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Project Description

(Exam board: AQA)

Subject aims

History at Painsley Catholic College aims to provide students with an opportunity to embark on a chronological journey through time, making stops at the most prominent and important moments in history.

As a department, we are passionate about encouraging students to develop an interest in the past and the way in which it has shaped the world that we now live in. We provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in numerous examples of human achievements, both British and worldwide, as well as being able to develop a sense of empathy when studying events of tragedy and catastrophe. We believe that the study of history is crucial in allowing students to develop into empathetic and tolerant young adults with a thirst for learning and research.

Additionally, we aim to provide students with a number of transferable skills where they are able to interpret, analyse and evaluate a wide variety of contemporary and modern source materials. They will also be able to distinguish between historical facts and interpretations of those facts, ensuring an appreciation of how people living at the time viewed certain events/developments and the views of those writing in later years.

Finally, students will learn a range of communication skills such as articulating ideas, formulating arguments and expressing opinion, while respecting and acknowledging the opinions and views of others.

Curriculum overview

During their time at our Sixth Form, students will complete three units across two years. The course follows the AQA syllabus and consists of two units of examinations and one unit which is coursework.

Revolution and dictatorship: Russia, 1917-53

This option provides for the study in depth of the coming and practice of communism in Russia. It explores concepts such as Marxism, communism, Leninism, and Stalinism, ideological control and dictatorship. It also enables students to consider issues of political authority, the power of individuals and the inter-relationship of governmental and economic and social change.

The Russian Revolution and the Rise of Stalin, 1917-1929

    • Dissent and Revolution, 1917
    • Bolshevik consolidation, 1918-1924
    • Stalin’s rise to power, 1924-1929
  • Stalin’s Rule, 1929-1953
    • Economy and society, 1929-1941
    • Stalinism, politics and control, 1929-1941
    • The Great Patriotic War and
    • Stalin’s Dictatorship, 1941-1953

The Tudors: England, 1485-1603

This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period. Additionally, students will study in detail the Tudor monarchy and government, relations with foreign powers and securing succession, English society and economy, intellectual and religious ideas and change as well as the role of key individuals and how they were affected by developments.

  • Dynasty: England, 1485-1547
    • Henry VII, 1485-1509
    • Henry VIII, 1509-1547
  • England: turmoil and triumph, 1547-1603
    • Instability and consolidation: ‘the Mid-Tudor Crisis’, 1547-1563
    • The triumph of Elizabeth, 1563-1603

Historical investigation: ‘The changing position of women in Britain from 1860-1960’

Students have to complete a non-examination assessment (NEA) which includes the study and analysis of primary sources and historians’ interpretations in the format of a written essay of no more than 4500 words. This unit will set students in excellent stead for future higher education assessments.


Subject staff

Mrs L. Brown – Head of Department

Mrs L. Stanway – Second in Department

Mrs T. Parton – History teacher

Miss L. Wrightson – History teacher

Mrs J. McCusker – History teacher

Miss M. Nicholson – History teacher

Miss A. Byatt – History teacher


Useful links

AQA A-Level History – https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/history/as-and-a-level

Seneca Learning – https://www.senecalearning.com/en-GB/



History club

Once a week, students from all year groups are invited to History club where students interact with a chosen area of history that has been chosen by our history ambassadors. This will often be a subject that is not on the National Curriculum in order to give students the opportunity to widen their historical knowledge as well as pursue areas of interest.  During history club, students will be looking towards creating board games, posters and watch historical films in order to facilitate their interest in history.

Ambassador opportunity

The history department are also pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for students with a passion for history to be able to apply to become a history ambassador. The successful applicants will be responsible for assisting the running of history club, providing extra support to students from other year groups as well as ensuring the history classrooms remain stimulating and appealing environments to facilitate learning.

School trips

We offer a number of opportunities for students in all year groups to take their learning outside of the classroom and gain cultural capital. For the upcoming academic year, the department are looking to facilitate the trips below for students:

KS5 – Hampton Court Palace