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History GCSE

Head of Department: Ms J Landy

What is History GCSE?

This course teaches you of some of the unique stories we encounter as historians of the past. We study some of the most exciting periods, focusing on Migration to Britain from 1250 to the present; the Elizabethans (1580-1603), the Making of America (1789-1900) and Living under Nazi rule (1933-45). We also study a local historical site examining how the site has changed in its use over time, what it reveals about its historical context, how this site compares to other similar sites, and how the site has informed interpretations of the past. It is important to note that whilst the nature of this paper is like the old coursework unit, it is an examined unit.

The breadth and range of the topics we cover offers pupils an opportunity to study periods in more depth and to prepare them to develop their historical understanding beyond GCSE. This is a course for pupils who hold a curiosity of past events, and who want to ask further questions of both familiar and unfamiliar periods.

What skills will I develop?

The course offers opportunities for pupils to develop skills in critical analysis, evaluation of argument, source evaluation, reflective and critical thinking and questioning skills. The demands of this course require that pupils can communicate their ideas and as such, we work with pupils on how to build a coherent and clear argument.

What syllabus will I follow?

OCR SHP (History B)

What will the course look like?

Pupils will complete two of the units in the first half of the two-year course (year 10) and two more in the second year (year 11).  During the summer term at the end of the first year, pupils will also undertake a site visit and complete the content for the ‘History Around Us’ unit. We also run an annual enrichment trip to Munich and Nuremberg in early autumn term for History pupils. This helps to support Paper 3 content taught on Nazi Germany.

What homework will I get?

Due to the written nature of the final assessment, most homework tasks will be written exercises (such as exam practice questions). We will also set timeline tests, key content tests and spelling tests. The homework tasks are set in line with our scheme of work and so there might not be a ‘regular’ weekly homework set for your son/daughter. Hand-in dates will be set in light of the estimated ‘size’ of the task and may be spread across a fortnight to enable pupils the time to complete the task.

How will I be assessed?

Pupils will sit three exams at the end of the two-year course:

  • Paper 1 (Migration to Britain and the Elizabethans) is 1 hour and 45 mins long (40% of total GCSE)
  • Paper 2 (History around Us) is 1 hour long (20%)
  • Paper 3 (the Making of America and Living under Nazi rule) is 1 hour and 45 mins long (40%)

What jobs or further courses of study might this lead to?

Pupils who took this course would look to employment or further study in most areas. The skills offered by history provide a secure basis in which to enter most professions and to look towards further study in subjects beyond history. Previous pupils have moved on to study history at CVC Sixth Form and then to Oxford University to read history, whilst others have chosen to study medicine at UCL. The analytical skills which is a key element of GCSE History are valuable for a range of professions, including careers in law, journalism and whole host of other related disciplines. History seeks to reward you not just with the knowledge, but with the skills to take your future forward.

Are there any entry requirements for this course?

There are no strict requirements to complete this course, but pupils and parents should be mindful that this is a written subject and therefore pupils are required to be reasonably confident in their reading and written abilities. Please contact your son/daughter’s history teacher should you have any questions regarding this.

If I need additional support, what can I access?

The history department provides a great deal of support in revising for GCSE. This includes help in making revision notes, department revision guides and recommendations on appropriate textbooks and support materials to purchase. The department will be happy to advise on historians to read and recommend historical fiction to support your son/daughter’s enthusiasm for the course content.

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