GCSE History is an open and enabling course which suits students who enjoy the freedom of working in many different media and developing ideas using a wide variety of historical sources

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aim and objectives


Our students all develop work from vocational briefs which are linked to the AQA framework. The course is linear (two end of year 11 exams)


Paper 1 Understanding the modern world

Paper 2 Shaping the nation


  • Vocationally based projects (live briefs)
  • Working from Historical references which are relevant to english and world history
  • Using a critical and contextual sources journal
  • Discussion and written annotation linked to historical research and developing personal opinion



Scope of study

British history must form a minimum of 40% of the assessed content over the full course

  • Three Eras
    • Medieval (500–1500)
    • Early Modern (1450–1750)
    • Modern (1700–present day)
  • Three Timescales
    • Short (depth study)
    • Medium (period study)
    • Long (thematic study)
  • Three Geographical Contexts
    • A locality (the historic environment)
    • British
    • European and/or wider world settings



One thematic study

This enables students to understand change and continuity across a long sweep of history. The study must cover all three specified eras

One period study

This allows students to focus on a substantial and coherent medium time span of at least 50 years. The study will require students to understand an unfolding narrative of substantial developments and issues. The period study can be from any of the specified eras

Two depth studies

One British and one European/wider world. Depth studies enable students to focus on a substantial and coherent short time span. The studies enable students to gain understanding of the complexities of a society or historical situation and the interplay of different aspects within it. Depth studies must be taken from different eras

A study of the historic environment

The study of the historic environment should focus on a particular site in its historical context and enable students to study the relationship between a place and historical events and developments. There is no requirement to visit the site. This study can be linked to any other part of the course or may stand alone


  • Journalist
  • Art Historian
  • Archaeologist
  • Diplomatic Service
  • Civil servant
  • Architect
  • Conservationist
  • TV and Film Journalist

Exam Board

We use the AQA specification for our History GCSE, below you will find links to the year 11 specification and the new 2016 spec

2015-17 – Current / Old Specification

2016 – New Specification

Course Leader
Helen Drummond

Coming to work in Ancoats, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, must be every history teacher’s dream so I feel very privileged that it’s become my reality since starting at MCS in 2016.  A Mancunian by birth, I left the north west in the 80s to read History at university.  Then, from a distance of 200 miles, I re-discovered the importance of Manchester, the original industrial Victorian city.  Teaching is in fact my third career having worked first in administration and then in law.  Part of what makes MCS unique is that staff are valued for their life experience.  Every adult is able to use practical knowledge to bring learning in the classroom to life.  This makes learning less abstract and more grounded in reality. Outside school, I’m a volunteer for Manchester Histories Festival, a member of the Historical Association and a supporter of the Schools History Project (SHP).  I’m currently involved in research for a National Heritage Lottery funded project concerning Armenians in the First World War.  In the rare moments when I’m not thinking about history, I can usually be found watching football