Subject Team

Mr S Dunlop (Head Of Department)
Mrs J Coen
Miss C Patterson
Mr N Quaile

Department Aims

  1. Acquire knowledge and understanding of the past;
  2. Investigate historical events, people, changes and issues
  3. Develop understanding of how the past has been represented and interpreted;
  4. Use historical and political sources critically and in context;
  5. Draw conclusions and be able to reinterpret these in the light of new information
  6. Understand the development of the contemporary world
  7. Build up a historical vocabulary
  8. Improve standards of literacy, oral communication and numeracy
  9. Have an understanding of the development of modern political societies
  10. Develop their own political opinions and be able to argue for them.


GCSE History

Examination Board: CCEA

What is GCSE History about?

GCSE History covers a number of topics from Germany between the wars and the rise of the Nazis to Northern Ireland from the 1960s to 1985, focusing on the development of the troubles.  A range of skills are developed including the ability to communicate in both oral and written form, to work with others, to listen to and accept differing views, to extract information from a range of source materials and to reason and present organised and supported arguments.

What can this subject lead to?

Content Assessment Weighting
Component  1

Two Outline Studies

Germany 1933-45

Changing relationships in NI 1965-98



External Examination 60%
Component  2


Depth Study

International Relations 1945-2003


External Examination 40%

What can this subject lead to?

History is a valued subject among many further education institutions and with employers who value the skills developed by the course. There are some jobs which relate directly to History but graduates of the subject are employed in many differing careers, such as law, accountancy, media, sport and business.

A Level


Examination Board: CCEA 

What is A Level History about?

Our study focuses on the sixteenth century and develops a range of skills which are applicable today. Students must gather information and report both orally and in written form, work with others, use a range of methods of communication, develop critical thinking skills and develop historical interpretation.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

Content Assessment Weighting
Unit 1 ENGLAND 1520-70 External Examination 25%
Unit 2 Spain 1556-1592 External Examination 25%
Unit 3 Elizabeth I 1570-1603 External Assessment 30%
Unit 4 Anglo-Spanish Relations 1509-1609 External Assessment 20%

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

Students will use a number of skills in this subject and these include gathering information, expressing opinions in both oral and written forms and understanding and interpreting source materials.

A range of communication skills alongside critical thinking skills open doors to a wide range of careers.  Some of the main career pathways for students of History include law; management and consultancy; publishing and public relations; marketing and advertising; business and finance; accountancy; investigative journalism; politics and political research; media, broadcasting and communications and, of course, teaching and lecturing!  Interestingly in 2012-13 only 13% of History graduates in the UK entered teaching and 2.3% entered post-graduate study for the medical profession.

History requires a grade B at GCSE.


Government and Politics

Examination Board: CCEA

What is A Level Government and Politics about?

This is the study of political systems in Northern Ireland, GB and the USA. It also involves the study of political thinking.

AS and A2 Government and Politics develop essential knowledge and understanding of politics. This course concentrates on developing skills rather than knowledge. Students look at motivation behind actions and develop ways to argue their case. Much of the work will be carried out through group discussion which can be reported orally or in written form. 

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

Content Assessment Weighting
Unit 1 Government and Politics of Northern Ireland External Examination 20%
Unit 2 British Politics External Examination 30%
Unit 3 Comparative Politics USA & UK External Assessment 30%
Unit 4 Political Power External Assessment 20%

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

The analytical and investigative skills developed in this course can contribute to a wide range of careers.  Some of the main career pathways for students of Politics include law, management and consultancy, publishing and public relations, marketing and advertising, business and finance, accountancy, investigative journalism, politics and political research, media, broadcasting and communications and, of course, teaching and lecturing.

Politics requires a grade B in GCSE History or a grade B in both English Language and English Literature.


Department News / Events

In the Spotlight for PC’s Broadcasters and Politicians

Five students were invited to join the audience for BBC Spotlight on 24th October.

Matthew Wilson enjoyed his role as a panellist at the top table for the warm up with Mandy McCauley, articulating the politician’s viewpoint with vigour.  Nye Crozier put a question to the DUP’s Edwin Poots, while Penny McCullough was chosen to present her question on abortion to the panel.

Kathryn Reilly and Rachel Turner also enjoyed the audience experience as well as the anticipation following the submission of questions in the Green Room.

Meeting host Noel Thompson at the end and actually sitting with him at the top table was the highlight of the evening for students and teachers alike.


Educational Visits / Trips

As Historians and students of Politics we are surrounded by lots of living examples of History and as a school we try to enable our students to experience some of these.  We carry many visits such as:

  • Visits to Stormont
  • To Politics Conferences
  • To Belfast to see Murals and the Crumlin Road Goal
  • To watch films, such as ‘The Butler”

Former student returns to PC to inspire students

Former student and advisor to MP James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, returned to the College to share his experiences and Political journey with A Level Politics students.

Political Journalism Workshop with Mark Devenport

Year 14 Politics students benefitted from a Political Journalism Workshop organised by Cinemagic with BBC Political Correspondent Mark Devenport.

Mark shared his transferable skills from Politics into Journalism, giving the students a few tips about pursuing a career in Journalism: “If you don’t write about it, someone else will.” Mark reinforced the building of a portfolio as essential regardless of how ‘important’ the stories are.

Politics Students participate in UN Day Celebrations

PC Politics students participated in the UN Day in Armagh hosted by ABC Council Lord Mayor, Councillor Julie Flaherty.  Students were addressed by Capt. Tom Fitzpatrick who currently works with the UN in Lebanon and Kevin Hyland OBE, UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner. 

We also attempt to carry out a major visit yearly.  Past trips include:

  • London 2015
  • Berlin and Krakow 2014
  • London 2013
  • WW1 Battlefields 2012

london 14


Although the study of History is not job specific, its students have the skills that enable them to pursue a multiplicity of careers demanding a wide range of talents, and they do so extremely successfully in an open and competitive jobs market.” 

The study of History provides students with a wide range of transferable skills, which are important in many career fields. Understanding and analysis of issues and events are of key importance to historians and can be applied in many other fields of work. Other skill areas developed in studying history include:

  • Understanding of and experience in research methodology;
  • Statistical compilation and analysis;
  • Information management;
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills;
  • Verbal and written literacy;

We attempt to show our students the jobs that can be linked to History by considering some high profile cases but more importantly with examples of the careers our own past pupils have moved into.