History at GCSE builds upon the skills and techniques developed during the 1st to 3rd forms, specifically the concepts of significance, cause and consequence, continuity and change, similarity and difference; and also the source based skills of nature, origin and purpose, usefulness, reliability and historical interpretation.
Edexcel GCSE History is assessed entirely through exams sat in the summer of 5th Form, there is no coursework. The course is designed to allow you to explore some big themes of history and also to delve much deeper into specific events and time periods than you will have done previously.
Paper 1: Warfare through time, c1250-present
This is a thematic element of the course looking at how not only warfare, but its impact on people, has changed over the centuries. We look at the development of weapons, tactics, strategies, recruitment and training, as well as how war has been reported by the media. As case studies we look at the battles of Falkirk, Agincourt, Naseby, Waterloo, Balaclava, the Somme and the Iraq War. This paper also includes a historic environment study of London during the Blitz, where we use primary source material to piece together a picture of aerial attack during the Second World War.
Paper 2P: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
For our period study we look at the Cold War. This aspect of the course selects a series of key episodes from the wider conflict to present how the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union fluctuated over time.
Paper 2B: The reigns of King Richard I and King John, 1189–1216
King’s Richard and John form out British depth study, a rich period of history full of deeply flawed, vain, and downright evil characters. The escapades of these two monarchs, from crusade to Magana Carta, quarrelling with everybody in between, is enduringly fascinating, as is the high medieval world in which they lived.
Paper 3: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917–41
As a modern depth depth study, we look at the history of Russia and how ideology and terror can take hold of a country, lead it to greatness and tragedy in the blink of an eye. A key aspect of this part of the course is the understanding of how the same history can be interpreted very differently by contrasting historians.