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A Level History

A Level History

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: Miss C Regan MA (Glasgow) PGCE (Glasgow)


This information can be also found in the download to the right of this page.


“The supreme purpose of history is a better world.”

– Herbert Hoover

The study of the past is the exploration of controversy. It requires decisions to be made based upon the      gathering of often limited and questionable information leading to the creation of sustainable conclusions. The study of history is by itself fascinating for its own sake, but it not only gives us an understanding of the past, it helps us understand the present as well.

The course aims to examine a number of different skills through assessment objectives or AOs;

AO1; Demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features related to the periods studied, making substantiated judgements and exploring concepts, as relevant, of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance.

AO2; Analyse and evaluate appropriate source materials, primary and/or contemporary to the period, within its historical context.

AO3; Analyse and evaluate, in relation to the historical context, different ways in which aspects of the past have been interpreted.

Which AO is being examined on each unit is listed in the section on each unit.


  • a desire to learn about the past
  • a desire to try to interpret the past and understand the interpretations of others
  • a willingness to plan their work
  • a willingness to engage in debate
  • a desire and willingness to read scholarly books and not popular internet sites lacking academic rigour
  • a willingness to create pieces of extended written work
  • a desire to constantly improve

More details can be found at:

The full specification can be found at:


A Level History: Y100 – Gladstone and Disraeli, Coursework Module 20% of final mark (AO1, AO2, AO3)

The History A unit Y100 Topic based essay is an independently researched essay of 3000–4000 words in length. This unit is a non-examination assessment. The work will be marked by centres and moderated by OCR.

The unit assesses one piece of written work. Half of the marks will be awarded for use of knowledge and      understanding to reach substantiated judgements. A range of primary and secondary sources should be evident and analysed, but formal critical evaluation in itself is less important than the discerning use of         evidence to support analysis.

Candidates must use a range of both primary (sources) and secondary (interpretations) material. A ‘range’ is considered to be 10 to 15 in total; however, where appropriate candidates may use more. The balance        between sources and interpretations will depend upon the topic studied, but candidates should choose a    sufficient variety and quantity of each to allow them to explore their chosen topic in sufficient depth. The topic must be independently researched by the learner. The department will provide guidance regarding where learners can access appropriate sources and/or interpretations, and discuss the subsequent selection with    students. The Department, together with the College library can provide the material that is needed for the successful completion of the piece.

This gives candidates the chance to select an area of the prescribed course that they prefer and independently research this in detail to produce an extended piece of writing. This is a skill needed by many in both tertiary education and the work place in a wide variety of careers and repays vigorous activity.

Y102: Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest 1035–1107, Examination Module 25% of final mark (AO1, AO2)

British Period Study: Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest 1035–1087

Key Topics: Candidates study the following:

Anglo-Saxon England 1035–1066 England in 1035; the consequences of Cnut’s death (1035); instability resulting from the continuation of Danish influence (Harold I 1035–1040 and Harthacnut 1040–1042); Edward’s upbringing, the problems he faced and leadership qualities; Edward’s policies (taxation, law and    order, government and administration, military organisation); Edward’s Norman connections; the importance of the Godwin family (Earl Godwin, Edward’s marriage to Edith, the crisis of 1051–1052, Harold Godwinson and his brothers); the succession crisis including the claim of Harald Hardrada.

William of Normandy’s invasion and the Battle of Hastings 1066 William of Normandy’s invasion preparations; Hardrada’s invasion, Fulford Gate and the Battle of Stamford Bridge; the Norman landings in Hastings and  Harold’s response; the course and outcome of the Battle of Hastings; reasons for William’s victory (leadership skills, strategy, tactics, resources, logistics, chance); William’s march through the south; William’s coronation.

William I and the consolidation of power William’s departure in 1067; the imposition of Norman rule; the suppression of rebellions (including, Exeter 1067, Edwin and Morcar 1068 and the North 1069–1070 Hereward the Wake); the Harrying of the North; castle building (motives, techniques, effectiveness); the establishment of and challenges from a new elite; threats from Scotland, Norway.


