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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve


Department Staff


Ms M Deacon- Adams

Head of Department

Mr K Hughes

Teacher of History

Mrs A Trahearn

Teacher of History


Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent

Our intent in History is that through the study of historical events students will appreciate and gain a better understanding of the world around us through the complexity of human experiences, to evaluate evidence in multiple forms and to offer insightful interpretations with clarity of expression.  This curriculum will develop and extend student’s knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British and wider world history; and of the wide diversity of human experience.  We aim to enable students to master the knowledge and skills for success in the future outside school.  The curriculum is broadly chronological so that students get a good sense of History through time.  There are 4 key skills that every Historian needs and as a department we aim to develop: analysis, source, evaluation and interpretation as a foundation for studying history. 


History stimulates an interest in people and events.  The study of history allows students to analyse the causes and consequences of events and decisions that have affected the lives of millions and to some extent changed their own lives today.

Key Stage 4:
Students at SWRS study the AQA GCSE specification.

The GCSE History content comprises the following elements:

One Thematic Study: This enables students to understand change and continuity across a long sweep of history.  The study must cover all three specified eras.

One Period Study: This allows students to focus on a substantial and coherent medium time span of at least 50 years.  The study will require students to understand an unfolding narrative of substantial developments and issues.  The period study can be from any of the specified eras.

Two Depth Studies: One British and one European/wider world.  Depth studies enable students to focus on a substantial and coherent short time span.  The studies enable students to gain understanding of the complexities of a society or historical situation and the interplay of different aspects within it.  Depth studies must be taken from different eras.

A Study of the Historic Environment: The study of the historic environment should focus on a particular site in its historical context and enable students to study the relationship between a place and historical events and developments.  There is no requirement to visit the site.  This study can be linked to any other part of the course or may stand alone.  The subject content for GCSE History requires that students follow a ‘coherent and substantial study of history in which the elements are reasonably balanced’.

 What is studied at GCSE?

  1. Germany 1890 – 1945
  2. Conflict and Tension 1918 – 1939
  3. Elizabethan England
  4. Migration, Empires and the people

How will you be assessed?

Paper 1

Paper 2

Germany 1890 – 1945

Conflict and Tension 1918 – 1939

Elizabethan England

Medicine Through Time 

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 84 marks (including 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • 50% of GCSE


  • Section A – six compulsory questions 40 marks
  • Section B – four compulsory questions 40 marks
  • Plus 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 84 marks (including 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • 50% of GCSE


  • Section A – four compulsory questions 40 marks
  • Section B – four compulsory questions 40 marks
  • Plus 4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar













Key Stage 5:

Students study the AQA specification.  The course is assessed through 2 examinations at the end of Year 13.

What is studied at A-Level?

1C The Tudors

Part One: Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty - England, 1485–1547.

HENRY VII, 1485–1509

  • Henry Tudor’s Consolidation of Power: character and aims; establishing the Tudor dynasty
  • Government: councils, parliament, justice, royal finance and domestic policies
  • Relationships with Scotland and Other Foreign Powerssecuring the succession; marriage alliances
  • Society: churchmen, nobles and commoners; regional division; social discontent and rebellions
  • Economic Development: trade, exploration, prosperity and depression
  • Religion: humanism; arts and learning

HENRY VIII, 1509–1547

  • Henry VIII: character and aims; addressing Henry VII’s legacy
  • Government: Crown and Parliament, ministers, domestic policies including the establishment of Royal Supremacy
  • Relationships with Scotland and Other Foreign Powers: securing the succession
  • Society: elites and commoners; regional issues and the social impact of religious upheaval; rebellion
  • Economic Development: trade, exploration, prosperity and depression
  • Religion: renaissance ideas; reform of the Church; continuity and change by 1547

Part Two: England, Turmoil and Triumph - 1547–1603 (A-Level only)

Instability and Consolidation: 'The Mid-Tudor Crisis' - 1547–1563 (A-level only)

  • Edward VI, Somerset and Northumberland: royal authority; problems of succession; relations with foreign powers
  • The Social Impact of Religious and Economic Changes Under Edward VI: rebellion; intellectual developments; humanist and religious thought
  • Mary I and Her Ministers: royal authority; problems of succession; relations with foreign powers
  • The Social Impact of Religious and Economic Changes Under Mary I: rebellion; intellectual developments; humanist and religious thought
  • Elizabeth I: character and aims; consolidation of power, including the Act of Settlement and relations with foreign powers
  • The Impact of Economic, Social and Religious Developments in the Early Years of Elizabeth's Rule

The Triumph of Elizabeth - 1563–1603 (A-Level only)

