John Simkin's blog - latest post

In Defence of the New History in Schools

On 16th February 2024, Mike Hill, the Head of History at the Ark Soane Academy in Acton, wrote on Twitter: "Perhaps the worst development in history teaching over the last fifty years has been the idea that pupils should learn history ‘from sources' often by ‘inferring' information or piecing it together for themselves." As someone who was partly responsible for promoting this approach to history via my role in producing teaching materials for Tressell Publications (1980-1983) and Spartacus Educational (1984-2024) I thought it was important to answer these criticisms by setting what became known as the New History in its historical perspective.


  • Spartacus on Facebook
  • Follow @JohnSimkin on Twitter
  • @SpartacusEd Twitter account
John Simkin

In September, 1997, Spartacus Educational founder and managing director John Simkin became the first educational publisher in Britain to establish a website that was willing to provide teachers and students with free educational materials.

According to a survey carried out by the Fischer Trust, Spartacus Educational is one of the top three websites used by history teachers and students in Britain (the other two are BBC History and the Public Record Office’s Learning Curve). The Spartacus Educational website currently gets up to 7 million page impressions a month and 3 million unique visitors.

As well as running the Spartacus Educational website John Simkin has also produced material for the Electronic Telegraph, the European Virtual School and the Guardian's educational website, Learn. He was also a member of the European History E-Learning Project (E-Help), a project to encourage and improve use of ICT and the internet in classrooms across the continent.

We have published six e-books, Charles Dickens: A Biography (October, 2012), First World War Encyclopedia (October, 2012), Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia (November, 2012), Gandhi: A Biography (December, 2012), The Spanish Civil War (December, 2012) and The American Civil War (December, 2012). He also contributed an article to the recently published book, Using New Technologies to Enhance Teaching and Learning in History (December, 2012).

New Additions

Book of the Week

Learning to Teach History

Learning to Teach History