Sixth-formers will study the history of the Middle East from 1908 to 2011 as part of a new history A-level.

Past notes: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) meets with his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon in 2004.

Past notes: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) meets with his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon in 2004.

The topics are included in a new course drawn up by the OCR exam board, which said it was an attempt to broaden the options available to students taking A-level history.

It comes amid concerns that in the past, history qualifications have focused too much on “Hitler and the Henry’s”.

OCR said that it was adding 10 new topics to its draft A-level history course.

These include Alfred and the Making of England 871-1016; The Early Anglo-Saxons c 400-800; Genghis Khan and the Explosion from the Steppes c1167-1405; Japan 1853-1937; African Kingdoms c 1400-c 1800; The Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire in India 1526-1739; The Rise of Islam c 550-750; The Ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire 1453-1606; China and its rulers 1839-1989, and The Middle East 1908-2011, Ottomans to Arab Spring.

The new qualification, which has to be approved by exams regulator Ofqual, is set to be introduced to schools in England in September next year as part of a Government overhaul designed to toughen up exams.

OCR said that the new course will help to better prepare youngsters to study history at university.

Mike Goddard, OCR’s head of history, said: “School history has been criticised, sometimes unfairly, for being too repetitive and for having a 20th century, Western focus.

“Hitler and the Henrys can dominate. Universities tell us they want incoming students to have greater breadth of knowledge. It’s vital that schools and colleges have an opportunity to deliver, for example, the history of pre-colonial, non-western civilisations, alongside British history.”