Holocaust Beacon School Status

The Friary School works in partnership with University College London in holding Holocaust Beacon School Status and this reflects our nationally-recognised commitment to on-going high-quality provision of and innovation in teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

This curriculum award allows our school to partner with the world’s top-rated university for education, to raise the quality of learning and expectations in our school, and to help our students to become more engaged in their own learning and more independent, critical thinkers. UCL Institute of Education has been judged Outstanding by Ofsted at every level and on every criteria of Initial Teacher Education. UCL Centre for Holocaust Education combines extensive research into classroom needs with a teacher development programme and effective educational resources specifically designed to meet these challenges.

This curriculum award insists that our school commits to the following benchmarks on an annual basis:

  • provide invaluable external evidence base and verification of a schools best practice
  • champion the cause of Holocaust education and its contribution to a broad and balanced curriculum
  • recognise the impact of Holocaust education and investment in CPD
  • be developmental and supportive

Teaching and learning about the Holocaust provides an essential opportunity to inspire critical thinking, societal awareness, and personal growth. The Holocaust was a watershed event in world history, spanned geographic boundaries, affected all segments of societies, and occurred in the context of the Second World War. Decades later, societies continue to wrestle with both the memory and historical record of the Holocaust in the midst of contemporary challenges. These include persistent anti-semitism and xenophobia, unfolding genocides in the world, the on-going refugee crisis, and threats to many democratic norms and values. This is particularly relevant with the rise of authoritarian-style governments as well as by populist or extreme movements within democracies.

This curriculum accreditation means that our students’ receive outstanding provision in terms of Holocaust delivery. This includes a bi-annual trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau, partnership work with the Holocaust Educational Trust, visits by guess speakers with personal experience from various genocides in history, as well as Focus Week events and commemorations. Additionally, the staff training and development in this sphere only adds to our provision in subject areas like History, Religious Education, Sociology, English Literature, etc. More widely, this particular subject matter helps us to pose challenging questions: such as, about individual and collective responsibility, the meaning of active citizenship, and about the structures and societal norms that can become dangerous for certain groups and society as a whole.

Our Holocaust Beacon School Status helps our school community to appreciate its responsibilities for others in the face of persecution, discrimination and more general societal imbalances. Our students become more sensitive to the needs of others, appreciate the individual responsibilities we all hold for speaking up for minorities, and enhance skills of critical evaluation which can be applied to countless settings and contexts which continually emerges in our democratic society, and more widely on the world stage.

Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born Holocaust survivor and later winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, argued that: “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.” Our Holocaust Beacon School Status is a critical element of our curriculum provision as we set the ambition that no Friary student plays the part of the silent bystander when there is a need to stand up and be counted. The ability to see injustice, to understand injustice, and to demonstrate the courage to challenge injustice is a moral responsibility we seek to instil.

To learn more about our Holocaust Beacon School Status, please contact Matt Allman, Headteacher, via office@friaryschool.co.uk.