Hitler and the Henrys still dominate A-level history

13th August 2014 at 10:02

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)

Related links: 


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now