KS4 & 5 History


Exam board:              AQA (course code 8145)  

Grades available:      1-9

The Importance of History

History is far more than the study of the past for its own sake; it has an essential contribution to make for jobs and preparing the citizens of tomorrow. By studying History you will develop the following skills:

  • Dealing with people. History studies real people, well known and unknown, good and bad, who faced real situations some of which were like those that we face today and some of which were very different. In History you study their words and actions and try to work out their motives and beliefs.
  • Conducting investigations. When we study History we investigate the lives of people in the past by using evidence that survives but we can never know everything about the past. If we are to get anywhere near the truth we have to analyse and evaluate this evidence, deal with the contradictions and ask awkward questions.
  • This means putting together a clear explanation in an organised way using the evidence to support the points made.

The study of History encourages people to be independent thinkers, open-minded, disciplined and good at problem solving. History also prepares young people to understand how democracy works and how it evolved as well as how their world developed and how it is continuing to change.

The course is taught in a broad way, which provides an essential political, social and economic education for students. You will have classroom debates, discussions and make regular comparisons with current affairs. It is essential that you are interested in the past and the way it shapes the present and future. Exam success in History places a high emphasis on reading and writing skills as well as a willingness to revise thoroughly (with guidance).

Details of the Course

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course, there isn’t a coursework or controlled assessment unit available. GCSE History students must take assessments in both of the following papers in the same series:

Paper 1: Understanding the modern world

Paper 2: Shaping the nation

Subject content

The GCSE History content comprises the following elements:

• one period study - America, 1920–1973: Opportunity and inequality

• one thematic study - Conflict and tension, 1894–1918 (based on World War One)

• one wider world depth study - Britain: Power and the people: c1170 to the present day

• one British depth study including the historic environment - Elizabethan England, c1568–1603

Careers open to Historians are numerous, e.g. those relating specifically to History such as teaching, research, politics and tourism. Many professions recognise and place high value on the transferable skills of historians, such as law, journalism, accountancy, advertising and marketing, as well as any number of apprenticeships and graduate training schemes in finance and industry, particularly those related to management.

A Level History

Component 1 – British History

AS Level:

Part One: The Tudors 1485-1603

This unit encompasses the following themes:

Henry VII and the consolidation of the Tudor dynasty, 1485-1509

Henry VIII, 1509-1547

A2 Level:

Part Two: The Tudors 1485-1603

This unit encompasses the following themes:

Instability and consolidation, 'the mid Tudor crisis', 1547-63

The triumph of Elizabeth, 1563-1603

Component 2 – Democracy and Dictatorship, Germany 1918-45

AS Level:

Part One: The Weimar Republic 1918-33

This unit encompasses the following themes:

The establishment and early years of the Republic up to 1924

The Golden Age of the Weimar Republic, 1924-28

The collapse of democracy, 1928-33

A2 Level:

Part Two: Nazi Germany 1933-1945

This unit encompasses the following themes:

The Nazi Dictatorship, 1933-39

The Racial State

The Impact of War, 1939-45


Key Stage 4 - How parents/carers can support their child

At GCSE level, students study the AQA Modern World Syllabus B. This is a wide ranging course that gives student an excellent depth of knowledge and skills in preparation for A-level.  Exam papers and their mark schemes are available on AQA’s website:

It is also important that students take advantage of the school library which has a range of non fiction and fiction books based around History topics.  Likewise, students are encouraged to watch any History documentaries that relate to the course. 

Students are also provided with a Revision Guide and corresponding Work Pack to help them with their revision.  It is important that the students are regularly reading through the Revision Guide in order to consolidate their learning in class.  

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