Reflections on Beacon School study visit to Poland: Capital City Academy

The school in which I work is an inner city multi-cultural institution with rapidly changing student and staff populations and as such requires meaningful educational experiences that can stand the test of time by developing the student’s ability to internalise reflective and contextual skills.

As such, I was attracted to the sophisticated pedagogy of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and the work they do, I was also fortunate enough to have our school selected as a Beacon School.

The period in Poland itself was an immersive experience that has left an emotional and academic impact that continues to resonate and inspire to this day influencing every aspect of my teaching and indeed CPD, having recently completed an MA unit in Holocaust Education. I continue to reflect on the sites we visited and the individuals I was privileged enough to meet, if not in person, through documents, buildings and space.

We re-structured the Holocaust scheme of work now embedded in the curriculum. Lessons and ideas, supported by the UCL website focus on the students questioning and in developing their understanding and awareness. Often shattering misconceptions and challenging entrenched cultural misunderstanding by bringing home the human story and highlighting what we are missing. We have also been able to incorporate management friendly AFL by including historiographical debate and supporting evidence that does not rely on numbers or images.

Marc Pettifor, Capital City Academy

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