History is not just blindly accepting the world for what it says it is but always questioning it.

At Parkside we believe that History helps to make better citizens. Through looking at past events and interpretations of them, pupils are encouraged to think independently, critically and objectively about the world around them. Parkside’s curriculum engages with a wide range of historical narratives to broaden their outlook of the world, cultures and political narratives.  

By engaging with complex and emotive issues in the past, pupils are led to draw relevant and contemporary parallels which challenge them to maintain open minds and confront prejudice. 

It is the strong belief of the department that our pupils look at the evidence provided to them and to freely come to their own judgements and opinions. There is always something which will interest pupils in History because it involves the whole of human experience. 

History at Parkside delivers a wide skill set. Pupils are equipped and supported to draw upon a wide range of skills and knowledge in their History lessons: from the art of writing to the science of source analysis, pupils are taught the ability to back up these skills with key knowledge.  

Pupils will be exposed to a range of experiences beyond their own lives; this helps to promote understanding and acceptance in the modern world and to explore our countries unique influence in shaping the world we inhabit. Pupils are encouraged to use information critically, no matter the source. This is vital when interpreting the news media, reading books or even in conversation. 

Pupils are given the opportunity to see both sides of a given situation and construct effective arguments for either side. We ensure that our pupils can communicate effectively in a wide range of forms and situations. They are able to present information, analysis and interpretations in a well informed and balanced manner. Significantly, our curriculum ensures that pupils develop an appreciation of historical empathy and understand their own place within a larger human story while building upon their understanding of important British values such as democracy, tolerance, individual liberty, and rule of law. 

Pupils are taught by subject specialists, with extensive expertise in the subject. This sparks a genuine interest and a passion for History is encouraged.

Pupils are engaged and find enjoyment in the study of History. Pupils are inspired to continue their interest in history in the next stage of their education.

Pupils are encouraged to see the present in the context of the past. They develop a respect for the people in the past and begin to understand them on their own terms.

Year 5

Long arc of study in Year 5:

The achievements of earliest civilisations and how they've impacted us. Linking historical knowledge back to the lives we live today.

Transition baseline:

Inspiration Day - What makes a historian?

This topic concentrates on core historical skills - chronology (signposting key dates and events already studied and due to study), vocabulary and connections / contrasts / trends over time.


How did the Vikings impact on Anglo-Saxon Britain?

Building upon work from Year 4 focusing on Anglo-Saxons, introduction of the period in relation to then. Study to focus on people and livelihoods (including peasantry, wealth), and how this compares and contrasts to the Anglo-Saxons. Focus on key players Alfred the Great and Athelstan. Pupils discuss how Viking civilisation impacted and changed Britain, including language and land use, religion and beliefs.

Ancient Greece:

How has Ancient Greece influenced British society?

With a focus on the birth of democracy (parliament) and western civilisation. Pupils compare Sparta and Athens. They then progress to evaluate how this has impacted Britain.


Ancient Mayans:

How did the Mayans civilisation contrast with British society?     

(Empire and civilisation) Pupils develop their understanding of chronology, with an in-depth study of the Mayan civilisation. Pupils look at fact and opinion (source reliability),  as well as analysing the similarities and differences to today.

Year 6

Long arc of study in Year 6:

What were some of the significant turning points in modern British history?

Local history study:

What is the hidden history of here?

Pupils will look at the origins of industry in local area: their study will include the nailers in Bromsgrove; glass in Brierley Hill; needle-makers in Redditch; glovers in Worcester and the Birmingham / Worcester canals. The history of the local area will be brought to life by a trip to the Black Country Museum.

Industrial Revolution:

How did Britain impact the rest of the world?

Pupils will explore the impact of the Factory and Education Acts. They will use census information and explore how historians can identify changes in law. We will look at origins of the Industrial Revolution and why it was a significant turning point for Britain. This unit will focus on Britain’s impact on the rest of the world and how the revolution changed into how we live today.


World War Two:

What was Britain’s involvement in World War Two?

Why did Britain get involved and how did the War begin? Pupils will look at key 'battles' and turning points, including Battle of Britain, breaking of the enigma code, Battle of the North Atlantic, rationing and trade links.

Year 7

Long arc of study in Year 7:

Shifts in British History: class and power; the role of religion.

Norman Conquest

  1. Why was 1066 a year of crisis in England?
  2. Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?
  3. How far did the Normans change England?

Pupils will explore this hugely important period in the history of the British Isles, because it allows pupils to appreciate the chaotic origins of England as a nation state. Pupils will be able to perceive the diversity of Britain before the conquest, as well as exploring how the Normans altered the power dynamics in the country. The Norman Conquest also allows us to shed light on the major religious and social changes which go on to define the Middle Ages and ultimately shape our heritage landscape.

