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GCSE History

Why study GCSE History? 

History is fascinating. Studying it will feed your curiosity about today's cultures and world events and help them to understand events through what they have learnt about the past. 

Studying the subject will help you to develop valuable life skills, such as analysis, evaluation and discussion, regardless of the path they choose to follow. 

Is history the right subject for me? 

You should consider choosing history GCSE if you: 

  • you found History interesting and challenging at Key Stage 3
  • enjoy reading  
  • enjoy writing essays and extended pieces of writing  
  • are confident interpreting and analysing historical sources

Key Information:

Examination Board: Edexcel 


  • Paper 1 (30%) -  Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.
  • Paper 2 (40%) - Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88 and The American West, c1835–c.1895
  • Paper 3 (30%) - Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

Taught in Year 10:

Medicine in Britain, c1250–present.

How and when did we discover the treatments and preventions that keep us safe from diseases? How far did medicine change and how far did it stay the same? What treatment did soldiers get in the trenches in the First World War? The Medicine topic will give you an understanding of how ideas about disease and illness have changed over time, from supernatural explanations in the Middle Ages through to Pasteur’s Germ Theory in the C19th, the discovery of Penicillin by Alexander Fleming in the C20th and the fight against lung cancer in the C21st. You will learn about how medical treatments have changed over time by looking at case studies such as the Black Death, 1348–50, the Great Plague of 1665, and the First World War. The Medicine topic is likely to complement your study of science at GCSE.

Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88

In this topic you will learn how William of Normandy defeated his rival Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings and went on to secure his new kingdom, ushering in an era in which the Normans would have a significant influence on Britain’s language, culture and laws, as well as the castles that are a major part of our landscape and heritage today.

Taught in Year 11:

The American West, c1835–c.1895

In this topic you will learn how the migration of white settlers from the east coast of the USA impacted life in the Great Plains of North America.  Investigate how the migration impacted on Indigenous people, from conflict with the settlers to the destruction of their way of life.  Look into the significance of the railways, cattle industry and gold rush.  Explore how they deal with law and order, including sheriffs, Billy the Kid and the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

How did Germany go from a monarchy, to a republic, to a dictatorship? How did Hitler manipulate his way into power? How did German people’s lives change once Hitler was in power? The Weimar, Nazi Germany topic explores Germany before, during and after the rise of the Nazis. The topic examines how it was possible for the Nazis to take power and how they kept it. You will analyse a range of sources and interpretations to form your own opinions on this important period in history.

What can I do after GCSE History?

History is a great basis for many A level subjects and it is highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers. 

Students who have studied history often study A Level qualifications in subjects such as English, politics, economics and sociology.  Some students enjoy it so much they carry on with it even if they are studying maths or science subjects. Many people working in law and accountancy have studied history because of the skills that can be developed in reasoning and arguing your point. 

There are also many areas more directly related to history, such as travel and tourism, museums and libraries, the media industry, government research and, of course, history teaching.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr White, Miss Warren or your history teacher.