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Holocaust Beacon School

Holocaust Education and Moor End Academy 2020-22
Since 2012, the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education’s Beacon Schools Programme has worked directly with 165 secondary schools and impacted upwards of 160,000 young people. These Beacon Schools become dynamic hubs serving a physical or virtual network of local schools and in partnership with the Centre, improve teaching standards, raise pupil achievement, strengthen SMSC provision, support wider school policies on safeguarding and inclusion, and encourage community and social cohesion.
In 2020021 we successfully took up a prestigious opportunity to be part of national programme, joining a cohort of 23 secondary schools across the country, who are committed to developing the way the Holocaust is taught in England’s secondary schools in every year since.

As a UCL Beacon School, Moor End Academy students and staff built a brand-new community of practice. We support and signpost local schools and colleagues to UCL’s wide-ranging FREE offer of ongoing professional development programme and share innovative approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. Dale Harden, Lead teacher for the programme says
“The fundamental approach we must take, through the example of learning about the victims of the holocaust, is to not preconceive or prejudge our views based upon conjecture and what we think we know. We owe it to the victims of the holocaust to see people through the lens of reality, not just politics or propaganda. The stories of these oppressed people from the 1930's and 1940's shows that making easy judgements based upon a lack of knowledge and understanding can lead to catastrophic consequences. We humanise the faces of the holocaust and learn about the journey they made, not just the horrific ending.”

In every year since the programme has been started we have delivered a world class programme of learning that has produced 11 lessons to allow our students to access to the latest academic, pedagogical and international research. We have had support from authors like Tom Palmer and Helen McCord and have led the school on cross curricular training and learning focused around Holocaust Memorial Day.
We have added resources to the school Literacy and numeracy programmes and have involved all year groups in Holocaust Memorial Day activities when every subject has evaluated the Holocaust through their own skills, technology and knowledge.

Through our Holocaust education programme, we have learned:

  • How to support students, listen to them and allow space to think about and discuss challenging and controversial issues
  • UCL pedagogy showed us how to plan, deliver and reflect upon what we think we know
  • Misconceptions and half-truths are just as dangerous as the more obvious lies and the UCL resources have given us ways to deal with them and allow students to think for themselves
  • All subjects have been involved in school wide events and the assemblies have looked at the themes of ‘A Light in the Darkness’ and the importance of ‘One Day’. In both cases we learned about other genocides in Rwanda. Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Burma as well as Germany.
  • How to help students’ express opinions about Israel and Palestine and other difficult modern issues, through the skills and techniques we developed in the Holocaust Education programme.
  • The most powerful tool? This has been learning a new language of History and how to express what we think: just as relevant in 1945 as it is in 2022.