Higham, The Death of Anglo-Saxon England, 2000 (New Edition Paperback), Sutton Publishing Ltd

Holland and Fellows, OCR A Level History: Early Medieval England 871-1107, 2015, Hodder Education

Huscroft, The Norman Conquest; A New Introduction, 2009, Routledge

Marc Morris, The Norman Conquest, 2013, Windmill Books

Further Reading – General (Available from Library):

Barlo, The Feudal Kingdom of England 1042-1216, (5th Edition), 1999, Routledge

Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284, 2004, Penguin History

Clanchy, England and its Rulers 1066-1307, (4th Edition), 2014 , Blackwell

Golding, Conquest and Colonisation: The Normans in Britain, 1066-1100, (2nd Edition), 2013, Palgrave Macmillan

Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, (3rd Edition) 1971 re-printed 2001, Oxford Paperbacks

Further Reading – Biographies (Available from Library):

Barlow, Edward the Confessor, (‘New edition’ edition), 1997, Yale University Press

Bates, William the Conqueror, (3rd Edition), 2004, The History Press

Hollister, Henry I, 2003, Yale University Press

Mason, William Rufus: The Red King, 2005, NPI Media Group

Walker, Harold: The Last Anglo-Saxon King, (‘New Edition’ Edition), 2010, The History Press

Y216: The USA in the 19th Century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803–c.1890, Examination Module 15% of final mark (AO1)

Key Topics Content
Learners study the following:
Westward expansion; causes
and impacts
The factors which contributed to the opening up of the West, e.g.           exploration, fur trade, cattle, mining and farming, gold, trails, roads (e.g. Cumberland Road), steamboats, railways, telegraph, the Mormons, settlers (including push and pull factors), ‘manifest destiny’, opportunities, incentives and escape; the impact of the Federal Government on westward expansion, e.g. Louisiana Purchase, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Gadsden Purchase, War with Mexico, admission of new states to the Union, Federal Government and   communications, mail, Homestead Act, Morrill Act, conservation; the   economic, social, political, cultural impact of westward expansion.
Native Americans Nature and diversity of Native American society in the early 19th Century; Tecumseh’s Confederacy; First Seminole War and other ‘wars’; Jackson and the Indian Removal Act; Bureau of Indian Affairs; treaties and the ‘Indian Wars’ of 1860s/70s; resources, e.g. gold and actions of settlers, Dawes Act and Americanisation; reasons for destruction of Native American societies.
The growth of sectional
tension 1850–1861
Main differences between North and South by 1850 including the breakdown of the Missouri Compromise; sectionalism; the issues of slavery and westward expansion as they developed in the 1850s including 1850 Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska, Dred Scott, John Brown, Lincoln and the    Republican Party; election of 1860; secession and the failure of compromise; reasons for outbreak of hostilities.
The Civil War Leadership in the North and South during the Civil War; Lincoln and the Union, character, appointments, relations with ministers, organisation of war effort, Emancipation Proclamation, election of 1864; Davis and Confederacy, character, appointments, relations with ministers, states, organisation of war effort; reasons for Union victory including effectiveness of McClellan, Grant and Lee as military commanders; resources; morale; strategies; the significance of major campaigns and battles including Antietam, Shiloh,   Vicksburg, Gettysburg, the march through Georgia, Wilderness Campaign; naval blockade; international situation.


Barnes, The Historical Atlas of Native Americans, 2012, Chartwell Books Inc

Bedwell, Brink of Destruction, 2002 , Cumberland House

Beringer et al, Why the South lost the Civil War, 1991, University of Georgia Press

Brogan, The Penguin History of the USA, 2001, Penguin

Brown, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, 1973, Owl

Donald, Baker & Holt, The Civil War and Reconstruction, 2001, Norton

Farmer, America: Civil War and Westward Expansion 1803-1890, 2015, Hodder Education

Farmer, The Origins of the American Civil War, 1996,  Hodder & Stoughton

Farmer, The American Civil War, 2002, Hodder & Stoughton

Farmer, Reconstruction and the Results of the American Civil War, 1997, Hodder & Stoughton

