Aim of the Course:

  • At Bentley Wood we believe in the importance of not just learning history, but learning from history. Understanding past events, people and their significance gives us all a better insight into the world around us.
  • You will focus on developing key skills, which can be transferred to any subject and can be studied in the Sixth Form and utilised to a future career path in any profession. Skills such as the ability to be an independent thinker; to be organised; and a good problem solver with the ability to pick out relevant information and make appropriate use of it when discussing ideas and opinions are essential for adulthood.
  • You will also develop written and oral communication through analysis, research, logical thinking and debate. You will see how a series of events interact, decide between relevant and irrelevant information, evaluate interpretations, identify change over time and reach a well thought out conclusion.


In the first half of the Autumn Term of Year 9 students will study ‘The Fight for Freedom’ as an introduction to GCSE. During this term students will develop their history skills, with a particular focus on the types of questions that appear on the GCSE exam paper. This unit of study will NOT form part of their final GCSE examination. From the start of the second half of the Autumn Term Year 9 students will start studying the actual GCSE History topics. This is a linear exam and all topics will be examined at the end of Year 11.

GCSE Topics to be studied from Year 9:

  1. British Depth Studies: Elizabethan England, c1568–1603. 
    This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth I's reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies. A new feature of the GCSE course is the introduction of the historic environment of Elizabethan England. The study of the historic environment will focus on a particular site in its historical context and will examine the relationship between a specific place and associated historical events and developments.

  2. Thematic Study: Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c790 to the present day 
    This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how the identity of the people of Britain has been shaped by their interaction with the wider world. It will consider invasions and conquests. It will also study the country's relationship with Europe and the wider world. It will consider the ebb and flow of peoples into and out of Britain and evaluate their motives and achievements. It considers the causes, impact and legacy of Empire upon the ruled and the ruling in the context of Britain’s acquisition and retreat from Empire.

GCSE Topics to be studied in Year 10:

  1. Period Study: America, 1920–1973: Opportunity and Inequality. 
    This period study focuses on the development of the USA during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of opportunity and inequality – when some Americans lived the 'American Dream' whilst others grappled with the nightmare of poverty, discrimination and prejudice. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in bringing about change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

  2. Wider World Depth Study: Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972. 
    This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different states and individuals and the ideologies they represented. It considers revolutionary movements during this time. It focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions that arose during the Cold War. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Year 11

  • Year 11 will be an opportunity for students to revist and recap their knowledge from the first and second year of their GCSE. There will be extra focus on refining their examination skills and there will be two mock in exams spread throughout the year. The final exam will be in May/June

Recommended reading:

There are many books that can help develop your wider understanding of History. Here are a few that we recommend: Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Doreen Rappaport; A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev , Vladislav M. Zubok; One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War; Michael Dobbs and Tudor Rose, Anne Perry.


This course is 100% examination. There are two written papers at the end of Year 11. Both of these are 1 hour 45 minutes

Career Prospects

This course will give students a good grounding in all the skills that are needed to progress to A level History. It will appeal to students who are interested in the news, politics and historical background.
History is a highly respected qualification for a career in archaeology, architecture, banking, the law, journalism and broadcasting, working as a civil servant, economist, librarian, researcher, police officer, publisher, social worker, teacher and any career where you need to investigate, weigh up evidence and reach a substantiated conclusion.

Why should you choose GCSE History?

At Bentley Wood there is a team of highly experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated History teachers who run an interesting and dynamic course covering interesting and thought-provoking topics. The department provides a comprehensive revision programme throughout KS4 in addition to extra support that helps al students prepare for their examinations, ensuring that they reach their full potential.