Faculty: Humanities
Subject: GCSE History
Subject Leader: Mrs K Stocks, Head of History
Staff and Responsibility: Mr A Coyle, Ms G Baker, Miss E Phipps

Subject Overview

The History Department aims to develop a lifelong interest in the study of History in all students. Through this study the students will acquire the skills and perspectives that will enable them to lead successful and enriching lives. The content of all of our courses allows the students to make sense of current affairs by relating to the past and to develop a moral perspective, a sense of empathy and a tolerance of a range of opinions. Our teaching introduces all of our students to the distinctive methodology of the historian, in particular varied and exciting enquiries based on evidence with a focus on enriching other areas of the curriculum at the same time.

Course Content

History students in Year 10 and 11 will study Edexcel GCSE History and have the opportunity to study a wide variety of History. The exam is linear, and students sit three papers at the end of their course –

  • Paper 1 – Thematic Study and the historic environment
    1 hour and 15 minutes (30%)
  • Paper 2 – Period Study and the British Depth Study
    1 hour and 45 minutes (40%)
  • Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study
    1 hour and 20 minutes (30%)

Details of each section of the course are outlined below:

Paper 1 – Thematic Study and the Historic Environment (30%)
Thematic Study: Crime and Punishment in Britain c.1000 to present
This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how crime and punishment developed in Britain over a long period of time. It considers the causes, scale, nature and consequences of short and long term developments, their impact on British society and how they were related to the key features and characteristics of the periods during which they took place. Students will study crime and punishment all the way from the Norman Conquest, to trial by ordeal in Medieval England, punishment for witches in the 16th Century, to the modern debate of the death penalty.
Historic Environment: Whitechapel c1870 – 1900 Crime, policing and the inner city
Within the thematic study, students will study the poor living and working conditions of the Whitechapel area of East London, and how they impacted upon the Metropolitan Police’s attempts to catch Jack the Ripper.
Paper 2 – Period Study and British Depth Study (40%) 
British Depth Study – Elizabethan England c. 1558 – 1588
This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last early years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies. Students will consider such historical debates as “Should Elizabeth have executed Mary Queen of Scots?” and “Why did the numerous plots and revolts against Elizabeth fail?”
Period Study – Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941 – 1991
This unit covers a broad time period, and a more modern one. Learning about the Cold War gives students insight into modern politics, and World affairs. While predominately focused on the relationship between the USA and the USSR, students will also look at the Hungarian Revolution, the Marshall Plan, and more well-known events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study (30%) 
Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 – 1939
Mainly focussed on how Adolf Hitler legally created a Dictatorship in Germany, the unit starts with a study of the Weimar Republic, and ultimately why it failed and ended with Hitler in power. Finally, students will investigate key political moments in Hitler’s Government from the Night of the Long Knives to the Final Solution.


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