The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.

Mao Zedong

Why does the Russian government fear an independent Ukraine? Does China have the right to challenge the United States for global dominance? Why does the West feel such a strong affinity with Israel? 

A Level History at The Purbeck School is an ambitious pursuit to understand the world around us by addressing the most pressing issues of our time. Our students do not simply learn about the past; they encounter flawed individuals, complex societies, and momentous events.

Our ambitious A Level curriculum aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to not only develop an intricate understanding of today’s biggest global challenges, but to take this understanding forward into their further studies and careers. 


In Year 12, students study the contrasting communist states in Russia and China, including a depth study on the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberal revolutions in eastern Europe. This will lead to deep, reflective analyses on why there is war in Ukraine today and to what extent a conflict over Taiwan could be the turning point of the 21st century.

In Year 13, students are challenged to consider Britain’s role in the making of the modern world by writing an extended research essay on the consequences of colonialism in the Middle East and the origins of the State of Israel.

Simultaneously, students will be developing a deep knowledge of how the Tudor dynasty created England’s first centralised state amongst the fire and fury of rebellion and Reformation, shaping British politics and Western society even in the 21st century.


We follow the Edexcel GCE History specification, Route E (1E and 2E) with Option 31:

  • Unit 1 – Russia, 1917-91: from Lenin to Yeltsin.
  • Unit 2 – Mao’s China, 1949-76.
  • Unit 3 – Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485-1603.
  • Unit 4 – Coursework: ‘Historians have disagreed over the extent to which Israel was formed over Zionism’ How far do you agree?


If you want to understand how History shaped the world today, The Purbeck School is the place to do it.

Where the course leads

A Level History is highly valued by universities and employers as being a rigorous academic course. Success in A Level History can take you into a variety of careers, from law and the civil service to marketing and international finance; holders of A Level History qualifications can be found in every sector in every part of the world. 

Entry requirements   

Grade 6 at GCSE History and Grade 5 at GCSE English. 

Latest News

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History Trip to Dorset Castles!

History students from Years 7 and 8 braved heatwaves and also a little rain, on a day trip to visit and study fortified sites around Dorset. Students explored three extraordinary sites around the area… Corfe Castle – this magnificent Medieval ruin needs no introduction, and never disappoints! Maiden Castle – located near Dorchester, is the largest Iron Age hillfort in Britain… students moaned a bit(!) as they staggered up the

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Year 9 History trip to London

39 Year 9 History students visited London for the day, leaving school at 7 am and not getting back until 9.30 pm! Their busy schedule on this long day took them to the Imperial War Museum and also the amazing HMS Belfast, moored on the Thames. In between these sites, they saw London from the River Thames via a riverboat journey and they explored the capital on foot, seeing iconic

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A Level History news!

The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) recently received a range of new academic books which will directly support A Level History students in their studies. The books were funded by a generous grant from the estate of the late Andy Speake, formerly a History teacher and Deputy Headteacher at The Purbeck School. The History Department would like to extend grateful thanks to Andy and his family, to Mrs Alford who tracked

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