At Oakes we are following the new AQA “A” level specifications 7042. Key parts of this course are outlined below. Students will sit two exams in the summer term at the end of their A2 course, and by Easter of Year 13 they will have submitted “coursework” worth 20%.

The course is split in to three:

a) A Breadth Study: England 1485- 1603. In the first year of A-level we study England 1485-1547 – the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII.

b) A Depth Study: Russia 1917-1953. In the first year of A-level we study Russia 1917-1929 – the collapse of the Tsarist regime, Revolutions, the Bolshevik consolidation of power and Stalin’s rise.

c) A Historical Investigation:  This is the name of the coursework component. It is a piece of individual work based on the topic “the struggle for Black Civil Rights 1865-1968”. Background lessons are taught on this in the summer term of Year 12 by both teachers.

This course
: The exam papers on Tudor England and Russia will both contain one compulsory document question and one essay question out of a choice of three. (In the document question there will be three written documents (approx. 6-8 lines each) that you have to assess). The skills needed to answer both the document and essay questions are those you learnt at GCSE but now you have to take them to a higher level. Your knowledge needs to be deeper and source analysis more sophisticated; we will be helping you develop these skills throughout the A-level course.

To succeed at A-level you need to:

  • Be organised with your work and keep your file of notes up to date.

  • Be positive in class and contribute in discussions/group work.

  • Be prepared to learn knew things and develop your skills.

  • Be willing to work hard to master the skills of A-level History.

Henry VII and Henry VIII (1485-1547)

Key Issues

  • How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy?

  • In what ways and how effectively was England governed during this period?

  • How did relations with foreign powers change and how was the succession secured?

  • How did English society and economy change and with what effects?

  • How far did intellectual and religious ideas change and develop and what were the roles of key individuals in this change?

Russia 1917-29

  • This option studies the collapse of Tsarist Russia and the establishment of communism.

  • It explores concepts such as Marxism, communism, Leninism, and Stalinism, ideological control and dictatorship.

  • It considers issues of political authority, the power of individuals and the inter-relationship of governmental and economic and social change.

This topic is usually new to all students as it is not studied at GCSE. To prepare for the Autumn term it would be helpful for you to look at the following:  

  • Michael Tillbrook “The Tudors : England 1485-1603” AQA textbook published by OUP

  • David Rogerson – The Early Tudors SHP text book.  Available and very good for A-level students, but do not buy it, as it is not the AQA text book for the course.

  • John Guy “Tudor England” detailed book covering all Tudor Monarchs.

  • Richard Holmes War Walks – Bosworth 1485 (on YouTube) “Henry VIII and his six wives”. DVD starring Keith Michell. (some inaccuracies but gives a sense of the period and importance of a male heir)

Novels like Philippa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and “The Red Queen” give some useful background on the Wars of the Roses.  Also the murder mysteries by C J Sansom “Dissolution” and “Sovereign” help give an understanding of the world of the Reformation.

Some students will have background knowledge of this topic and others will not. It would be useful for all students to look at:

  • Chris Rowe and Sally Waller  “Revolution and Dictatorship: Russia 1917-53 –AQA Text book published by OUP

  • Chris Corin – Russia under Tsarism and Communism 1881-1953 SHP text book . Good for A-level students (borrow do not buy)

  • Richard Pipes “Russia under the Old Regime”

  • Robert Service “Lenin, a Biography”

  • The film Nicholas and Alexandra – excellent background on the fall of Nicholas II

  • The film Dr Zhivago– either the Julie Christie or Keira Knightly versions, both very good in giving a sense of the huge changes happening in Russia 1917-21

For September 2020 you should:

  • Draw/print out a family tree showing the Yorkist and Lancastrian Kings of the 15th Century.  Make sure you are confident about the terms Yorkist and Lancastrian.
  • Write a brief summary of the reign of Richard III 1483-1485.  What were the weaknesses of his reign?  What is the popular tale told about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower?
  • Write a brief (500-600 word) biography on the early life of Henry Tudor up to his return to Wales in 1485.  Include early life, parents, life in France.

For September 2020 you should:

  • Produce a family tree for Nicholas II showing his connection back to Tsar Nicholas I, and all of Nicholas II’s children.  Be clear of the family name – Romanov.  Indicate on your diagram that Nicholas’ wife Alexandra was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and a carrier of haemophilia.
  • A brief description of Russia in the reign of Nicholas II.  What were its strengths and weaknesses?  What was the size of the Russian Empire?  How was Nicholas regarded as Tsar?
  • Produce a short 500-600 word biography of the early life of Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov(Lenin) – include when/where born, early life, family, education, why he got involved in politics.