Subject: History
Syllabus Number: AQA 8145
Teacher who leads the subject: Mr J Barnett

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Why study History?

Sadly, the conflict in Ukraine means war in Europe, again. For many people, the horrific invasion of Ukraine came after years where other countries seemed to turn a blind eye to Putin’s aggression. They compared it to Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s. History helps you understand what people mean when they say such things, it helps you understand how History can tend to repeat itself, and how, tragically, we don’t always learn from past mistakes. That’s why History matters, why it’s important, maybe more so now than ever.

Recent events show us how rapidly the world can change. Many of these changes have their roots in the huge upheavals of the twentieth century. As well as this, it’s important that we can see broad sweeps of history, and understand some pivotal moments in our own nation’s development. By the end of the GCSE course you will have a good understanding of how we make sense of the past. The course develops skills such as the analysis and use of source material, the ability to select relevant information and use it effectively, and the ability to frame an effective argument. You will develop the all-important skill of being focused in answers, so don’t be put off by thinking that it’s all about loads of writing – it isn’t!

You will come across a variety of teaching and learning styles. You will debate. You will make notes. You will think deeply through issues. Your book will contain work presented in a variety of ways. You’ll do plenty of practice questions as we go, so that you are ready for the exams when they come! We always aim to run an overseas trip as part of the course.

Students who study History find it very helpful in any career where there is the need to communicate clearly, put forward an argument, or understand the world we live in. For example, careers in law, or journalism. But it is also useful for careers in the Sciences, where concise, clear reports are needed. History is a widely respected qualification. By taking it you are sending out a strong message about your ability, and your interest in the world around you.

Outline of syllabus content:

Our GCSE History course examines some of the significant events in modern history and attempts to explain how and why they took place, as well as their impact. It also looks at a topic across a broad period, and a pivotal period in British history

We investigate Germany from 1890 to 1945. This was a period of massive change, turbulence and chaos. It was a period when democracy appeared, and collapsed, ushering in the dark days of Nazism. We study Nazi Germany up to its downfall in 1945, but also, crucially, the period before the Nazis came to lead Germany. What on earth happened that meant that Hitler could come to power?

We also investigate the World between the World Wars. We look at how peace deals at the end of World War One helped cause World War Two. We look at attempts to keep the peace, and look at the causes of World War Two. Understanding this period helps us understand some of the issues facing the World today.

We look at an aspect of British history over the last 1000 years – to develop understanding of an issue over time. The issue we will investigate is changes in the nation’s health, from the Black Death up to the modern era of transplants and antibiotics. This is a fascinating (and sometimes slightly gruesome!) delve into our nation’s social history.

We also study the pivotal phase of our nation’s history that was the Norman Conquest – looking at the landmark event that was the Battle of Hastings, but also ‘what happened next’.

If you want to understand how our World has developed, and where it might be going, then GCSE History is the course for you!


You will do two exams, both at the end of Year 11 and worth 100% of the final grade. Both exams are 2 hours long. Paper 1 focuses on ‘World History’. Paper 2 focuses on British history. Both exams test a variety of historical skills, including the ability to analyse sources, and to develop, and sustain, an argument.

Additional information is available on the Curriculum Overview section of the website - click here