Medieval Life

  1. "Mucky and Miserable" - Is this a good way to describe a peasant's life in the Middle Ages?
  2. Why were the peasants revolting?

This unit extends and builds on the exploration of the social impact of the Norman Conquest and provides a useful foundation for developing understanding of later History. Pupils will explore a broad social history approach to Life in Medieval England and have an opportunity to understand what links us to peoples in the past. An in-depth enquiry encourages pupils to look at the lives of ordinary people with investigations into different aspects of village life and to understand their beliefs, values and motives. It encourages them to challenge the popular misconceptions presented by the popular media about Life in the Middle Ages. The focus on the key event of the Black Death enables them to explore its impact on life in Britain and to consider change and continuity over time. The second part of the unit focuses on the Peasants’ Revolt and explores the relationship between the peasantry and authority. It explores the motives behind the challenge to authority and the power dynamics of the Middle Ages. It also questions the impact of this event on peoples’ lives. This links with future study of the causes of the French Revolution.


  1. ‘It was all about Henry VIII having a son wasn’t it?’ Exploding myths about the Reformation
  2. Extreme Makeover? How far did the Reformation change England?

The English Reformation has been identified as a key turning point in the development of Church-State relations in English history. It is often shown as the point when Britain began to move towards its own Renaissance, awakening from beneath the common veil of medieval ignorance.


This unit will allow pupils to explore their own conclusions on the significance of the English Reformation, looking at ways in which life in England changed between 1509 and 1603. In addition to this, pupils will also look at the origins of the Reformation, in the process, challenging common simplifications about the role of Henry’s divorce in driving the Reformation. Pupils will be asked to weigh the impact of different factors in leading to such a major change.

Culturally, this unit is important to help pupils understand the modern link between Church and State. It is also a good point to explore the differing impacts of big events on those with and without power. The Reformation therefore becomes a lens through which we can access the thoughts and feelings of real people from the very top to the very bottom of society – with direct links to Y8.

English Civil War

  1. Why did Charles lose control in 1642?
  2. Was Charles I execution inevitable?
  3. Cromwell: A man to be admired or hated?

The English Civil War is a hugely important period in the history of the British Isles, not just for its own fame, but also because it allows pupils to appreciate the chaotic origins of the United Kingdom. It allows pupils to explore how the Civil War altered the power dynamics in the country.

The first part of the topic looks at how the actions of individuals and underlying conditions shape events. The second half takes a look at the Civil war itself and the last section looks at the impact of these changes with the ascendance of Cromwell and the Restoration.

Year 8

Long arc of study in Year 8:

Ideas and political power; control and collapse of imposed power; democracy and voice for people.

French Revolution

  1. Why did the French overthrow their king in 1789? 
  2. How Far did the French Revolution Change France?

This unit is crucial to pupils’ understanding of modern politics, as well as highlighting the roots of concepts such as citizenship, and human rights, as well as influencing the development of the emergent United States.


The unit ties together the themes of the English Civil War from the end of Year 7 and allows pupils to see how the power struggle played out very differently across the channel. It also allows pupils a good opportunity to begin studying events in more depth. The three enquiries structure pupils through a causal analysis of the revolution, to questions of evidence and impact.

British Empire

  1. How should we remember the British Empire?
  2. 2. How did America become a British colony?
  3. 3. Who were the winners and losers of the British Empire?
  4. 4. Why do people still disagree about the British Empire?

This unit explores how the British Empire saw itself during its height in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and then seeks to find evidence to support or challenge these portrayals of empire. Pupils will explore representations of empire and study the experiences of those who lived under British imperial rule. Pupils will be asked to consider the nature of the empire and explore its impact for better or worse on a diverse range of people. The final section of the unit asks pupils to explore the continuing debate over the Empire and why it is still such a “hot topic”. Through the unit, pupils will also develop a growing understanding of Britain’s place in the wider world as well as developing their ability to work with second order concepts such as diversity and historical interpretations.


  1. Should we apologise for our past?
  2. Why was the Slave Trade really abolished?

In this unit pupils will examine the Slave Trade and Britain’s role within this. Pupils will explore the social, economic and political influences behind the Slave Trade. They will be focussing on developing their understanding of the horrors of the slave trade. They will also be practicing their skills of enquiry, using historical evidence to deepen their understanding of the period. They will further develop their understanding of causation in looking at abolition – particularly in challenging a particular view of abolition. The topic is important in developing an understanding about why attitudes to slavery changed over time, and how something which was once acceptable became unacceptable. It also has good links with historical empathy and gives students a chance to consider how modern world views have been shaped.

The second part of the unit will be an enquiry into the abolition of the Slave Trade.