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Welcome to History GCSE

A warm welcome from myself Mr. Hart the Curriculum Leader of Humanties at The Westgate School. History is an ever-popular choice at Westgate due to the great relationships that the teachers have built with the students. The trust that they place in us to ensure that the topics are engaging, that they get the best quality teaching and that results continue to be amongst the best in the school.  As a historian at Westgate you will have access to great learning and extra-curricular activities to help enhance this.  We have previously planned trips to the battlefields of France and this year for the first time entered the Young Citizens Mock Trial competition where students could use skills such as source analysis and the construction of evidence based argument to advance them towards a possible career. 

History will also give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of how the past has been represented, interpreted and given significance for different reasons and purposes. 

In GCSE History students are given the opportunity to study different time periods and different parts of the world. One unit looks at Medicine through time, right now it is very obvious that understanding how medicine has developed could help us move towards a better future. 

“Those who do not understand their own history are doomed to repeat it is” a famous quote for a reason; it is true.  The study of history is not simply looking at the past but understanding how we became who we are and why the world is as it is.  The study of history allows us to be critical and to examine where things have gone wrong and, just as importantly, when humanity has made huge strides forwards.  This gives students a strong basis for their role as a responsible citizens and helps develop key skills. 

That, in a nutshell, is why History matters.  It is not just ‘useful’, it is essential. 

Student Testimonials

I chose GCSE History due to a passion I've had for the subject since a young age. I've always loved History and learning about the past and how much we have changed as people with our beliefs, society, etc. One thing I enjoy about History is that there is more to it than just people and dates and, it goes into depth about who people were, their struggles in their life, their successes and failures and so much more. One skill I learnt from History is developing better writing skills and I achieved this through practice exams in class. Hopefully, I can go on to do A-Level History as I enjoyed it so much for GCSE, N. Bosty.‚Äč 

I chose History as I enjoyed my Year 9 topic the America unit it helped me educate myself and extend my knowledge about events in the past it's also an interesting subject you learn new skills and learn to analyse which helps in other subjects too. It's a really easy subject to revise for as because it's in the past everything is on the internet. Learning how and why certain prominent figures in History do what they did in the past and also that there are more than one side to the story. I enjoy analysing and evaluating two different opinions and forming arguments. I also enjoy looking and different perspectives. History provides many skills the skill to structure and form your arguments, investigating historical events, analysis of sources, develop knowledge and you will become a critical and reflective thinker. History is really useful in the future as it is a held with the upmost respect at A-Level as universities look for subjects with a range of skills. I am looking forward to enhancing my knowledge and doing History at A-Level if people are interested in law, History is really good as it lays out the base to studying cases and sources. History isn't just good for law it is an amazing subject which can help with many things from a everyday basis to the future, Burham I.

I chose to do GCSE History because of how engaging and intriguing I found the American unit in Year 9. History has always been a fascinating subject for me, and I enjoy learning about what life and society was like in the past.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the variety of units covered throughout the entirety of the GCSE History course. From the Vietnam War to Elizabethan England, you learn about a variety of different cultures and situations, which led to historical events taking place. The lessons in GCSE History are consistently engaging, which make it very enjoyable.  Throughout the GCSE History course, my extended writing and analysis skills have been supported and developed greatly, which has caused my overall exam technique to improve also. I am also able to make links between different historical events, and how they could have affected each other or been the reason behind other events taking place. I have also gained confidence to share my ideas and thoughts during class discussions. Although I do not have any plans to continue to take History with me through to further education, I strongly believe the skills I have gained throughout the course, will aid and support me with whatever I chose to do in the future, Scarlett R. 

I chose History out of the curiosity and fascination for History as a whole and the topics this school offers for GCSE and also because of how much I began to love History after stating the GCSE topics in Year 9. I enjoy learning about the past and stories about the world that have happened resulting in the world to be the way it is today; it is very interesting to learn about. From History I have learnt how to intake and retain topics/periods in time in a useful way that makes the information interesting while also informative. Also, History requires essay writing in the examinations, it has taught me how to do this to a good standard that also helps me in other subjects. History will help me in the future with writing essay style questions which I will definitely need and having wider contextual knowledge when leaning other subjects; also with A-Level History as this contextual knowledge with be very helpful, Lauren R.

Top Performers

2020

GCSE 9 Leia H, GCSE 8 Patrycja W, GCSE 8 Sophie R, GCSE 8 Shardonai M, GCSE 8 Navjot G, GCSE 8 Adrian C

FAQs

What exam board do you study? 

The exam board is AQA. 

How many exams are there? 

There are 2 exams: 

  • Understanding the modern world 

  • Shaping the nation 

What makes a good historian? 

The best historians have a critical mind. Historians are empathetic and able to see things from the point of view of others including considering the historical and cultural context that the people of history were in.  You must enjoy history and be committed to working hard. 

What is the longest question you get on the exam?   

The largest tariff question is 20 marks.  This question asks you “how far do you agree….” With a specific comment and expects you to construct arguments for both sides and come to your own conclusion. 

Is this subject good for future jobs and University? 

History is a facilitating subject meaning that the Russell Group of Elite Universities have said that it develops key skills that are useful in any degree.  Employers love the source interpretation skills that history gives you and the fact that history shows you can communicate your ideas well in writing. 

Does history go with my other options? 

As it is a facilitating subject and helps us to understand the present and future world history work well in combination with any subject. 

Can I choose what areas and time periods I study? 

The short answer is no, but, as a history department we have given lots of time and thought to which topics are most interesting and allow you to do well in the exam.  We have ensured that we study GCSE units covering the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA and have a wide temporal (time) scope.  The units cover a mix of modern history and older time periods. 

For further information please contact:

Mr N Hart nha@westagte.slough.sch.uk Curriculum Leader of Humanities