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Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls is a highly successful school, judged by Ofsted in November 2017 as ‘Good’ in all categories.

History A Level KS5

What will students be studying in History this year?

Sixth Form historians study three discrete units of work concurrently.  Unit 1 focuses on the Early Tudors, England 1485-1547, while Unit 2 focuses on Russia, 1894-1941.  Unit 3 is a thematic study which focuses on Civil Rights in the USA, 1865-1992.

In their study of England 1485-1547, students will begin by investigating the government and foreign policy of Henry VII.  They will then go on to study the reign of Henry VIII and the role of Wolsey.  Students will also consider the process of religious change and opposition after 1529.  As part of this unit of work, students will also complete a depth enquiry of a mid-Tudor crisis between 1547-1558, focusing on the stability of the monarchy, religious change or rebellion and unrest.

In their study of Russia, 1894-1941, students will study the 1905, February 1917 and October 1917 revolutions, which includes the fall of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia and the creation of the world’s first communist state.  This is then followed by a study of Stalin’s rise to power and the impact of his policies on the Russian people.  The focus of this unit is on the issue of significance and students will be required to evaluate the significance of key people, including Rasputin, Lenin and Trotsky, and events, such as the First World War and the introduction of the NEP.

Finally, in their study of Civil Rights in the USA, 1865-1992, students will study four key American civil rights movements: African Americans, Native American Indians, the Trade Union movement and the Women’s Rights movement.  As part of their study, they will investigate a range of interpretations on the degree of progress made during 1875-1895, the impact of the New Deal and the impact of Malcolm X and the Black Power movement.

During Year 13, students will also complete a further unit of work called a topic-based essay.  This is a piece of coursework which is based on one of their other units of study.  As part of the process of producing this, students will receive mentoring and guidance from one of their A-Level History teachers. 

Students in Year 12 and Year 13 have nine History lessons per fortnight and this time is divided equally among their three units of study.  They continue to follow an enquiry-based approach.  This means that learning is organised through rigorous and engaging investigative enquiries, such as ‘Why did the Provisional Government fail?’  Based around historical concepts of cause and consequence, interpretations, evidence, significance and change, these enquiries are tailored towards the required content set out in the exam specification and mirror the approach which is so central to the historian’s craft and support the development of students’ skills of historical reasoning.

What are the major assessments this year?

In addition to their end of year exam, students will be set exam-style questions in their three units of work.  For Year 13, the topic-based essay will form a considerable element of their final assessment, accounting for 20% of their overall grade.

What do the assessments test?

Assessments target three Assessment Objectives set out in the exam board specification.  These are as follows: Using knowledge and understanding to analyse causation, consequence, change, continuity, similarity and difference (AO1), analysing and evaluating sources (AO2) and analysing and evaluating interpretations (AO3).   Through these assessment objectives, students’ factual knowledge is measured, alongside the development of their skills of historical reasoning. 

What are the expectations of my child in History?

Students will be set homework regularly which they are expected to complete to the best of their ability.  Frequently homework tasks will take the form of exam-style questions which students are required to complete in order to develop their written technique.  Alongside this, students are expected to use their independent study periods to carry out extensive reading and research using their accompanying textbooks and other materials. 

What should students do if they feel they are struggling in History?

The first course of action is for students to speak with their History teacher first in order to explain what aspects of the topic or task are particularly challenging.  The support offered may differ depending on the nature of the challenge in question.  If necessary, it may lead to additional adjustments which can be made in order to support her learning.

How can I best support my child in History?

The best way for parents to support students in History is to talk to them about the topics they are studying and what they are learning in class.  Parents can ask students about how independent study time is being used and, if necessary, help them to plan the use of their time accordingly.  Parents should encourage students to read widely and to complete homework and independent study in a quiet area of the home without distractions from siblings, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices. 

Whom should I contact for further advice or information?

Please feel free to contact your child’s History teacher by email, or the Head of History, Mr Godman at sgodman@carshaltongirls.org.uk if you have any questions about your child’s progress in the subject.