Young Historian Awards 2024 – take part (Secondary prizes)

History competition for students

Published: 8th September 2023

Young people researching and writing history – and getting recognised for it!

Researching, writing and presenting ideas about a historical theme or period is one of the best parts about studying history. We want young school and college aged students to get the bug for writing about history in an incisive, interesting and critical way.

That is why each year the Historical Association in collaboration with the Spirit of Normandy Trust has organised a series of awards for outstanding history scholarship. Young people aged from 11-19 years are asked to investigate, analyse and write about history. The subject categories cover local history, the modern world and especially aspects of 20th-century history. 

These awards and the partnership of over 25 years hope to encourage and produce the historians of the future as well as engaging young people with meaningful historical questions and issues of local interest.

So if you think you or your students could be the next Margaret MacMillan or Anthony Beevor, get thinking about the questions and subjects that matter and that meet the questions and topics below.

For the Primary competition see here

The closing date for entries is 20 July 2024 (1 July for overseas entries). 

Please note: entries supplied by under 16s must be sent by a parent or teacher.

Young Historian Prizes in 2024

  • The Rev John Louis Petit Award (essay competition) – see below for details
  • Spirit of Normandy Trust Prize for GCSE/A Level students: for individual work on any aspect of British involvement in the Second World War. 
  • Spirit of Normandy Trust Prize for Key Stage 3: for individual work on any aspect of British involvement in the Second World War
  • GCSE World War 1 Prize: for individual work on any aspect of the First World War
  • Key Stage 3 World War 1 Prize: for any individual work on the First World War
  • GCSE Modern World Prize: for individual work on any aspect of the Modern World
  • 16-19 Local History Prize for Schools and Colleges: for individual personal enquiries into Local History
  • GCSE Local History Prize: for individual work on a Local History theme
  • Key Stage 3 Local History Prize: for individual work on any Local History theme
  • Mid-Trent Historical Association Prize for the Best Secondary School History Magazine

The purpose of these Prizes is to encourage you to think, research and frame your own questions that you will answer from further reading and research. This might be the result of a piece of work your teacher has set you to do at home during the current situation, or it may be a piece of research you are carrying out for your own interest. It is also an opportunity to perhaps tell some of the untold stories around the themes. Good luck!

Rev John Louis Petit Award

The Rev Petit Society are once again funding an essay competition within the Young Historian Awards for work connected to the life and work of the Rev John Louis Petit (1801-1868).

Petit was an important 19th-century artist and architectural commentator. Essentially an impressionistic artist, his artistic legacy amounted to approximately 14,000 water colours and sketches.

His work can be explored on but interested schools will be given, on request, a copy of an informative and illustrated book – Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire  the contents of which extend much further afield, within the Midlands but also nationally and internationally. Images of Petit pictures, churches and secular structures near to a school will be supplied.

Entries with a substantial focus on Petit’s work will be assessed by the regular Young Historian judging panel. The prize will be £40.00 for the winning student and £40.00 for their school.

Contact us

Enquiries about these Prizes are most welcome and further particulars can be obtained from:

The Young Historian Project, 36 Heritage Court, Lichfield Staffordshire WS14 9ST.

Or phone to discuss the details with Dr Trevor James on 01543 258434.

The closing date for entries is 20 July 2024 (1 July for overseas entries). If you would like to submit your entry by email please send it to including details of which prize you are submitting for, the entrant name, date of birth, entrant's postal address and school name/address.