What is the course about?


The GCSE programme at Shireland Collegiate Academy is a popular choice for many and covers an exciting array of topics.


Overall this course focuses on Modern History, which covers the United States of America and Germany, with coursework focusing on the World Wars. There are two pieces of coursework and teaching involves different methods. These include the use of e-learning, presentations, debates as well as the teaching of transferable key skills which help assist other subjects such as GCSE English. This GCSE option gives students the opportunity to examine the past and relate it to their present lives.


Subject content:


Unit 1: USA – A Nation of Contrasts


This unit focuses in depth on selected themes and issues relating to the history of the USA between 1910-1929. Students will consider the main problems and challenges facing American society during the period, the major economic problems and the development of American culture and society. Students will develop an awareness of how aspects of life in the USA in this period have been represented and interpreted and will address the key questions in each topic area using a range of historical sources.


Unit 2: The Elizabethan Age, 1558-1603


This unit focuses in depth on selected themes and issues relating to the history of Wales and England during the Elizabethan Age, from 1558 to 1603. Students will be required to consider the major influences on political and social life during the period, the issue of religious controversy and the significance of foreign and maritime affairs. Students will develop their understanding of the Elizabethan Age through explanation and analysis of key concepts such as causation, change and continuity and significance and through analysing and evaluating a range of source material.


Unit 3: The Development of Germany 1919-1991


This unit focuses in outline on the key trends and turning points that have affected the development of Germany between 1919-1991. Students will consider the developments, events and personalities which have shaped the recent history of Germany.

How will I be assessed?


This course is assessed by examinations which are held in the summer term. Students will be prepared for this by class work, homework which is set every week with regular feedback and mock exam style papers. Within the classroom students will be taking part in presentations and weekly debates on the topics studied.


Students will also have to complete two pieces of coursework which are 1500 words in length. Students will be set these by the class teacher, with the exam board choosing the question and the focus. Students will work on these over a period of weeks, with students expected to submit their first and final version of the coursework on the date set by the classroom teacher.

Exam Board - AQA and WJEC (ROUTE A)

What skills are required?


GCSE History is open to all students who have an interest in past events and how they influence current events and issues. The study of History teaches students many skills including: information handling, communicating ideas, flexibility and tolerance-skills now regarded as essential in Industry.


Students also do various problem-solving activities as well as group work/group based skills. These are essential skills needed in certain areas of employment - for example Industry and the Public Service and research/development teams in Science and Engineering.


Studying History may lead to:


All A-levels and different degree courses.


The study of people is at the heart of History - their feelings, attitudes, prejudices and motivation. This understanding is very useful in the ‘people professions’, from receptionists, hairdressers and beauticians to teachers, health service, social work, lawyers, and civil servants.


History teaches key life skills and helps to prepare students for interviews and university life.


Additional Information


As with all subjects, students need to be correctly equipped for lessons, bringing pens, pencils and exercise books to each lesson.


All homework needs to be completed on a weekly basis.


Revision guides will be provided to students, as well as revision sessions afterschool and through the Academy's extended schools programme.


We have strong links with Birmingham University and trips/subject days will be provided throughout the course which are open to all students free of charge. They also offer a Gifted and Talented programme for our students who meet the criteria.