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St Wilfrid's Catholic School


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

Faculty Leader for Humanities:       Mr Hector

History Teachers:                                 Mr Duke



The history team at St Wilfrid’s strive to use an enquiry based approach to the subject that, in addition to fuelling a passion to understand past events, encourages students to think for themselves, to ask questions, to form their own opinions and challenge the ideas of others in an informed way. A key component of the History course, through all Key Stages, is the examination of values such as democracy, equality of rights and the fair treatment of all. The importance of democracy is measured against oppressive and totalitarian regimes (Year 10, 11 and Key Stage 5) in the modern era, as well as the lack of rights that the individual had in earlier eras (Years 7, 8 and 9). Power, Politics and the fight for Democracy are examined in Year 7. The campaign for the vote is looked at in Year 8. Equality of rights in modern Britain are measured against the loss of rights on race/ethnic grounds, where slavery and the Civil Rights’ movement in the USA are studied. This takes place in Year 9. In Year 11 the fight for equality (the study of immigration into Britain is made). It is fundamental to history in this school that the fight for fundamental rights, which we now take for granted in Modern Britain, are examined within the context of our historical studies.

Key Stage 3

History is taught in Years 7, 8 and 9. Subject content is varied with a mix of British and global topics. In Year 7 these topics include; a study of the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles from the Iron Age to the present is made and the Middle Ages are studied. In Year 8, topics include a study of the Tudor Dynasty, the English Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. In Year 9, students will investigate the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the development of the Civil Rights’ Movement in the USA. In addition, we cover 20th and 21st century European and World history and focus on issues such as the causes of World War One, the reasons men ‘joined up’ and an examination of the fighting in World War One. The history department runs a two-day trip to the World War One battlefields during Year9 to enhance students’ learning of this topic. Students then study the causes of World War Two, including the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. We then study World War Two, the Home Front and the Holocaust. We also examine concepts such as the use of propaganda, democracy, dictatorship, communism and fascism, as well as modern day terrorism.

Key Stage 4

Overview of history GCSE (Board AQA):

GCSE History is an optional subject in Years 10 and 11. We believe in the importance of learning from history. This course enables students to study different aspects of the past, so they can engage with key issues such as conflict, understand what drives change and how the past influences the present. This course includes popular and well-established topics. Building on the skills and topics at Key Stage 3, this GCSE will equip students with essential skills and prepare them for further study. The GCSE course consists of two papers:

Paper 1: Understanding the modern world.

Section A: Period Studies: (Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and Dictatorship)

This period study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in influencing change. Students will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Section B: Wider World Depth Studies: Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972).

This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different states and individuals and the ideologies they represented. It considers revolutionary movements during this time. It focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose during the Cold War. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation.

Section A: Thematic studies - Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c 980 to the present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how the identity of the people of Britain has been shaped by their interaction with the wider world. It will consider invasions and conquests. It will also study the country's relationship with Europe and the wider world. It will consider the ebb and flow of peoples into and out of Britain and evaluate their motives and achievements. It considers the causes, impact and legacy of Empire upon the ruled and the ruling in the context of Britain’s acquisition and retreat from Empire. Students will develop an understanding of the varying rate of change, why change happened when it did, whether change brought progress, and the significance of the change(s). Students will also be able to distinguish between different types of causes and consequences, such as short/long-term causes, intended/unintended consequences.

Section B: British depth studies - Norman England, c1066–c1100

This option allows students to study, in depth, the arrival of the Normans and the establishment of their rule. This depth study will focus on major aspects of Norman rule, considered from the economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints of this period and its arising contemporary and historical controversies. In this option, students also study a historical environment related to the Norman Conquest.


Paper 1

• Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

• 84 marks (including 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar)

• 50% of GCSE

Paper 2

• Written exam: 2 hours

• 84 marks (including 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar)

• 50% of GCSE

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, students follow the AQA syllabus. There are three areas of study: The Cold War (1944-1991), The Tudors (1485-1603) and the coursework option

1C The Tudors: England, 1485–1603 (A Study in Breadth)

This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

• How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy?

• In what ways and how effectively was England governed during this period?

• How did relations with foreign powers change and how was the succession secured?

• How did English society and economy change and with what effects?

• How far did intellectual and religious ideas change and develop and with what effects?

• How important was the role of key individuals and groups and how were they affected by


2R The Cold War, c1945–1991 (A Study in Depth)

This option provides for the study in depth of the evolving course of international relations during an era of tension between communist and capitalist powers which threatened nuclear Armageddon. It explores concepts such as communism and anti-communism, aggression and détente and also encourages students to reflect on the power of modern military technology, what hastens confrontation and what forces promote peace in the modern world.

Non Examined Assessment (NEA) - Historical Investigation

The purpose of the Historical Investigation is to enable students to develop the skills, knowledge and historical understanding acquired through the study of the examined components of the specification. Through undertaking the Historical Investigation students will develop an enhanced understanding of the nature and purpose of history as a discipline and how historians work.

AS students will take two 90 minute written exams at the end of Year 12. Students who continue into Year 13 will also have two written exams (both two hours 30 minutes). Each exam is worth 40% of the overall grade. The NEA option is worth 20% of the overall grade.