GCSE History

Ashbourne’s history students travel back more than 800 years, from the signing of the Magna Carter to Elizabethan England and end up with the Second World World, exploring how the events, people and ideas of the past that have shaped our world today.

Students use their detective skills to analyse, evaluate and interpret a wide range of sources so they can build a picture of the past and debate the issues from differing views.

We encourage our students to take advantage of the fantastic selection of exhibitions and events taking place in London, as well as the historic buildings, to help students contextualise their studies and get a taster of what life might have been like in the past.

Students receive plenty of individual help in the class and extensive exam technique practice.

Why study History at GCSE?

Studying History helps us make sense of the world we live in now by revealing how the events and developments of the past have influenced and shaped society, politics, economics and culture.

The huge range of skills you learn studying History – being able to critically analyse information, sifting out what is truly important and drawing conclusions from your research – are highly transferable and will assist you in many aspects of your life, both academically and personally.

History is a very highly regarded subject and excellent foundation for many degree courses.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the AQA specification for GCSE History.

What is covered in this course?

Understanding the modern world: Russia, 1894–1945: Tsardom and communism (period study) and Conflict and tension: The inter-war years, 1918–1939 (wider world depth study). Shaping the nation: Britain, Power and the people c1170 to the present day (thematic study) and Elizabethan England, c1568–1603 (British depth study)

Understanding the modern worldShaping the nation
Russia, 1894–1945: Tsardom and communism
This period study focuses on the development of Russia during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of autocracy and communism – the fall of the Tsardom and the rise and consolidation of communism.

Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in influencing change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Conflict and tension: The inter-war years, 1918–1939
The period building up to to the Second World War was fraught with tension. Students look in depth at the complex and diverse interests of different states, including the Great Powers, to understand how and why conflict occurred. They will also consider how key individuals and groups helped shape change and were affected by international relations. They will take three focal points to examine this period: Peacemaking, The League of Nations and international peace and The origins and outbreak of the Second World War.

Britain: Power and the people: c1170 to the present day
Why have people’s rights and their relationship with the state changed? How have people challenged authority and how have governments responded to those challenges? How has Parliament and parliamentary democracy evolved? What impact have changes in political status had on people’s lives? What is the significance of key individuals and events in the changing relationship between the individual and the state?

Students will sweep across nearly 850 years of British history to examine how the relationship between citizen and state has developed, from feudalism and serfdom to democracy and equality. They will consider a wide range of factors shaping this connection including war, religion, chance, government, communication, economy, new ideas such as equality, democracy and representation and the role of the individual in encouraging or inhibiting change.

Students will explore four contexts: Challenging authority and feudalism, Challenging royal authority, Reform and reformers, Equality and rights.

Elizabethan England, c1568–1603
Elizabeth I, daughter of notorious Tudor King Heny VIII and Anne Boleyn, kept a tight reign for 35 years during a time of religious tension, political scheming and power struggles, and turbulent relations in Europe.

In this British depth study students will explore three themes: Elizabeth’s court and Parliament, Life in Elizabethan times and Troubles at home and abroad. They will also carry out a study of an historic environment of Elizabethan England, such as a Tudor manor house, theatre or village, town or city for example, and relate their understanding of the events and developments of the period to that site.

Who teaches this course?

Joanna Budden

BA History (Leeds); PGCE (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Joanna has been teaching History at Ashbourne and is also an examiner for the Edexcel exam board. She is a keen traveller and loves the great outdoors.


Why Choose Ashbourne College?
I loved the casualness between teacher and student and also I loved the fact that I was essentially, the one responsible for myself and parents were not frequently contacted for any reason i.e to sign up for clubs etc. The responsibility- to turn up on time, to hand in homework on time, to revise effectively- all being left to me, really spurred on me to be productive and hard working. I hope to eventually be working in the city as a trader for a large bank, after doing this in the short term I hope to take money I have saved and open a fashion retail store that stocks up and coming brands in London somewhere. I genuinely feel like Ashbourne has given me the confidence i once lacked to be able to do this
MilunPhilosophy, Politics and Economics at University of Leeds
Our daughter has surely improved her knowledge in the chosen subjects but also her ability in dealing with her everyday life
I see Ashbourne as a place which I feel comfortable to express myself and it creates an environment that encourages me to develop as a leader. I am constantly looking for ways to improve. I am determined to continue to develop myself and I know that this is made more attainable with Ashbourne’s fantastic support and encouragement. I am very lucky to find myself at Ashbourne. It is a truly remarkable place to work.
Dennis FulcherHead of Multi-Media and Social Science Faculty