New partnership launched to counter Holocaust mistruths and antisemitism in the classroom

Teacher and students in a classroomTeacher and students in a classroom

Schools are set to receive teacher training and educational resources on the Holocaust as part of a new partnership involving UCL and two of England’s leading multi-academy trusts (MATs).     

The new collaboration between the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, Star Academies and Outwood Grange Academy Trust (OGAT) is part of a renewed effort to eradicate mistruths and confusion about the Holocaust in England’s schools and counter the rise of antisemitism. 

Involving schools and teachers from across both MATs , the initiative will see thousands of Key Stage 3 pupils taught about the Holocaust, its lasting impact and the many prejudices, misunderstandings and falsehoods that have pervaded.

The initiative was announced at an event on Wednesday (18 January 2023) celebrating 10 years of the Centre’s landmark Beacon Schools programme , which has impacted more than 2,000 schools through Beacon networks - with over 1.6 million students benefitting year on year from their teachers’ professional development.

The occasion was hosted at the Imperial War Museum, London, and included speeches from Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP, Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich, and UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence.

The agreement builds on 14 years of work at the Centre, which has analysed the aspects of the genocide teachers and students are most confused about and has robustly supported teachers to correct any dangerous views. 

Star Academies and OGAT will become the first academy trusts to adopt the Centre’s unique, government-backed blend of classroom resources, professional development, and initial teacher training in their networks. Until now, this work has been deployed through individual schools or through training for individual teachers. 

Professor Stuart Foster (Executive Director of UCL Centre for Holocaust Education) said: "We are very excited to be working with these two outstanding multi academy trusts.  Our large-scale research consistently reveals the very real challenges that all schools face in addressing antisemitism and improving students’ knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust.

’We are confident that our collaboration with Star and OGAT will not only have a significant and long-term impact of young people’s understanding, but also it will embolden them to confront antisemitism, racism and intolerance in all its forms."

It has been recognised internationally, including in Israel and the United States.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan MP, said: " The horrors of the past should never be forgotten. The Holocaust represents the very darkest of times and it is right that knowledge of those events are remembered by future generations.

"I’m hugely grateful to the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education alongside OGAT and Star - two of our leading academy trusts - for making high-quality resources on such a vital issue available to children and teachers."

Pears Foundation executive chairman, Sir Trevor Pears, said: " Pears Foundation helped establish the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and we have been delighted to support it as its hugely impressive programmes have evolved and grown. Their impact on schools, teachers and students has been profound.

"The latest such development - this groundbreaking partnership with Star Academies and Outward Grange - has the potential to take the centre’s work to the next level. We look forward to watching this relationship - and other new partnerships with other multi-academy trusts - blossom in the months and years ahead."

Sir Martyn Oliver (CEO of OGAT) said: "We are delighted to work with The UCL Centre for Holocaust Education in developing skilled and knowledgeable teachers who can deliver a high-quality curriculum supported by some of the country’s foremost experts.  We are also delighted to have recently appointed Lord John Mann, the government’s independent advisor on antisemitism, as a Trustee of OGAT, as we look forward to providing our children with the knowledge they need to be respectful and well-rounded citizens who can tackle discrimination in all its forms."     

Sir Hamid Patel (CEO of Star Academies) said: "I am delighted that Star Academies is a partner in this ground-breaking educational project. We are committed to providing our pupils with a curriculum that deepens their understanding of world events and nurtures their character and integrity. We have a moral duty to explore the lessons of the Holocaust and from this indelible stain on our humanity, work to eradicate prejudice." 

Lord John Mann, advisor to the Government on Antisemitism, said: "I am delighted at the announcement that these powerhouses of educational excellence have established a formal alliance. It will undoubtedly benefit the teachers and young people who deserve the very best of educational vision and research-informed practice."

To celebrate 10 years of its programme, the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education has released a video featuring Beacon School Manchester Enterprise Academy. 

To celebrate 10 years of its programme, the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education has released a video  featuring Beacon School Manchester Enterprise Academy.