paper which is externally moderated for an AS grade.
Unit Three: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII, 1399- 1509
This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes. Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the dramatic developments in late medieval England that centred around the personalities and political skills of a series of kings, queens and their powerful subjects, and the impact of these developments on the kingdom. Within the primarily political focus on the nature of kingship and authority in England, this option also explores the wider social and economic contexts of political struggle.
Unit Four: Coursework
Students have to complete a 4000 word individual study on an historical enquiry of their choice. NOTE: At the end of Year 13, students will have to sit exams in ALL UNITS for the A Level grade. The exam on Unit 1 and 2 will be a different paper than the one taken to gain the AS in Year 12.

Reasons to study
The study of History will encourage students to develop their independent research and thinking skills to consider the impact on communism and how communist rule differed in different countries at different times. Students will be empowered to confidently reach their own conclusions of historical ideas based on their analysis of historical sources, consideration of knowledge and their own personal beliefs. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in all lessons to discuss and share ideas. The skills of discussion, decision making and analyses are all highly valued in both the working world especially in fields such as Law, Journalism and Management, as well as in Further Education.

Entry Requirements
Students need to have a GCSE B grade as a minimum to study History A Level. If GCSE History was not taken, then a Grade B in English will be considered.

Assessment details
A Level History is a linear course. There are two AS exams at the end of Year 12, one for each unit. This is a separate qualification. Students choosing to continue studying into Year 13 will sit three exams, one for each unit and submit their coursework.

Students will be expected to take an active role in their learning. This will include preparing for lessons in advance, taking part in discussions and debate and challenging each other’s thinking. Students will be encouraged to prepare presentations to stretch their own and others understanding. There will be regular assessments that students will need to complete and reflect on previous performance to ensure they can continue to improve.

Find out more:

Reading List

  • Mao: A Biography, Ross Terril
  • Wild Swans, Jung Chang
  • The Rise and Fall of Communism, Archie Brown Communist States in the 20th Century, Bunce & Clements
  • Bulgakov, Mikhail ‘The master and Margarita’.
  • Dunmore, Helen ‘The Siege’
  • Koestler, Arthur ‘Darkness at Noon’.
  • Orwell, George ‘Animal Farm’.
  • Sholokhov, Mikhail A. ‘And quiet flows the Don’