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A High Performing Specialist Academy for Technology & Applied Learning

Key Stage 4

 A new course offering excellent resources and teaching: Welcome to History @ GCSE.


AQA GCSE History Assessment Method % of Specification Length and Marks

Paper 1 Section A Period studies
Paper 1 Section B Wider World Depth Studies

Exam 50% 1 hour 45 mins - 84 marks
Paper 2 Section A Thematic Studies
Paper 2 Section B British Depth Studies
Exam 50% 1 hour 45 mins - 84 marks

Content Coverage/Key Questions

1B Germany, 1890-1945

This period study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change.  It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism.

Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in influencing change.  They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Part One: Germany and the Growth of Democracy

  • Kaiser Wilhelm and the difficulties of ruling Germany: the growth of parliamentary government; the influence of Prussian militarism; industrialisation; social reform and the growth of socialism; the domestic importance of the Navy Laws.
  • Impact of the First World War: war weariness, economic problems; defeat; the end of the monarchy; post-war problems including reparations, the occupation of the Ruhr and hyperinflation.
  • Weimar democracy: political change and unrest, 1919–1923, including Spartacists, Kapp Putsch and the Munich Putsch; the extent of recovery during the Stresemann era (1924–1929): economic developments including the new currency, Dawes Plan and the Young Plan; the impact of international agreements on recovery; Weimar culture.

Part Two: Germany and the Depression

  • The impact of the Depression: growth in support for the Nazis and other extremist parties (1928–1932), including the role of the SA; Hitler’s appeal.
  • The failure of Weimar democracy: election results; the role of Papen and Hindenburg and Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor.
  • The establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship: the Reichstag Fire; the Enabling Act; elimination of political opposition; trade unions; Rohm and the Night of the Long Knives; Hitler becomes Führer.

Part Three: The experiences of Germans under the Nazis

  • Economic changes: benefits and drawbacks; employment; public works programmes; rearmament; self-sufficiency; the impact of war on the economy and the German people, including bombing, rationing, labour shortages, refugees.
  • Social policy and practice: reasons for policies, practices and their impact on women, young people and youth groups; education; control of churches and religion; Aryan ideas, racial policy and persecution; the Final Solution.
  • Control: Goebbels, the use of propaganda and censorship; Nazi culture; repression and the police state and the roles of Himmler, the SS and Gestapo; opposition and resistance, including White Rose group, Swing Youth, Edelweiss Pirates and July 1944 bomb plot.

Conflict and Tension, 1894 – 1918

This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of the Great Powers and other states.  It focuses on the causes, nature and conclusion of the First World War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred, and why it proved difficult to bring the war to a conclusion.  This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Part One: The Causes of the First World War

  • The Alliance System: the Triple Alliance; Franco-Russian Alliance; relations between the ‘Entente’ powers; the crises in Morocco (1905 and 1911) and the Balkans (1908–1909), and their effects on international relations.
  • Anglo-German rivalry: Britain and challenges to Splendid Isolation; Kaiser Wilhelm’s aims in foreign policy, including Weltpolitik; colonial tensions; European rearmament, including the Anglo-German naval race.
  • Outbreak of war: Slav nationalism and relations between Serbia and Austria-Hungary; the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo and its consequences; the July Crisis; the Schlieffen Plan and Belgium; reasons for the outbreak of hostilities and the escalation of the conflict.

Part Two: The First World War: Stalemate

  • The Schlieffen Plan: the reasons for the plan, its failure, including the Battle of Marne and its contribution to the stalemate.
  • The Western Front: military tactics and technology, including trench warfare; the war of attrition; key battles, including Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele, the reasons for, the events and significance of these battles.
  • The wider war: the war on other fronts; Gallipoli and its failure; the events and significance of the war at sea, including Jutland, the U-Boat campaign and convoys.

Part Three: Ending the War

  • Changes in the Allied Forces: consequences of the Bolshevik Revolution and the withdrawal of Russia on Germany strategy; the reasons for and impact of the entry of the USA into the war.
  • Military developments in 1918 and their contribution to Germany’s defeat: the evolution of tactics and technology; Ludendorff the German Spring Offensive; the Allied advance during The Hundred Days.
  • Germany surrenders: impact of the blockade; abdication of the Kaiser; armistice; the contribution of Haig and Foch to Germany’s defeat.

2A Britain: Power and the People: c1170 to the present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of the development of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Britain over a long period of time.  It considers the causes, scale, nature and consequences of protest to that relationship.  By charting the journey from feudalism and serfdom to democracy and equality, it reveals how, in different periods, the state responds to challenges to its authority and their impact.  It allows students to construct an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.

Students will have the opportunity to see how ideas, events or developments in the wider world affected the course of Britain's political development and will promote the idea that ideas of authority, challenge and rights did not develop in isolation, but these developments should be seen in terms of how they affected Britain and British people.

Students will study the importance of the following factors:

  • War
  • Religion
  • Chance
  • Government
  • Communication
  • The Economy
  • Ideas such as equality, democracy, representation
  • The role of the individual in encouraging or inhibiting change.

