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History & politics


The aim of the History & Politics Department is to ensure pupils develop an enquiring mind with an ability to discuss different views and opinions, often contrary to their own, before reaching their own conclusions. We hope that this will engender a real interest in and enthusiasm for these subjects.

The History & Politics Department is extremely well resourced with the subject libraries of Grosvenor and Abbotsbury being a real asset. The extensive collection of books, periodicals and magazines are available in subject rooms, classrooms and online.

Annabel Smith
Head of History & Politics


Pupils study history in their first year at Bryanston and continue their studies to IGCSE level with up to two thirds of each year group choosing to do so. In the Sixth Form pupils can study AS or A level history or as part of the IB Diploma Programme. Pupils can also study government and politics to AS and A level.

History GCSE

The course will furnish candidates with a detailed knowledge and appreciation of twentieth century history, in both world and British contexts. The ability to evaluate and assimilate information and to deploy it effectively on paper should also be significantly improved by the end of the two years.

History A level

A keen interest in the subject, a willingness to argue and analyse issues and an appetite for reading are the most important qualifications for this course. It requires a willingness to think about issues in an increasingly complex fashion, which builds up over the two years. The course aims to provide students with a greater understanding of modern European history, which links clearly to the areas studied so far for GCSE history, while also providing a contrast with the less commonly studied medieval period.

GCSE is not an obligation before starting this course, though clearly helpful. A level history combines well with languages, literature, social studies, business studies and art, and complements sciences well. Numerically it is one of the larger arts subjects at university and a very strong support for law, social studies, business and journalism.

History is a well regarded subject in career terms as a general qualification.

Government and politics A level

The three components provide a basis for the concepts of the course, with the subject matter concentrating on:

  • UK Politics
  • UK Government
  • Comparative Politics, covering the relationship between the UK government system and the American political system.

Throughout the course research and essay writing skills are developed.

An awareness of the significance of current affairs will be needed. A level government and politics combines with most subjects, but especially history, economics and geography.

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History & Politics in Detail