Spalding Academy will serve as a dynamic hub of excellence in Holocaust teaching and learning after becoming a University College London (UCL) Beacon School.
History teacher Paula Baker, who has been with Spalding Academy and its predecessors for nearly 16 years, led the way on the project.
Paula said: “I have always been interested in the Holocaust and feel that we need our students to have a greater understanding of what it was and why it happened, particularly when we think about society today.
“I applied to be part of the (UCL) Beacon School programme in July of this year after attending one of their professional development days. I was in awe at the quality of research and resources available.
“As a school, we will benefit from some of the best research available which will in turn help us address misconceptions that students and sometimes adults have.
“We will also have access to some excellent teaching resources which will enable our students to learn about the Holocaust using a variety of different skills.”
As part of the project to steer the school to Beacon recognition, Paula completed a 30 credit Masters degree module, which she is looking to further develop by undertaking a Masters degree involving study of the Holocaust.
Paula has also been able to work with the UCL Institute of Education on a five-day residential programme over October half-term and will also go to Warsaw with them in May 2017, visiting Treblinka, one of the concentration camps run by the Nazis in wartime, German-occupied Poland.
Paula says: “This will further support the education that we give to the students.
“As part of the programme we will also host a professional development day in January 2017, which local secondary schools will be invited to attend. This development day will be led by UCL Institute of Education and will be free of charge to any schools interested in participating.”
Becoming a Beacon School is a real achievement for Spalding Academy and Paula says: “It’s just something positive for the school and I think it’s good for the community.”
• The Holocaust was the darkest event in history when millions were murdered in German Nazi-run camps in World War Two.
The UCL Centre for Holocast Education says: “If we are not prepared to consider what went wrong in modern society that allowed state persecution of political opponents; mass murder of the disabled; European genocide of the Roma (Gypsies); and ultimately led to an attempt to murder every last Jewish man, woman and child, then how can we consider ourselves to be educated people at all?”
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