Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy

Key Stage 4 History

Is History at Key Stage 4 Right For Me?

GCSE History will help you develop a range of skills which will be valuable to you no matter what you go on to study or which career you follow in the future. 

These include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Making judgements
  • Understanding human behaviour
  • Debating and expressing a point of view

For these reasons, employers and universities value people who have studied History highly.

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?

Do you like to find out the reasons why things have happened? Do you like to form your own opinions? Are you prepared to stand your ground and argue your case? If so, GCSE History is for you. Learning about people in the past is also fun! You won’t be sitting down writing or trying to remember facts all the time.  The course involved debating, role play, and studying clips from historical movies and documentaries.


What Will I Learn?

In Key Stage 4, pupils follow the newly revised GCSE specification. The course that will be following will be the AQA GCSE History course. This two year course comprises of the below units of study:

Paper 1 - Section A – USA 1920 – 1973: Opportunity and Equality

Topics include:

  • 1920s – Economic boom; Roaring 20s; Prohibition; Immigration; Ku Klux Klan; Wall St Crash
  • 1930s – The Depression; The New Deal; Impact of Second World War
  • Post-War America – McCarthyism; Civil Rights movement including segregation, Martin Luther King, Black Power and progress of Civil Rights
  • The ‘Great Society’ – policies of JFK and Johnson; feminist movement of 1960s and 70s

Paper 1 - Section B – Conflict and Tension, 1918-39:

Topics include:

  • The Treaty of Versailles – aims, terms and impact of Treaty
  • The League of Nations – aims and organisation; success and failures; collapse of the League
  • Causes of Second World War – Hitler’s aims; actions of Hitler; appeasement; outbreak of war

Paper 2 - Section A – Britain: Power and the People – 1170 to Present Day

Topics include:

  • Magna Carta; origins of Parliament; Peasants’ Revolt
  • Uprisings against the crown e.g. Pilgrimage of Grace and Henry VIII; Charles I and English Civil War; causes and impact of American Revolution
  • Reform of Britain – including the anti-slavery movement
  • Women’s rights and role of Suffragettes; worker’s rights; development of multi-racial society after WWII


Paper 2 – Section B – Elizabethan England – 1568 – 1603

Topics include:

  • Background of Elizabeth and difficulties faced; life in Elizabethan England
  • Problems faced by Elizabeth – religion; Mary Queen of Scots; war with Spain (Spanish Armada)

Year 9:

Year 9 students will study a transitional topic at the start of the academic year of ‘Germany 1919-39’. This will focus on the problems in Germany after WWI and the rise and rule of the Nazis in Germany. This will allow students to develop their awareness of issues during this period, which links to future topics covered in the GCSE course, as well as developing their understanding of GCSE requirements and exam technique. Students will begin studying the GCSE content in January of Year 9.

In Key Stage 4, pupils follow the newly revised GCSE specification. The course that will be followed will be the AQA GCSE History course. This year course comprises of the below units of study:

How Will I Be Assessed?

GCSE History is currently assessed through two written examinations to be taken at the end of Year 11, with both papers worth 50% of the overall grade.  There will be no Controlled Assessment element in this course.

Residential trips:

GCSE History students will be given the opportunity to take part in a residential trip to Krakow, Poland, in February of Year 11. The trip includes a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, a tour of the city, a visit to Oscar Schindler’s factory, and a visit to the Jewish museum where students will have the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor.

History Residential Trips