The Sir Martin Gilbert History Prize


The Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre is delighted to announce the 2024 Sir Martin Gilbert History Prize.

The essay question for this competition is:

Were Jewish refugees welcomed to Britain during the Nazi period? 

The aim of the competition is to encourage students to engage in historical debate, using a range of sources to support their arguments. Essays should be between 1,500- 2,000 words. 

The essay competition is open to UK schools, for secondary school students in Years 7–13. Only one entry will be accepted per student. Entries must be submitted by 31 January 2024, and the winning entry will be announced before the end of March 2024.

There will be first prizes of £150 awarded in the following categories: Years 7, 8, 9; Years 10, 11; Years 12, 13. A runner-up prize of £75 will be awarded in each of the three categories. Awards will be presented at a prizegiving ceremony, details will be communicated to winners in due course. 

There are a range of resources available on our website, including an essay writing guide, advice on how to use sources, and an information pack on Jewish migration to Britain in the 1930s.


The Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre is also offering FREE in-person or online sessions on British responses to Jewish refugees – if you would like to book a session, please email Dr Bethany Gaunt on  


Entries should be submitted in Word or PDF format, using the form below. Entries must be submitted by 11.59pm on 31 January 2024.

Essays will be marked on the following criteria:

  • Writing style, clarity and concision
  • Use of primary source material
  • Strength and persuasiveness of argument
  • Evidence of independent thought and intellectual curiosity.


We have created some resources to help students and teachers prepare for the essay competition. We would love to hear your feedback, please email with comments and suggestions.

Jewish migration to Britain during the Nazi period, resource pack
Working with sources
Essay-writing guide

Terms and guidelines 

  1. The essay competition is open to UK schools only. 
  2. Only one entry per student will be accepted.
  3. Students must be in school years 7-13 to enter this competition.  
  4. Entries should be submitted in Word or PDF format, using the form on our website (below)
  5. Entries must be submitted by 11.59pm on 31 January 2024.  
  6. Essays should be 1500–2000 words long, not including notes and bibliography.
  7. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style for your notes and bibliography. 
  8. Please make the lines double-spaced and use size 12 font for your entry.
  9. Students must only enter their own, independent work. Teachers may provide guidance on finding sources, and may discuss the question in general terms, but students should not receive help or feedback on their essay. 
  10. By entering the essay competition, students agree to their name and school name being featured in associated publicity on our website, on social media and in any other platforms.  
  11. We are unable to provide feedback on individual essays.  
  12. We are unable to contact all entrants individually. Please check our website by 30th March 2024 to see the outcome. Winners will be advised via email. By submitting your essay, you agree for us to contact you via email.
  13. Essays which do not meet the criteria outlined above will be disqualified.  

Your details

Email address(Required)
Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 256 MB.

The quality of the entries was incredible. This is a great way of encouraging the next generation of historians. A fitting tribute to Sir Martin.

Allen Packwood, Director, Churchill Archives Centre