Grant and Holden Reid, Themes of the American Civil War, 2009, Routledge

Holden Reid, Origins of the American Civil War, 1996, Longman

Harrold, American Abolitionists, 2001, Routledge

Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Slavery And the Civil War, 2011, Bedford

Katcher, The American Civil War Source Book, 1998,  Brockhampton

McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, 1990, Penguin

Mitchell, The American Civil War, 2008, Longman

Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War, 2008, Touchstone


Y306: Thematic Study: Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485–1603, Examination Module 40% of final mark

Key Topics Content
Learners study the following:
The main causes of rebellion and disorder Political factions; the succession; religion; taxation; famine; inflation; enclosures; social issues; mono and multi causal rebellions; causes of rebellion as reflected in the demands of the rebels and in their actions; the motives of the rebels; long and short-term causes of unrest; main and subsidiary causes of rebellions.
The frequency and nature of disturbances Location and regional variations including the importance of the peripheral regions and major towns and cities; objectives including the removal of the monarch, change to policies and removal of English rule from Ireland; size, frequency and duration of the rebellions; decline in support for rebellion; the support of the nobility, gentry, yeomen, clergy, commoners and foreign support for rebellions; leadership and the abilities of leaders; organisation; strategy and tactics of the rebels; differences between rebellions in England and Ireland; reasons for limited success and/or failure of rebellion.
The impact of the disturbances upon Tudor governments Their response to the threat of disorder at the time and subsequently, including initial responses, pre-emptive measures, pardons, the raising of troops, military confrontation trials and retribution (e.g. changes in government strategy, policies, legislation, propaganda); the extent to which rebellions presented a serious threat to the government; the impact of rebellion on government and society.
The maintenance of political stability The role of local and central authorities: the Crown, the Church, nobility, gentry, lieutenants, sheriffs, JPs, local officials; popular attitudes towards authority.
Depth Studies Content

Learners should be aware of debates surrounding the   issues outlined for each in depth topic

Pilgrimage of Grace Causes; regional variations including Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumberland; objectives; support; leadership including Aske, Hussey and Darcy; organisation; reasons for its limited success and/or failure; the government response to the threat of disorder at the time and subsequently; the threat posed by the rebellion to the government; the role of central and local authorities in dealing with the unrest.
The Western Rebellion Causes; regional variations between Devon and Cornwall; objectives; size; support; leadership, organisation; reasons for its limited success and/or failure; the government response to the threat of disorder at the time and subsequently; the threat posed by the rebellion to the government; the role of central and local authorities in dealing with the unrest.
Tyrone’s Rebellion Causes; objectives; size; support; leadership; organisation; reasons for its limited success and/or failure; the government response to the threat of disorder at the time and subsequently; the threat posed by the rebellion to the government; the role of central and local authorities in dealing with the unrest.


Anderson and Imperato, Introduction to Tudor England 1485-1603, 2001, Hodder Education

Dawson, The Tudor Century 1485-1603, 1993, Nelson Thornes

Elton, England Under the Tudors, (3rd Edition), 1991, Routledge

Fletcher and MacCulloch, Tudor Rebellions, (6th Edition), 2015, Routledge

Fletcher and Stevenson , Order and Disorder in Early Modern England, (Revised Edition), 2010, Cambridge University Press

Guy, Tudor England, (New Edition), 2000, Oxford University Press

Manning, Village Revolts: Social Protest and Popular Disturbances in England, 1509-1640, 1987, Clarendon Press

Mervyn, The Reign of Elizabeth: England 1558-1603, 2001, Hodder Education

Murphy et al, England 1485-1603, 1999, Collins Educational

Rogerson, Ellsmore and Hudson, The Early Tudors: England 1485-1558, 2001, Hodder Education

Slack, (ed.) Rebellion, Popular Protest and the Social Order in Early Modern England, 2009, Cambridge University Press

Stoyle, West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern State, 2002, University of Exeter Press

Wall, Power and Protest in England, 1525-1640, 2000, Bloomsbury Academic

Williams, The Tudor Regime, 1979, Oxford University Press

Williamson, The Tudor Age, 1979, Longman

Woodward and Fellows, Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485-1603, (2nd Edition), 2016, Hodder Education



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