Front line teachers and senior leaders are arguably facing greater challenges right now than they encountered at the beginning of the lockdown. Not only are teachers juggling online with face to face teaching but, with just a few weeks left of the term, are undertaking the staggeringly difficult task of accommodating the government’s plan for an all-student return to school by September.
Adjusting to these changes will take considerable effort as schools will strive to ensure that this can all be done while keeping the safety and welfare of the school community as its number one priority. Added to this is the complication raised by the recent spike of Coronavirus in regions such as Leicester creating the need for localised lockdown forcing schools to once again, close. This only adds to a heightened level of uncertainty, disorientation and disruption of school and home life.
The usual end of term assemblies, leavers’ gatherings, proms, and sports days – important landmarks in a school/student’s life have been significantly compromised despite the many innovations created to offer online alternatives. Credit must go to senior leaders, class teachers, governors, parents and most importantly students themselves for their resilience during this crisis.
This week, our UCL team has been reaching out to and keeping engaged with its networks. We were delighted to connect with our outgoing Beacon School link teacher cohort at our Onwards and Upwards end of programme summer gathering. Normally this would have been accompanied by several glasses of wine in appreciation for all the hard work achieved. This year however, a Teams meeting at the end of a busy day was all we could muster. Nonetheless, the energy and enthusiasm from this extraordinary group of outstanding teachers energised us all and made for a wonderful finale to an unprecedented year of challenges for the programme. These teachers have now joined our active alumni who continue to transform the quality of Holocaust education in school communities. We are proud to have collaborated with such dedicated people many of whom are working in contexts with many complex social challenges.
This week UCL also recruited a new cohort of Beacon Schools (2020-2021) who will embark on a fully online version of the programme this coming year that includes many new dimensions. In addition, we caught up online with our Quality Mark School alumni. These are schools who have been through the UCL Beacon School Programme and have reached a level of excellence in Holocaust teaching and learning that merited them this prestigious QM recognition. One of our Quality Mark lead teachers, Charlotte Lane has written today’s blog. Following her engagement at our Centre, Charlotte has created outstanding materials of her own drawing on the Centre’s pedagogical approach, adding her own dimensions and creativity. The blog demonstrates her students’ outstanding work, evidence of progression and showcases the virtual teaching space she has created during lockdown.
Please join us for: An evening with Prof Yehuda Bauer & Talk. July 15th 5-6:15pm via Zoom.
Yehuda Bauer is a world renowned, leading scholar in Holocaust Studies and Honorary Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). He will be talking live about Holocaust Distortion – a dangerous trend that threatens Holocaust remembrance and memory. The role of education in fighting this distortion will be discussed.
UCL will be offering a free twilight course on ‘Britain’s Responses to the Holocaust’ – 14th July, 4-5pm. You can register for this event online now.
Finally, next week will see the publication of UCL Centre for Holocaust Education forthcoming online, open access @UCLPress publication, ‘Holocaust Education: Contemporary Challenges and Controversies’ – which goes live next week, July 6th.
I wish you a restful and good weekend.