Link to OFSTED Report
History GCSE
Specification: Edexcel

What does GCSE History involve?
GCSE History involves studying a range of different historical periods. It stimulates the mind and a passion for the past through studying key historical events and debates. Our specification allows the opportunity to study modern history through looking at Nazi Germany and the Cold war. It also allows the study of aspects of British History by looking at Elizabethan England, the First World War and the development of Medicine and Health Care since the Middle Ages. The course combines international and political History with social History and the History of Science. It is not necessary to have studied these periods before. All those that study History learn the necessary knowledge and key historical skills during the course.

We use a variety of text, audio-visual and electronic resources to develop key historical skills. There is an emphasis on understanding the actions of individuals and analysing areas of historical debate and controversy.

What do we study in this subject?

  • Medicine in Britain, c1250 to present, involves a study of the key factors influencing change in medical science. Topics include; Religion and the Black Death, William Harvey and the circulation of blood, Florence Nightingale and nursing, Surgery in the 18th century, Cholera in the 19th century, and Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin.
  • Early Elizabethan England involves the study of the Virgin Queen, Mary Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada, Francis Drake and ordinary life in the sixteenth century.
  • We also study the British sector of the Western Front focussing on the injuries of soldiers and their treatment as well as life in the trenches
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, involves the study of Hitler’s rise to power and the nature of life in Nazi Germany.
  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, involves an overview of the key events in the rivalry between Russia and America that often came close to the outbreak of World War Three. We study the nuclear arms race, Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missiles Crisis and look at key figures such as Stalin, Truman, Kennedy, Khrushchev, Reagan and Gorbachev.

How is the subject examined?
We study the Edexcel specification for History. There are three examination papers, each one includes a mixture of shorter questions, paragraphs and more extended essay-style questions

Paper 1 – British Thematic Study with Historic Environment (1 hour 15 minutes)
Section A: Historic environment (10%). Shorter source-based questions on the Western Front
Section B: Thematic study (20%). Questions on changes in medicine and health care

Paper 2 – Period Study and British Depth Study 1 hour 45 minutes)
Section A: Period Study (20%). Questions on the key events of the Cold War
Section B: British Depth Study (20%). Questions on causes of changes in Elizabethan England

Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study (1 hour 20 minutes)
(30%) Questions on sources (that are provided) and views of Hitler’s Germany

How will this qualification further my education and development?
Many of our students go on to study History or Politics at A level. GCSE provides a firm grounding in the skills necessary for more advanced study; it teaches skills of research, analysis, debate and exposition that are highly valued by employers. These skills help in a variety of professional careers such as law, management, education and journalism.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus