GCSE History

History is an optional subject to study at GCSE. However, it is a subject that is integral to our understanding of the modern world.

By the end of Year 9 you will have already studied the relationship between white settlers and Native Americans during the westward expansion of America, in the second half of the 19th century. These events have largely shaped modern day America, and you will appreciate the impact of white American settlement on Native American culture and identity.

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The American West c1835-c1895 is split into 4 key topics:

  • Key Topic 1: Settlement of the West
  • Key Topic 2: Cattle ranching in the West
  • Key Topic 3: Law and order in the West
  • Key Topic 4: Conflict between White Americans and Plains Indians

You begin your study in Year 10 with the origins of the British state. We study the events before, during and after the Norman Conquest in 1066 which established the foundations for British society as we know it today such as, law and order and the relationship between the rich and the poor.

Anglo-Saxon and Norman England c1060-88 is split into 3 key topics:

  • Key Topic 1: Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest, 1060-66
  • Key Topic 2: William 1 in power: Securing the Kingdom, 1066-87
  • Key Topic 3: Norman England, 1066-87

In the next unit you will study how British society has responded to disease and illness over an 800-year period, concluding in the study of modern-day medicine. This unit allows you to reflect on many medical advancements we take for granted in our day to day lives and where our advanced understanding in modern day medicine originated from. Part of this study includes an in-depth investigation into medicine on the Western Front in the British Sector during the First World War.

Medicine in Britain, c1250-present and the British Sector of the Western Front, 1914-18: injuries, treatment and the trenches is split into 5 key topics:

  • Key topic 1: Medieval Medicine in Britain
  • Key topic 2: Renaissance Medicine in Britain
  • Key topic 3: Industrial period Medicine in Britain
  • Key topic 4: Modern period Medicine in Britain
  • British Sector of the Western Front 1914-1918: injuries, treatment and the trenches

We then move on to studying how a democratic state was legally transformed into a dictatorship under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Many of the questions we explore, allow you to critically evaluate life in the 21st century, analysing your understanding of the relationship between the people those who govern them.

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 is split into 4 key topics:

  • Key Topic 1: The Weimar Republic 1918-1929
  • Key Topic 2: Hitler’s Rise to Power 1919-1933
  • Key Topic 3: Nazi Control & Dictatorship 1933-1934
  • Key Topic 4: Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-39

Throughout your lessons you will develop your ability to be critical of the ever-changing society we live in today. You will make comparisons between today and past civilisations, exploring a range of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.

Routes to employment

Studying history enables student to develop critical thinking skills like no other subject and employers value it as a qualification. History teaches you to challenge, analyse and make judgements about information. It enables you to think for yourself, to understand a wide range of opinions and interpretations, to formulate ideas and opinions and to use a wide range of literacy and personal skills.

Studying history gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of courses post GCSE including History, English Literature, Law, Drama, History of Art, Politics, Economics, Accountancy, Business, Sociology, Psychology and Management Studies.


Is there setting in the GCSE history groups?

There is no setting in the GCSE groups. There is no foundation or higher paper, only one paper that everyone sits.

How much homework is there?

You will receive homework once a week from your class teacher. These will mostly consist of producing revision resources or practicing examination questions.

Is there a lot of writing?

Yes there is a lot of writing, but remember all GCSE’s have a significant amount of writing. The structure of the exam questions are similar to the feed forwards and assessments you have done at KS3. You won’t be making lots of notes in lessons, as lessons are focused around discussion points and understanding key concepts.

I’m stuck between geography and history. which one should take?

Choose the subject you enjoy more, not the one you think is easier. It is more likely you will achieve a better grade if you enjoy the lessons.


The Fernwood School
Goodwood Road, Wollaton
Nottingham, NG8 2FT

0115 9286326