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?
During my three-year ride as an Asher, new doors opened up for me to a new world in which I found my true passion. It is encouraging independent learning while providing students with sufficient support when needed, along with its active, lively and friendly atmosphere that give Ashbourne its uniqueness. The location is great and adds to the liveliness of the atmosphere. As far as academia is concerned, the necessary platform for success in most subject areas one might be interested in is provided. The rest is up to the individual
DanialMedicine at UCL
Our grandson was very ready to make a huge step from recluse, out­ of ­step with his age group, not knowing what to do with himself or how to relate to others, many of whom he found terrifying. He found travelling on the tube terrifying and trusted few people. Ashbourne has never pushed him too hard but has always encouraged every step he has taken towards what was sometimes a big risk for him. He has learned to respect himself as a learner, to be realistic about his strengths and what he finds difficult, and is learning what to do about the things he finds difficult. He is becoming sociable, well­ informed good company, smiles 100% more than he did and travels to and from Ashbourne by tube without a qualm. He is punctual (or sends a message if held up). He is learning to trust the many good people he now recognises as on his side. He is very aware of how much Ashbourne has contributed to these huge changes and is looking forward to trying out University in September, becoming a student, knowing lots of other people will arrive by different routes. A real success story/work in progress. Thank you Ashbourne
If I had to describe Ashbourne in three words it would be welcoming, intimate, and fun. I have never met such an eclectic group of people who all get on and are integrated with each other so well. It’s a great opportunity to get the grades that you want alongside gaining confidence and maturity
Emily BoothroydFormer Administrative and Behavioural Assistant and PA to the Director of Studies