St Mary's Catholic College, Wallasey

St Mary's Catholic College
A Voluntary Aided Academy


Key Stage 3

Year 7

In History in Year 7 you will learn all about the Medieval Realms of Britain from 1066 to 1500.

You will begin by studying the Norman Conquest and the consequences of that. You will also learn about all the most important things which happened and the most important people up to 1500. In addition, you will learn about how ordinary people like you lived in medieval times.

You will learn a lot about your own local history and look at entries in the Domesday Book which relate to Wirral or castles in North Wales. You will also become aware at what was happening in other parts of the world at that time.

Your parents can help by encouraging you to visit local museums, many of which are free of charge. If you have internet access at home, a very good website with great games and fun activities is:

Year 8

History in Year 8 begins with an exploration of Henry VIII's wives as the reason for his decision to break with the Roman Catholic Church.  This will fit in explicitly with a cross-curricular project investigating the theme 'Being Human'.  Following this are opportunities to develop source work and capacity for dealing with evidence in relation to the later change to a Protestant church and the establishment of the Church of England.

There are investigations of society under Elizabeth I's reign and the impact of the poverty that plagued the realm at the time lead to an assessment of Elizabeth's reign taking account of her achievements in defeating the Spanish Armada.

The subsequent challenges to the power of the crown by parliament leads to a cross curricular link over the theme of 'Heroes' and after a considerable study of the English Civil War, an assessment of Oliver Cromwell's achievements will provide an opportunity to develop extended writing.

GCSE History

"Unless we learn from history, we are destined to repeat it. This is no longer merely an academic exercise but may contain our world's fate and our own destiny."
Alex Haley, Author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X

About the Course:

History at GCSE is made up of two examination papers:

Paper 1 topics will be studied in Year 10 and develop some topics studied in Year 9, for example the causes of World War I and appeasement in the 1930s leading to World War II.  There are other topics that have not been studied previously, for example the failure of the League of Nations.

Paper 2 topics which will be taught in Year 11 focus on American History, with units looking at the 'good times' of the 1920s and contrasting this with the darker and more sinister aspects of American society like the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and racial segregation, Al Capone and the rise of gangsters and the Wall Street Crash.  There are further units which concentrate on the Depression years of the 1930s and the attempts to solve it with the New Deal.  In addition, there is a unit on Hitler's Germany in the 1930s.

A controlled assessment, rather than coursework, now contributes 25% toward the final grade. This will be completed as part of normal lessons and will focus on British people's experiences during World Wars I and II.

There is no higher or lower tiered paper, so all grades are accessible to all students.

How it will be assessed:

Papers 1 and 2 are each 1 hour 45 minutes long and contain a mixture of source-based questions and essays.

The controlled assessment requires the production of two larger pieces of work.  They have to becompleted under exam conditions in normal lessons but preparation will involve guidance from teachers.

What it prepares you for:

History at GCSE is a challenging but rewarding and highly regarded subject that will develop students' ability to think and argue about events in the past as well as current affairs.  Success at GCSE will open up opportunities in the Sixth Form and impress employers and training providers.

AS / A2 History

"History at St Mary's impresses me because it values the wider influences that drive civilisation."
Kieran, Year 13

About the Course:

History at AS/A2 is a highly esteemed qualification which offers genuine opportunities to develop important personal skills as well as enabling students to keep their options open in terms of Higher Education and career choice.

Studying History at AS/A2 level involves students becoming involved much more in the actual work of historians than GCSE.  There will be opportunities for fieldwork both in the UK and USA, for genuine original research, and for participating in wider debates about the fundamental features of human society.

AS Course Units:

Unit 1: (50% of AS/ 25% of full A-Level)

  • Pursuing Life and Liberty: Equality in USA 1945-68
  • Ideology, Conflict and Retreat:  USA in Asia 1950 - 73
  • A study of America at the peak of its power and prestige yet destabilised by race-related violence at home and controversial involvement in wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Unit 2:  (50% of AS/ 25% of full A-Level)

Crown, Parliament and Authority in England, 1588 - 1629. Students will investigate the emergence of England as a serious international power under Elizabeth I and the strains this, along with religious and social change, put on her successors, James I and Charles I.

A2 Course Units:

Unit 3:  (25% of full A-Level) Revolution, Republic and Restoration: England, 1629-67. This continues where Unit 2 left off, analysing the Civil War and why Parliament won.  Students will then consider the republic and its failure to provide stability leading to the restoration of King Charles II.

Unit 4:  (25% of full A-Level) Coursework - Personal Study: Expansion, Conflict and Civil Rights in the USA, 1820-1981. Students have to research and produce two pieces of work (each 2,000 words in length) which expand on many of the themes and topics considered in Unit 1.

The work concentrates and evaluates events and key individuals in the short term and over a longer period of time.

How it will be assessed:

Units 1 - 3 by external examination.

Unit 4 (coursework) is assessed internally.

What it prepares you for:

Studying History enables students to keep their options open when going into university and choosing careers.  Previous students have gone into teaching, accounting, journalism, politics and many other realms.  History students tend to be able to write well and clearly, to make judgements confidently and be able to see through the ploys and tactics of others.

Entry requirements:

A minimum of five GCSE passes at Grade C or above, including English.