Students will study how factors worked together to bring about particular developments at a particular time and their impact upon society.

Students will develop an understanding of the varying rate of change, why change happened when it did, whether change brought progress, and the significance of the change(s).  They should also be able to distinguish between different types of causes and consequences, e.g. short/long-term causes, intended/unintended consequences.

This option focuses on the following questions:

  • Why have people’s rights and their relationship with the state changed?
  • How have people challenged authority and how have governments responded to those challenges?
  • How has Parliament and parliamentary democracy evolved?
  • What impact have changes in political status had on people's lives?
  • What is the significance of key individuals and events in the changing relationship between the individual and the state?

Part One: Challenging Authority and Feudalism

  • Constraints on kingship: the barons’ dissatisfaction with King John’s rule and its resolution; Magna Carta, its terms and its short and long-term impact.
  • The origins of parliament: issues between King Henry III and his barons; the role of Simon de Montfort; the Provisions of Oxford and the Parliament of 1265 and their short and long-term impact.
  • Medieval revolt and royal authority: the social, economic and political causes of the Peasants Revolt; actions by rebels and government; impact of the Peasants' Revolt.

Part Two: Challenging Royal Authority

  • Popular uprisings against the Crown: the social, economic, religious and political causes of the Pilgrimage of Grace; the implications for royal authority; Henry VIII and his government’s reaction and the impact of the uprising.
  • Divine Right and parliamentary authority: the causes of the English Revolution; the New Model Army and the development of political radicalism during the Civil War era; the short and long-term impact of the English Revolution, including the significance of trial and execution of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth.
  • Royal authority and the right to representation: the causes of the American Revolution including the relationship between the government and people; impact and significance of the American Revolution.

Part Three: Reform and Reformers

  • The extension of the franchise: radical protest; the Great Reform Act, causes and impact, including further reform; Chartism, causes, actions and impact.
  • Protest and change: campaigning groups and their methods and impact, including the Anti-Slavery movement; the Anti-Corn Law League; factory reformers; social reformers.
  • Workers movements: the development of trade unionism and its impact, including Grand National Consolidation Trades Union (GNCTU), Tolpuddle Martyrs, New Model Unions and new unionism, including the match girls' and dockers' strikes.

Part Four: Equality and Rights

  • Women’s rights: the campaign for women’s suffrage, reasons, methods and responses; role of individuals, including the Pankhursts; the reasons for the extension of the franchise and its impact; progress towards equality in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Workers’ rights: the General Strike (1926), actions, reactions and impact; trade union reform in the late 20th century.
  • Minority rights: the development of multi-racial society since the Second World War; discrimination, protest and reform; the Brixton Riots, their impact, including the Scarman Report.

Norman England, c1066 – c 1100

This option allows students to study in depth the arrival of the Normans and the establishment of their rule.  The depth study will focus on major aspects of Norman rule, considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints of this period and arising contemporary and historical controversies.

Part One: The Normans: Conquest and Control

  • Causes of Norman Conquest, including the death of Edward the Confessor, the claimants and claims.
  • Military aspects: Battle of Stamford Bridge; Battle of Hastings; Anglo-Saxon and Norman tactics; military innovations, including cavalry and castles.
  • Establishing and maintaining control: the Harrying of the North; revolts, 1067–1075; King William’s leadership and government; William II and his inheritance.

Part Two: Life under the Normans

  • Feudalism and government: roles, rights, and responsibilities; landholding and lordship; land distribution; patronage; Anglo-Saxon and Norman government systems; the Anglo-Saxon and Norman aristocracies and societies; military service; justice and the legal system such as ordeals, ‘murdrum’; inheritance; the Domesday Book.
  • Economic and social changes and their consequences: Anglo-Saxon and Norman life, including towns, villages, buildings, work, food, roles and seasonal life; Forest law.

Part Three: The Norman Church and Monasticism

  • The Church: the Anglo-Saxon Church before 1066; Archbishop Lanfranc and reform of the English Church, including the building of churches and cathedrals; Church organisation and courts; Churchstate relations; William II and the Church; the wealth of the Church; relations with the Papacy; the Investiture Controversy.
  • Monasticism: the Norman reforms, including the building of abbeys and monasteries; monastic life; learning; schools and education; Latin usage and the vernacular.

Part Four: The Historic Environment of Norman England

The historic environment is 10% of the overall course which equates to approximately 12 hours out of 120 guided learning hours.

Students will be examined on a specific site in depth.  This site will be as specified and will be changed annually.  The site will relate to the content of the rest of this depth study.  It is intended that study of different historic environments will enrich students’ understanding of Norman England.

We believe in the importance of learning from history. That's why we've chosen a specification that enables students to study different aspects of the past, so they can engage with key issues such as conflict, understand what drives change and how the past influences the present.  Building on the skills and topics at Key Stage 3, the GCSE will equip students with essential skills and prepare them for further study.

We look forward to working with you to achieve the results you want…

Trips: There will be a trip to Berlin in February 2017.

Curriculum Information