As Yehuda Bauer has recognised, the Centre’s distinctive contribution has been to use – for the first time – large-scale national research into the challenges of teaching about the Holocaust to ensure that approaches, activities and materials are specifically designed to meet classroom needs.
The Centre’s ground-breaking CPD and Initial Teacher Education programmes are taught across England and the wealth of information derived from the 2008-9 study is now shared with all involved in Holocaust education nationally and internationally. As the following evidence demonstrates, the impact that the Centre has had is ‘instrumental’ (it has changed teaching practice), ‘conceptual’ (it has changed the way that teachers and children think about the Holocaust) and ‘capacity building’ (it is developing the expertise of Beacon Schools which are now building and supporting their own school networks).
Since 2008 the Centre has:
- Developed educational materials for the United Nations. The ‘Footprints for Hope’ materials had more than 50,000 downloads in 2012, and more than 3,000 hard copies were distributed to government and NGO representatives from some 30 member states in the International Task Force (now the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), and to UN officers around the world for use in their Holocaust education work. The materials have been translated into French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Romanian and Chinese.
- Worked directly with teachers across four continents in countries including Canada, USA, Ireland, Croatia, Hungary, South Africa and Israel.
- Provided advice and consultancy services to organisations such as: the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency; the Salzburg Global Seminar (on its genocide prevention educational initiative); Final Account, a major new oral history archive; Stephen Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation; Yad Vashem and the Imperial War Museum. The Centre also plays a leading role in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as part of the UK delegation, led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Sir Andrew Burns, former UK Ambassador to Israel and now Britain’s Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, says the Centre is “at the leading edge” of Holocaust education internationally. “The Centre’s approach marks a shift away from simple ‘lessons of the Holocaust’ to genuine engagement with the complexity of the past, and deep learning about one of the most traumatic events in human history,” he says. “What is remarkable is the extent to which such complexity can be made accessible to pupils.”