History - our new specifications transcript


Our new specifications

Michael Charman, Qualifications Manager, History

History's changing. And just as each generation looks at the past afresh, the way history is taught and assessed also develops. The essentials though don't change. History is still the exciting and insightful discipline that inspired me as a teenager and which I'm sure continues to enthuse you and your students now.

Our new A-level History specification has been designed to help you engage your students. It helps them understand the value and significance of events in the past and to gain a deeper understanding of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Working with both teachers and higher education, we have developed a specification that covers British, European and non-European history.  There are a wide variety of topics to choose from so you can follow your strengths and interests as a teacher, something, I'm sure, that will make teaching this A-level an enjoyable experience.

We've retained the flexibility of our previous specification to allow you to construct chronologically coherent courses, so you can offer medieval ,early modern, or modern roots. Alternatively, you can select from different periods if you want a broader, more thematic approach; it's up to you.

Our new specification is clear and easy to follow, helping you to design a great learning experience for your students. There are three building blocks: a breadth unit, a depth unit and a personal study. Subject only to meeting the requirements laid down by the Government, you can choose what you want to teach.

Many of the rules will already be familiar to you. For example, students have to study more than one country and at A-level there's a requirement to study at least 20 percent British history. However, there are some new rules. In addition to linear assessment, the biggest shift is the requirement for A-level History to cover a span of at least 200 years. Our specification is designed to meet all of these requirements whilst being as flexible as possible for you.

The personal study is a coursework task that encourages personal insight and exploration, helping students to develop core skills that will allow them to excel at A-level and beyond. You'll have access to a coursework guide which will support you, giving clear guidance on the requirements as well as extensive examples. For our exam in breadth and depth papers we've listened to feedback from teachers and made sure that we've chosen popular topics so the specification is full of things you enjoy teaching and that, crucially, your students will get the most out of. Alongside our established topics there are one or two new options that we've introduced including the history of the British Empire and the making of modern Russia.

At AQA, our team is made up of subject experts across all fields and with 30 topics to cover it's important we have the right people who understand these areas in depth. This has helped us to develop a truly great specification. And the same experts who have worked on this have also created detailed and thorough resource materials to help you through these new topics. Not only that, we've also signposted to a bank of third-party source materials to make it as easy as possible for you to adapt to our new specification.

Why not take a look and if you have any questions then get in touch with me and the team. We're confident you'll like our new specification and we look forward to supporting you in the future.

We've created our new specifications with you in mind.

To find out more visit aqa.org.uk/history