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Overview Studies and the curriculum

Each overview contains background information and sources to evelop a view across time periods or themes. When you select a study you are presented with the sources, along with important details relating to the context and origin of each specific document. Each source is also supported by a small number of discussion questions. These questions are not meant as formal pieces of work but generally have one or two functions:

  • To flag up important pieces of content in the source and act as a signpost to guide students towards them
  • To provoke discussion on the meaning of particular elements of each source and how they might be interpreted by historians

The information sections listed below provide the wider context of the topic that relates to each source.

The trade union movement 1916-1976

  • 1920s Industrial relations
  • The National Government of 1931
  • 1930s Depression and unemployment
  • 1950-1964 Trade unions and the post-war consensus
  • 1960s and 1970s Radicalisation

Synoptic question: Did trade unions matter in the 20th century?

The Welfare State 1942-1976

  • Origins of the Welfare State
  • 1951-1964 Conservative management
  • 1964-1970 The Welfare State under Labour

Synoptic question: Were expectations of the Welfare State unrealistic?

The topics have been selected because they fit into a number of the units that current A level specifications offer. Decide how they best support the particular combinations of modules, content and approaches you have planned to use. They may also be useful to place work in a broader context as part of the teaching programme available for the 'in depth' study packages (see related guides).

AS specifications


HIS1L Britain, 1906-1951
HIS2R A Sixties Social Revolution? British Society, 1959-1975


8GP01 Government and Politics
6HI01 Historical Themes in Breadth
6HI02 British History Depth Studies


Unit F961 Option B: Modern 1783-1994
Unit F963 Option B: Modern 1815-1945
Unit F981 Historical Explanation - British History
Unit F983: Using Historical Evidence - British History

A2 specifications


HIS3J The State and People: Britain, 1918-1964
HIS3M The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007


9GP01 Government and Politics


Unit F965: Historical Interpretations and Research Projects
Unit F966 Option B: Modern 1789-1997
Unit F985: Historical Controversies - British History