The Friary School is very proud to have held Beacon School Status for Holocaust Memorial for the last eight years in conjunction with the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education. The status confirms a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of teaching and training in relation to this genocide, but also all types of discrimination and prejudice around the world.

Consequently, around Holocaust Memorial Day, we stage our Holocaust Memorial Focus Week, where a range of activities take place to commemorate the destructive actions which blighted the lives of European Jews in World War Two.

The weeks involved tutor group activities explained the work of the Holocaust Memorial Trust and specifically examined events involving Dr Josef Mengele in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Additionally, Key Stage Three students all took part in a specific History lesson designed to raise awareness of our Beacon School Status and to address pre-conceptions of the Holocaust and the role of perpetrators, victims and bystanders.

Furthermore, assemblies through the week explored the stages of behaviour that led towards the Nazi genocide but also branched out to cover more recent genocides that have taken place around the world. The assembly theme was extended in the art gallery area where a display of belongings was put up to replicate the display rooms at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Finally, Year 9 students and A-Level historians watched a live webcast by a Holocaust survivor, Janine Webber BEM, who shared her powerful testimony. Alongside this, two Year 12 students have been selected to become Ambassadors with the Holocaust Education Trust and will visit Auschwitz as part of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme.

Many students have been immensely touched by the Focus Week and initiated a call for donations to support the continued gathering of survivor testimonies. The monies raised will be sent to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Centre in Jerusalem with which The Friary School has worked  over many years.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “The importance of history is that it teaches so much about our current and future conduct. The legacy of the Holocaust should be that we stand against any discrimination or mistreatment and it is vital that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten through the passing of time.”