  • Elizabethan Government: court, ministers and parliament; factional rivalries
  • Foreign Affairs: issues of succession; Mary, Queen of Scots; relations with Spain
  • Society: continuity and change; problems in the regions; social discontent and rebellions
  • Economic Development: trade, exploration and colonisation; prosperity and depression
  • Religious Developments, Change and Continuity: the English renaissance and ‘the Golden Age’ of art, literature and music
  • The Last Years of Elizabeth: the state of England politically, economically, religiously and socially by 1603

How It Is Assessed:

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
80 marks

2O Democracy to Dictatorship

Part One: The Weimar Republic - 1918–1933

The Establishment and Early Years of Weimar -  1918–1924

  • The Impact of War and the Political Crises of October to November 1918: the context for the establishment of the Weimar Constitution; terms, strengths and weaknesses
  • The Peace Settlement: expectations and reality; terms and problems; attitudes within Germany and abroad
  • Economic and Social Issues: post-war legacy and the state of the German economy and society; reparations, inflation and hyperinflation; the invasion of the Ruhr and its economic impact; social welfare and the social impact of hyperinflation
  • Political Instability and Extremism: risings on the left and right, including the Kapp Putsch; the political impact of the invasion of the Ruhr; the Munich Putsch; problems of coalition government and the state of the Republic by 1924

The 'Golden Age' of the Weimar Republic - 1924–1928

  • Economic Developments: Stresemann; the Dawes Plan; industry, agriculture and the extent of recovery; the reparations issue and the Young Plan
  • Social Developments: social welfare reforms; the development of Weimar culture; art, architecture, music, theatre, literature and film; living standards and lifestyles
  • Political Developments and the Workings of Democracy: President Hindenburg; parties ; elections and attitudes to the Republic from the elites and other social groups; the position of the extremists, including the Nazis and Communists; the extent of political stability
  • Germany’s International Position: Stresemann's foreign policy aims and achievements including: Locarno; the League of Nations; the Treaty of Berlin; the end of allied occupation and the pursuit of disarmament

The Collapse of Democracy - 1928–1933

  • The Economic, Social and Political Impact of the Depression: elections; governments and policies
  • The Appeal of Nazism and Communism: the tactics and fortunes of the extremist parties, including the role of propaganda
  • Hindenburg, Papen, Schleicher and the 'Backstairs Intrigue' Leading to Hitler’s Appointment as Chancellor
  • Political Developments: the Reichstag Fire; parties and elections; the Enabling Act and the end of democracy; the state of Germany by March 1933

Part Two: Nazi Germany - 1933–1945 (A-Level only)

The Nazi Dictatorship - 1933–1939 (A-Level only)

  • Hitler’s Consolidation of Power, March 1933–1934: governmental and administrative change and the establishment of the one-party state; the Night of the Long Knives and the impact of the death of President Hindenburg
  • The 'Terror State': the police, including the SS and Gestapo; the courts; extent, effectiveness and limitations of opposition and non-conformity; propaganda: aims, methods and impact; extent of totalitarianism
  • Economic Policies and the Degree of Economic Recovery: Schacht; Goering; the industrial elites
  • Social Policies: young people; women; workers; the churches; the degree of Volksgemeinschaft; benefits and drawbacks of Nazi rule

The Racial State - 1933–1941 (A-Level only)

  • The Radicalisation of the State: Nazi racial ideology; policies towards the mentally ill, asocials, homosexuals, members of religious sects, the Roma and Sinti
  • Anti-Semitism: policies and actions towards the Jews, including the boycott of Jewish shops and the Nuremberg Laws
  • The Development of Anti-Semitic Policies and Actions: the effect of the Anschluss; Reichkristallnacht; emigration; the impact of the war against Poland
  • The Treatment of Jews in the Early Years of War: the Einsatzgruppen; ghettos and deportations

The Impact of War - 1939–1945 (A-Level only)

  • Rationing, Indoctrination, Propaganda and Morale: the changing impact of war on different sections of society including the elites, workers, women and youth
  • The Wartime Economy and the Work of Speer: the impact of bombing; the mobilisation of the labour force and prisoners of war
  • Policies Towards the Jews and the ‘Untermenschen’ During Wartime: the Wannsee Conference and the 'Final Solution'
  • Opposition and Resistance in Wartime Including Students, Churchmen, The Army and Civilian Critics: assassination attempts and the July Bomb Plot; overview of the Nazi state by 1945

 How It Is Assessed:

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
80 marks


After School Clubs or Activities:

Revision classes for GCSE take place every Friday 4-5pm, virtually via Teams, please email Ms Adams if you would like to attend .