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Course specifics

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and only one will count as one GCSE equivalent.
  • GCSE English Language at grade 5 or GCSE English Language at grade 4 AND GCSE English Literature at grade 5
  • If taken at GCSE a grade 4 is required (but 5 preferred)



Exam board: Edexcel & OCR

98%pass rate

History helps you to understand the world around you. It will provide you with a sense of the past, and its impact on the present, an awareness of different values, systems and societies.

It suits students who enjoy analysis and evaluation and can communicate their ideas clearly in written and verbal form.

History is a highly regarded A-level, as a recognised facilitating subject. At St Brendan's, uniquely for the South West region, we offer different courses for you to choose from, to enable you to select the place and time that most appeals to your interests. Some students prefer to explore in greater depth areas of History already known to them; others prefer new horizons. Either approach is welcomed. 

History & Politics Open Event Presentation

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

Course 1: Early Modern World (Exam Board; OCR)

1st Year of Study: England & African Kingdoms

  • Paper 1: England 1485-1558: The Early Tudors
  • Paper 2: African Kingdoms c1400-c1800

2nd Year of Study: Witchcraze & The English Civil War

  • Paper 3: Popular culture and the witchcraze in the 16th and 17th centuries
  • Coursework: The English Civil War 1642-1645

During the 1st year we will explore two European monarchies of the 15th and 16th centuries.  We start by investigating one of the most defining eras in English History, Tudor Dynasty focusing on the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VII, Edward VI and Mary I (1485-1558). We then move on to explore precolonial African Kingdoms from c.1400 to c.1800.

In the 2nd year we focus on the people of the C16th and C17th by exploring their culture and how their lives were turned upside-down by the witch-hunts.

Coursework will investigate the reasons why people sided with either the King or Parliament during the English Civil War, 1642 to 1645.

The Fight between Carnival and Lent (Peter Bruegel, 1559)

The Fight between Carnival and Lent (Peter Bruegel, 1559)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Course 2: Twentieth Century Modern World (Exam Board; Edexcel)

1st Year of Study: You have two pathway options

Option A: Russia & China

  • Paper 1: Russia, 1917-91: Lenin to Yeltsin 
  • Paper 2: Mao's China, 1947-76

Option B: Britain & USA

  • Paper 1: Britain transformed, 1918-97
  • Paper 2: Twentieth Century USA

2nd Year of Study for all students:

  • Paper 3: The British Experience of warfare, 1790-1918
  • Coursework: Stalin's Purges or Impact of the New Deal

This exciting Modern History A-level course covers 200 years of world history and students will be able to choose between two different routes in the first year. The first of these examines the emergence and development of Communist States in Russia and China, and includes an enquiry topic on the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Route 2 focuses on social, cultural and political history in Britain and the USA, and will include an examination of the struggle for equal rights for women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT community. During the second year all students will complete an Independent Enquiry coursework and a final examination unit looking a the British Experience of Warfare.

Maoist Propaganda

Maoist Propaganda

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The course is taught by highly qualified specialist staff.  The approach is active and practical wherever possible.  The mix of individual and group work encourages you to take responsibility and initiative for your own learning.  Presentations by staff and students, group assignments and lectures by staff and visiting lecturers are incorporated into the learning programme. 

Meet the History teachers and students


The History Department will provide up to date exam based textbooks for every unit taught. There is also support for student learning in the Learning Resource Centre, which is well stocked with recommended speciailist and general History books, and online History Journals.


A-level History encourages effective research skills, the ability to evaluate conflicting evidence and helps you to produce balanced arguments. These attributes are highly sought after in a wide range of occupations, and are particularly useful for careers in Law, Media, Politics, Accountancy and Museum and Heritage work.


We run a number of enrichment activities, which have recently included day visits to course related sites e.g. Tower of London, the Imperial War Museum, overseas visits to Rome and Berlin and a History Conference supported by Bristol University.

There are no compulsory charges ; all the visits are optional and may typically cost around £30 for day visits and £350 for overseas trips.