GCSE History

Head of Department: Mr JR Stypinski BA

The department is well supported by a very sizeable selection of books in the school library. The department is also well resourced for visual presentations and possesses a diverse selection of materials appropriate to the ability of the groups being taught. There are three full-time and one part-time history teachers.

History is compulsory in the lower school and a popular GCSE option attracting able and dedicated students. At this stage, students follow a curriculum that is designed to teach them the history of Britain and place it into a wider context. In Elements Medieval England and the Crusades are taught covering the period between the battles at Hastings and Bosworth.  In Rudiments attention focusses initially on the Italian Renaissance and then looks at how ideas that took seed in this context went on to germinate in Tudor and Stuart England. Grammar looks at the changes in Britain and France in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  It examines how Britain grew into a world power and how France, as the superpower of the day descended into chaos and gave birth to the ideas that dominate Europe to this day.

GCSE SPECIFICATION: EDXCEL 4HI1 (IGCSE) (9-1)

The Modern World

The History IGCSE course continues the themes built upon in the Bounds years developing knowledge and skills that will prove useful later in a student’s academic career and professional life; evidence analysis, extended writing, debate, verbal and written advocacy and decision making based upon limited information. History IGCSE is perceived by universities as a tough option and is widely respected due to the demands that students must respond to in order to achieve a high grade. The course also provides a launching platform for those wishing to further develop their skills with the College’s Advanced Level studies and success here is vital to further progress in the subject.

Depth Studies Paper – 4HI1/01: The new IGCSE History course represents a good deal of continuity with what the department has previously been doing.  This Depth Studies paper examines the two most traumatised European societies of the period; Germany and Russia, with studies of Germany 1918-1945 and the Soviet Union between 1924-53.  The first unit looks at the chaotic situation in Germany following the First World War and the attempts to establish a working democracy amid defeat and economic crises. After a tenuous beginning, Germany appears to recover until the chaos brought to the world by the Wall Street Crash which leads Hitler and the Nazis to power. The Nazis management of Germany and occupied Europe in the Second World War complete this topic.

The study of the USSR looks at the rule of Joseph Stalin.  Stalin’s assumption of power was a brutal and ruthless affair and acted as a foretaste to his rule. Bullock described Stalin’s rule as, “A mountain of achievements accompanied by a mountain of crimes”. Stalin unquestionably improved the capacities of the USSR, but at tremendous cost in freedom and deaths, both intentional and otherwise that ran into the millions. Yet the country was prepared for the German invasion of 1941 and emerged as the victor in 1945, able to claim the main role in the defeat of Germany inflicting 80% of all casualties suffered by the German armed forces between 1939 and 1945. After the war, Stalin had to rebuild the nation and concentrated on rebuilding its potential in order to deal with the new challenge posed by the USA and its western allies.

Investigation and Breadth Studies – 4HI/02: This paper starts with a study of the Origins and Course of the First World War, 1905-1918 examining the background to the conflict and how accumulating tensions were triggered into global conflict. The failure of Germany and its allies to win a decisive victory in 1914 led to Europe’s first modern total war in which civilians were considered legitimate targets. The reasons for the success of Britain, France and their allies are examined to gain an understanding of the differing factors that can affect warfare.

The second element of the course covers the attempts to reduce conflict in the world in The Changing role of International Organisations: the League and the United Nations, 1919-2011. Following the trauma of the First World War, many nations attempted to create an international forum to maintain the hard-won peace. After some initial successes, the League of Nations failed in the wake of the Wall Street Crash and the rise of Fascism, Nazism and militarism in Europe and Asia. Following the Second World War the United Nations attempted to develop the ideas of the League, but facing the backdrop of the Cold War, was challenged in its abilities and willingness to act. The reasons for its failure are examined in detail.

The course is examined by two 90 minute examinations with no coursework component.