My name is Claire Holliss and I’m the Head of History at Reigate College. I’m looking forward to welcoming you to our vibrant History Department in person at the beginning of the academic year and getting you started on one of our History programmes.
As you know, we run two A Level History courses at Reigate (Early Modern and Modern). I’m going to be setting a series of activities for you to complete over the coming months which I hope will give you an introduction to the course topics; simply choose the tasks that relate to the History option you’ve chosen.
Many of you will have studied History at GCSE, but the A Level programme requires you to develop advanced skills to enable you to read, summarise and analyse information and draw your own conclusions. I hope you will enjoy the activities we’ve set, and I looking forward to discussing your findings when we meet in September.
All the tasks should be completed by Choices Day on 25 August.
The activities will be released here in three phases:
Explore your Subject – 4 May
It is really important that you understand the difference between GCSE History and A Level, where you will be required to read and write far more extensively than you have done before. The volume and complexity of the work will be challenging to all. It is important that you get into the habit of reading in more depth than you will have been used to on the GCSE course in order to be successful at A Level. The following activities will give you a good indication of the demands of the work.
Please complete the tasks for EITHER Modern History A Level OR Early Modern History A Level.
Modern History A Level
The British Empire
The first activity to help you prepare for the start of your Modern History A Level course is based on the British Empire in India.
You should complete this section of tasks by 1 June.
Get Going – 1 June
Modern History A Level
As you explore the Modern History A
Level course and the topic of Empire, you will discover that the legacy of the
British Empire is still very present in Britain today. One of the clearest
examples of this is in objects and places; some which were constructed to
promote the empire, used to support it, or in the case of many objects linked
to the empire in British museums, seized from colonised countries and peoples
and brought back to Britain.
should complete this section of tasks by 1 July.
least two of the places or objects highlighted below. Use the resources indicated to explore the
key questions raised about empire and take brief notes on your findings.
London: The Crystal
Pavilion in WWI
India: The Koh-i-Noor
1. How did the Koh-i-Noor diamond come
2. What does this story tell you about
the relationship between India and the British Empire?
3. What are the arguments for and
against the return of the diamond?
Thomas Cromwell is widely regarded as perhaps the
outstanding servant of the crown in the 16th century. Not only did
he manage the most difficult of men for a decade (i.e. Henry VIII), but he also
presided over and helped organise an enormous series of changes of fundamental
importance to the development of England. Cromwell left his mark in a number of
He shaped the development not only of the
entire system of government, but also the way in which England was
administered, worshipped, paid its taxes and was counted.
He transformed the role of Parliament,
made Wales conform more to English ways and laws, broke down the traditional
independence of the North of England and started to look at ways in which trade
could be developed.
He also went a long way towards making
the crown financially independent from Parliament.
Cromwell was perhaps the only person the King regretted
disposing of (he was executed on trumped up charges of treason by his enemies
in 1540). Coming from a poor and comparatively low-class background, this was a
Cromwell rose to prominence through a mix of ability, hard
work, skill at collecting offices and making himself indispensable. He also had
the ability to implement his master’s will effectively. He proved able to tie
up the many loose ends left by Henry VIII’s divorce and its implications.
Little is known about Cromwell’s early career, beyond the
facts that he had some training as a lawyer, travelled widely and sat in the
Parliament of 1523. He was a key aide to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey although he
managed to distance himself sufficiently when his master fell, although he
showed loyalty towards Wolsey when others had fled. By 1530 he was a member of
the Privy Council and over the next two years rose from being just another
royal servant to being a key minister. He made enemies of those who felt they
were better suited to the task, such as Stephen Gardiner and Thomas Howard, who
were to play a key role in his fall in 1540.
You should complete this section of tasks by 1 July.
1. Research Activity
Using the following website, create a detailed timeline of Cromwell’s life. Highlight key events and characters (such as Anne Boleyn who you will learn about in the Tudor course).
Was there a ‘revolution in government’ in England as a result of the work
of Cromwell? Read the History interpretation case study and answer the following
two questions using examples from the article:
How was Cromwell able to bring about so many changes?
Does the work of Thomas Cromwell in the 1530s merit the definition of ‘a revolution in government’?
Thomas Cromwell’s older sister Katharine had a son named Richard, who later served in Thomas’s household and changed his surname to Cromwell.
Find out who Richard’s great-grandson was, and the impact he made on Britain.
Aim High – 1 July
From 1 July
Once you’ve taken part in the College’s first ever Virtual Introductory Day on 30 June, you will be asked to complete a more formal Aim High task (posted here) that it is mandatory for all new students to complete before Choices Day on 25 August.