A Level – History

This course is for anyone who has a keen interest in History and wants to understand some of the major events and developments which have dominated the world. It will be of interest to anyone who likes to think for themselves, put forward their own views, and argue in favour of their own interpretation of events.

History students at Wyke Sixth Form College.
  • Who Is This Course For?

    Modern History is a pleasurable subject to learn, and is ideal for anyone keen to understand some of the major events and developments which have dominated the world. It will be of interest to anyone who likes to think critically about the way in which our lives have been shaped, who are keen to express their own opinions, and who are ready to argue in favour of their own interpretation of events. It will also be of interest to anyone who is enthusiastic to develop their skills of analysis and critical thinking. History is a subject that inspires debate—indeed, historians never cease to learn through active participation. History perfectly complements a range of other subjects—especially in the Humanities, and is a recognised facilitating subject for a wide range of undergraduate programmes of study.


  • Course Details:

    A level History is taught as a ‘linear’ course, which means that the course runs for two years with the final assessment/exams at the end of the two years. It is expected that students of history at Wyke will study towards their A Level for the full two years. The programme of study and assessment is outlined below:

    A Level History, Edexcel Route F

    Year 1 ProgrammePaper 1 – Breadth Study with Interpretations Paper 2 – Depth Study
    Percentage of A Level30%  20% 
    Topics studied 

    Paper 1: In Search of the American Dream: The USA 1917-96

    Paper 2: India, 1914-48:  Road to Independence
    Assessment2hrs. 15mins. Exam comprising two essay questions and one interpretation question1hr. 30mins. Exam comprising one source question and one essay question
    Year 2 ProgrammePaper 3 – Studies in breadth and depthCoursework
    Percentage of A Level30% 20% 
    Topics studied

    Paper 3: British Experience of Warfare, 1790-1918

    Independent research enquiry into historical interpretations:
    Origins of the First World War
    Female Suffrage
    Russian Revolution
    Battle of Trafalgar
    Assessment2hrs. 15mins. Exam – source question and two essaysAssessment comprises of a 3-4000 word essay

    Exam Board

    A Level History here at Wyke is an Edexcel two-year linear course, with 80% of assessment to be completed at the end of the two year course of study.

    How the course is delivered

    Each History class takes place in a dedicated History classroom, with the resources appropriate to the course immediately to hand. Teaching and learning combine presentations, discussions, and debates, skills lessons including essay writing skills, source analysis, exam techniques, research skills, and teamwork activities. We at Wyke encourage independent learning and critical thinking, and so expect students to be actively involved at all times, and to undertake plenty of reading. Striving toward 100% attendance is also crucial to success in A-Level History.

    Departmental Enrichment

    This year, the History Department will be taking History students to various places of international historic importance, including Washington, Auschwitz, and Belgium Battlefield Tours. The History department also runs Master Classes for students with a passion for History, and for those who have high ambitions in the subject. The History department is also keen to invite University lecturers in History to come to Wyke to talk to our History students, thereby giving them a taste of studying History at University.

    The History Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

    The History Department consists of two full time and two part time History specialists:

    James Goodchild

    Andy Bentley

    Catherine Baker

    John Whitaker

    All History students are issued with a substantial body of learning materials including books, maps, printed notes, study guides, historical sources, essay plans and revision exercises. Additional learning materials, together with supplementary learning resources, are available for students to access on the College intranet.

    The Department also has a substantial library of History books for students to use. Members of the History staff team provide additional support for those students who need further guidance regarding their written work, and more generally for students who wish to discuss issues arising from the topics which they have been studying.

    What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

    Choose a prominent figure or event from the last 200 years who you find interesting — perhaps Admiral Nelson, Lord Wellington, Otto von Bismarck, General Haig, David Lloyd George, Lenin, Stalin, Roosevelt, Mao Tse Tung, John F. Kennedy, the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, the Second World War, the Civil Rights Movement and so on — and then try to research your chosen subject. Consider what it was that made them so important, powerful or influential. Rather than merely relying on Google or Wikipedia, go to the central library and find a biography of your chosen figure, and dip into the book to find out more about their personality, beliefs and attitudes. Consider their achievements in the context of the difficulties of the period. Possessing more detailed knowledge of such an individual or event will provide you with a useful analytical perspective to help with your future studies of History.


  • Progression:

    Understanding History is a superb asset for students who wish to progress to study at university, no matter what the subject — History, Law, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Heritage Studies, Languages, Classics, American Studies, Economics, English Literature, and so on.

    History here at Wyke is so much more than just knowledge of the past: it provides training in analytical thinking, and develops a variety of transferable skills which are highly relevant to your future employment.

    Industry and commerce seek critical thinkers, who can absorb lots of information, ask critical questions of the data, and formulate their own logical conclusions. These industries seek people who can analyse problems, research and interpret information, present reports that consider different options and varying points of view, communicate clearly, and use their powers of persuasion to argue in favour of a particular decision or policy. All these skills are acquired through the study of History here at Wyke.

    The study of History is therefore ideal for students intending to pursue a career in, for example, journalism, broadcasting, the law, the police force, the civil service, local government, politics, marketing, and the heritage and leisure and tourism industries, and publishing. It is also highly appropriate for students intending to pursue business or managerial careers in manufacturing industry and commerce as a whole.


    Student Success

    The History Department has tripled in the past four years, and it is proud to have retained a 100% pass rate. Many of these students have progressed to university. The Wyke History Department has, therefore, helped many students to excel in the subject of History.

    Some A Level History students who have left in recent years, and where they are now:

    Georgina Langler (A*) is now at University of Manchester studying History.

    Charlie Leeson (A*) is now at University of Sheffield studying Politics.

    Tom Whitley (A) is now at Loughborough University studying Sport Science.

    Martha Collins (A) is still here at Wyke completing her science studies.

    Joe Spence (A) is now at Leeds University studying Drama and Theatre.

    Komal Suhail (B) is now at Oxford Brookes University studying Law.

    Kate Walker (B) is now Manchester studying modern history and politics

    Alex King (B) is at Glasgow studying History and Politics

    Jess Thompson (B) is now at University of Northumbria, studying history.

    Ailis Weir, studying Law at Manchester Metropolitan University (B)

    Becky Stone (B) is now at University of Birmingham studying Medieval History.

    Rich Turner (C) is now at University of Salford, studying history.

    Rob Whittle (A) is now at the London School of Economics studying International Relations.