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Hitler and the Henrys still dominate A-level history

Hitler and the Tudors are still among the most popular choices for A-level history courses, a new study has revealed. 

The report, from the Cambridge Assessment exam group, comes just a day before A-level results are published and shows that modern historical courses are being favoured by schools over medieval and early modern history. The notable exception was the ‘mid-Tudor Crises’, which has remained popular year-on-year.

The Russian dictatorship (1855-1992) was the most popular topic offered to pupils last year, according to the study. This was followed by civil rights in the United States (1865-1992) and dictatorship and democracy and Germany (1933-1963).

The top British topic was the mid-Tudor crises (1526-1569) in fourth place, followed by Churchill (1920-1945) in fifth.

In May, exam board OCR published details of its proposed new A-level history course, which includes topics on the life of figures such as Alfred the Great and Genghis Khan, as well as pre-colonial African kingdoms and the rise of Islam.

The exam board has said that the new qualification is an attempt to broaden the options available to students taking A-level history and will help to better prepare young people to study the subject at university.

Mike Goddard, OCR' s head of history, said: "It's sometimes said that Hitler and the Henrys can dominate school history. That is why here at OCR we are giving schools the opportunity to embrace a broader focus – with the extra help and support to do so."

The report also showed that private schools were 6.9 per cent less likely to offer modern courses, and the highest-performing schools from the state sector also tended to favour earlier modules.

The top 10 OCR A-level history topic choices offered by schools and colleges in 2013:

1. Russian Dictatorship (1855-1992)

2. Civil Rights in the USA (1865-1992)

3. Dictatorship & Democracy in Germany (1933-1963) 

4. Mid-Tudor Crises (1536-1569) 

5. Churchill (1920-1945)

6. Rebellion & Disorder Under the Tudors (1485-1603)

7. Henry VIII to Mary I (1509-1558)

8. Democracy & Dictatorship in Germany (1919-1963)

9. The Origins & Causes of the French Revolution (1774-1795)

10. From Pitt to Peel (1783-1846)

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