A Level History at Loreto follows the AQA specification. It consists of three units spanning a wide period of history. As a Loreto historian, you will study change, continuity, cause and consequence in Britain c1851-1964; the Cold War, exploring concepts such as communism and anti-communism, aggression and détente; as well as developing a historical investigation. History is an excellent subject for a wide range of careers.
UNIT 1: BRITAIN CHALLENGE AND TRANSFORMATION
This module focuses on the development of British society in the period 1851 to 1964. It looks at the change from a society that favoured rich, landowning white men to one that is more democratic, equal and diverse. We see how different groups emerge to challenge the status quo such as a politically aware working class, the women’s suffrage movement and the Labour Party and how this shift leads to Governments needing to offer more to the British people to secure their support. We also consider the social impact of the World Wars and Britain’s relationship with Ireland.
This is a breadth study of change, continuity, cause and consequence through the following key questions:
• How did democracy and political organisations develop in Britain?
• How important were ideas and ideologies?
• How and with what effects did the economy develop?
• How and with what effects did society and social policy develop?
• How and why did Britain’s relationship with Ireland change?
• How important was the role of key individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?
This module is assessed in a final examination worth 40%
UNIT 2: THE COLD WAR
This module provides an in depth study of the evolving course of international relations after the Second World War, 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 forces promote peace in the modern world.
This module is assessed in a final examination worth 40%
UNIT 3: HISTORICAL INVESTIGATION
Non-Examination Assessment (NEA). This is a coursework essay that will investigate a historical topic covering a period of 100 years. The investigation should be completed in 4500 words and must contain the evaluation of at least three primary sources and of differing historical interpretations.
This module is assessed internally and is worth 20%.
History students will develop a range of skills including analysis, evaluation, forming critical judgement and written communication
History is an excellent subject for a wide range of careers. You can obviously go on to study Modern History, Medieval History, Victorian Studies, etc. and there are also degrees related to History such as American Studies, International Relations or even Egyptology. History can be studied in combination with thousands of other subjects such as languages, Sociology, Mathematics or Zoology, and there are also some subjects such as Law or Journalism which prefer their students to have History A level. The majority of students who take History degrees don’t enter a field connected to History. Those who do can be teachers, archaeologists, tourist guides, museum workers and archivists. Others enter a wide range of professions including marketing, sales, retail, journalism, the armed forces, management, etc. to name just a few. In fact, the many skills you develop by studying History, such as analysis, research, communication and judgement, make it an ideal training for almost any profession. It is highly regarded, and History graduates enter a wider range of professions than from any other subject.
What do you study in History at Loreto?
We follow the AQA A level syllabus:
- AQA Unit 1G Challenge and Transformation: Britain c1851-
1964 (Exam Module 40%)
- AQA Unit 2R The Cold War c1945-1991 (Exam Module 40%)
- AQA Unit 3 Non-Examined Assessment (Coursework Module
Further information can be found on the History course page on the
How will I be assessed?
You will sit one exam for the Britain module and one exam for the
Cold War module. These take place at the end of your second year.
Each exam is a similar format, a compulsory source-based task and
then 2 essays from a choice of 3.
Each exam is 2 hours 30 minutes long and is worth 40%.
The other 20% is through a piece of coursework that you complete
in the first half of upper 6th – this is an independently researched
extended essay of up to 4500 words. This will bring together the
different skills you need in the exam modules such as source
analysis, evaluation of historical interpretations and writing
balanced essays with judgements formed from your research and
supported by evidence. The coursework is assessed internally.
Do you need to have studied History at GCSE?
No, it is not essential as we will teach you the skills you need as we
progress through the course. What is most important is that you
have a genuine interest in History and the topics we will be
studying. Other than that, you will need to meet the college’s
general requirements of 6 GCSE’s at grades 9 - 4 including two of
English, Maths and Science. Two grades should be at least grade 6.
We must stress the course is literacy-based – there is a lot of
reading and the assessment is done through essays so you need to
enjoy and be good at English.
What can I do with a History qualification?
In short – anything! History graduates have gone into a huge range
of occupations- - journalism, politics, teaching, writing, publishing,
culture and the arts, museum curation, archaeology, anthropology,
psychology, law, business, accountancy…even sport and the music
The skills you develop on a History course are highly respected by
employers – self-discipline, analysis, debate, communication,
critical thinking, research…to name just a few.
Employers and university admissions departments know what they
are getting with a student who has succeeded at A Level History,
you will have the skills they look for when appointing a candidate
or offering a place at university.
What are lessons like?
There is a range of activities happening in a Loreto History
classroom. We like students to come with their ideas and questions
from their own reading and use these to prompt a lot of discussion
and debate, alongside using your growing knowledge and
confidence to apply this knowledge to developing the skills required
for the exam.
Are there any trips?
In recent years we have visited local historical sites, and have also
traveled abroad. In February 2020, we visited Berlin to support the
Cold War module and previous years have visited the USA
alongside the Politics department. Due to COVID, such plans were
put on hold for a while, but now restrictions have been lifted,
we are planning to have visits and trips this academic year.
Can I get involved in other historical activities outside of lessons?
Yes, we have a growing history society, which meets fortnightly to
present and discuss historical topics that are of particular interest
to its members. This is organised by and for the students. This will
be supported by talks from visiting lecturers and visits. In addition,
you can support the college and the Department as a History Subject
Ambassador where your roles will include supporting and advising
new history students and expressing the views of students through
How do you support students outside of lessons?
All staff in the History Department are friendly and knowledgeable,
about both the subject and the examination requirements and we
will always welcome students to come to see us to seek extra
support. We operate a ‘drop in’ system where students are able to
come and seek advice on particular issues or to clarify any content.
This is in addition to revision resources that are on the college
intranet and are constantly being updated and, when social
distancing restrictions allow, face-to-face revision lessons.
How do you provide support for students who are absent?
Lesson resources are available on the college intranet for all
students to use and revisit as many times as they wish. In addition,
we have a range of excellent revision resources including podcasts
and recorded lessons for students to access time and again. The
Department also has all past papers and a range of model answers
for students to access from home, in addition to subscriptions to
magazine archives and a range of online resources through the
college library system.