Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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History & Politics

Key Stage 3

Course Content

  • The Norman Conquest

  • Medieval Castles

  • The problems of medieval monarchs

  • Development of Parliament

  • The Crusades and religious intolerance

  • Life in medieval England

  • How religious were people in Medieval England

  • The Reformation

  • Elizabethan England

  • The Gunpower plot

  • Civil War

  • The Restoration

  • Ireland 1500-1750

  • Migration: the Celts to the present day

  • The industrial revolution and the slave trade

  • The British and racism: slave ships

  • The British and racism: plantations

  • Rebellion and resistance

  • Abolition of slavery

  • Industrial revolution

  • Development of democracy

  • Causes WW1

  • Trench warfare

  • Rise of dictatorships: Italy – Mussolini and Abyssinia

  • Causes of WW2: failure of the League of nations – Mussolini and Abyssinia

  • Experiences of WW2

  • The Holocaust

  • Concentration camps

  • Ghettos

  • Final solution and death camps

KS4 (Edexcel)

The History GCSE course is run by the Edexcel Examining Board. The course falls into three parts:

Course Content

Paper 1 (30%)

  • Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present and Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city

Paper 2 (40%)

  • Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88
  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91

Paper 3 (30%)

  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

There are three examination papers and no controlled assessment. The thematic study will comprise of source and essay based questions. The period study and British Depth Study will consist of essay based questions only and the Modern Depth Study will contain source based questions.


History in the Sixth Form will enable you to acquire and communicate knowledge and understanding of selected periods of History, develop your understanding of historical terms and concepts, of how the past has been interpreted and of the nature of historical study, explore the significance of events and individuals in society, understand the nature of historical evidence and methods used by historians in analysis and evaluation and, perhaps most importantly, develop your enthusiasm and interest in History.

British History 1900-51 (Source and contextual knowledge paper)

Key Issues

  • What was the impact of the First World War on the Labour and Liberal parties by 1918; and why did the Labour party gain and lose power in 1924?
  • How successful was the Conservative party from 1918 to 1929?
  • What were the causes and significance of the General Strike (1926)?
  • Why was a National government formed in 1931 and how successfully did the National governments of 1931–39 deal with their domestic problems?
  • What was the relationship between war and welfare developments 1939–51?
  • Why did the Labour Party win the 1945 Election but lose in 1951?

Indicative Content

  • The outcome of the 1918 Election, the fall of Lloyd George’s coalition in 1922, divisions among the Liberals, the 1923 Election, MacDonald’s aims in government, domestic reforms (e.g housing), foreign relations, defeat in 1924.
  • The condition of the Conservative party in 1918, the leadership of Bonar Law and Baldwin, end of the coalition with Lloyd George, the ministries of 1922–29, Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Chamberlain’s reforms.
  • Post-war economic conditions; the problems of the mining industry; ‘Red Friday’ 1925; the immediate causes of the General Strike; the roles of government, trade unions and popular opinion; the reasons for the failure of the Strike.
  • The 1929 government, MacDonald as Labour Prime Minister, Snowden as Chancellor of the Exchequer, domestic reforms (especially housing), formation of the National government, MacDonald and Baldwin as Prime Ministers, economic problems, unemployment, the policies of the National governments, extent of recovery by 1939.
  • The effects of war on food, women, industry, health and housing; wartime reports (Beveridge, Butler and education); the Labour government 1945–51 and its record on national insurance, health, housing, education and nationalisation; the impact of their reforms.
  • The issues in the 1945 election, reputation of the Conservative and Labour parties, outcome of the election, Attlee as Prime Minister, government policies and achievements, problems (balance of payments, rationing, wage freezes), internal divisions, Conservative reorganisation.

The French Revolution (contextual knowledge paper)

Key Issues

  • What were the economic and social causes of the Revolution?
  • What were the political causes of the Revolution?
  • What was the nature of the Revolution during 1789–92?
  • What were the reasons for the rise and fall of the Terror from October 1792 to 1795?

Indicative Content

  • The social and economic problems of the ancient régime in France; the impact of enlightened ideas in France (while the emphasis is on the period from 1774, candidates should have a general background understanding of longer-term ancient régime issues); the impact of war and the American Revolution.
  • Shorter-term political causes of the Revolution: the political and financial impact of the American Revolution; the financial and political problems of the Crown; the influence of Louis XVI; attempts at reform by Turgot, Calonne and Necker; and the attitudes of the nobility to reform.
  • The main revolutionary events of 1789 to September 1792: the Calling of the Estates
  • General, the Oath of the Tennis Court, the constitution of 1791, the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy, the significance of riots and direct popular action 1789–92.
  • The Convention and the Terror, the rise of Robespierre, internal changes and the impact of war; the destruction of the Girondins, opposition to the Jacobins and the fall of Robespierre; the establishment of the Thermidorian regime.

Britain 1900-1951 (coursework)

Pupils choose a title from a pre-approved list from this unit studied in Lower Sixth.  The coursework is worth 20% of the overall marks and is approximately 3000-4000 words long.

American History (Civil Rights thematic paper)

This theme focuses on the struggle of citizens in the United States to gain equality before the law without regard to ethnic origin, gender or wealth. Candidates should understand the factors which encouraged and discouraged change during this period.

Candidates are not expected to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the specification content but are expected to know the main developments and turning points relevant to the theme.

  • African Americans: their position in 1865; the role of African Americans in gaining civil rights (eg Booker T. Washington, Dubois, Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers); the roles of Federal (Presidents, Congress and Supreme Court) and State governments in the struggle; the role of anti- and pro-civil rights groups; the Civil Rights Movement to 1992.
  • Trade Union and Labour Rights: union and labour rights in 1865; the impact of New Immigration on union development; the role of Federal governments in supporting and opposing union and labour rights; the impact of the World Wars on union and labour rights; the significance of the 1960s.
  • Native Americans: their position in 1865; the impact of the Dawes Act 1887, of the acquisition of US citizenship 1924, of the New Deal, of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s; Native Americans and the Supreme Court; Native American pressure groups.
  • Women: their position in 1865; the impact on women’s rights of the campaign for prohibition, the campaign of women’s suffrage, the New Deal, the World Wars, the rise of feminism and its opponents, Roe v Wade 1973, the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, and changing economic and employment opportunities.

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Politics A Level (Edexcel)

The course is designed to develop an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues within the UK and USA.  Pupils will also develop a critical awareness of the changing relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes to promote a sense of the rights and responsibilities of the individual within society. No previous knowledge of Government and Politics is required, though an interest in current affairs is essential, as is the reading a quality daily newspaper, such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph or The Guardian.


Component 1: Political Participation and core political ideas

Written exam: 2 hours, 84 marks, 33.3% of the marks

In addition this paper will also cover core political ideas – Conservatism, Socialism and Liberalism

Conservatism:  Core ideas & thinkers, differing views and tensions  within conservatism, key thinkers

Liberalism: Core ideas & thinkers, differing views and tensions  within Liberalism, key thinkers

Socialism:  Core ideas & thinkers, differing views and tensions  within Socialism, key thinkers


Component 2: UK Government and non-core political ideas

Written exam: 2 hours, 84 marks, 33.3% of the marks

In addition pupils will study feminism as a political idea


Component 3: Comparative Politics (USA)

Written exam: 2 hours, 84 marks, 33.3% of the marks

Pupils will study the US Constitution and federalism, US Congress, US presidency, US Supreme Court and civil rights, democracy and participation, comparative theories.

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