Stratton Upper School epitomises the ethos, aims and ambition of the Centre’s Beacon School programme: and so we are delighted to congratulate them on becoming the Centre’s seventh Quality Mark Beacon School.
In Ms Walton, Stratton Upper School have a committed Holocaust educator, an experienced and innovative, gifted teacher and aspiring middle leader, determined to develop Beacon School status and provision. She enjoys the collegiality and support of colleagues across the school; all have embraced the Beacon School programme and adopted the scheme of work or the Centre’s pedagogy. All this has been underpinned by Stratton Upper School’s Headteacher Mr Watson, and his senior colleagues, facilitating and ensuring Holocaust education is a right for all learners, irrespective of need or ability. This is commendable and something other schools, senior leaders and teaching colleagues should learn from across the country. It demonstrates just what is possible when professionals work together in a spirit of openness, collaboration of specialism and vision.
Repeatedly this review found examples and evidence to corroborate the view that Mr Watson’s educational ethos and vision for the school is indeed lived, where the sense of belonging and community feeds an atmosphere of learning that ensures students can flourish, progress, achieve and prosper; both in terms of academic and personal development. It is clear from ‘top-down’ that Holocaust education is valued and that Beacon School status has been championed for the enriching learning experience and powerful learning outcomes it provides students and the continued professional development it provides staff.
Together with the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, Stratton Upper School has truly embarked on the ‘Beacon School journey’ to its fullest – it is an immense team effort and we are delighted to partner with you and re-designate the schools Beacon School status for a further three years.
Key strengths of Stratton’s hugely ambitious programme of Holocaust education include:
- Partnership with UCL Centre for Holocaust Education in its role as mentor and critical friend has been extremely rewarding, positive and productive. Strong and supportive leadership from the Headteacher Mr Watson, through SLT and Ms Walton as Lead Teacher has been critical to programmes success and wide-ranging impact.
- The passion, commitment and expertise of Lead Teacher, Ms Walton, is widely acknowledged as the heart and soul of the project. Staff described her as her ‘…taking people with her on this journey’ and a student spoke of Ms Walton ‘…living and breathing it’. There is an authenticity to Ms Walton’s commitment to Holocaust education recognised in her classroom and among peers. This should be celebrated and her emerging expertise shared within the school and beyond.
- The Holocaust is a central and distinctive feature of RE, History and the school’s wider curriculum offer. Excellence in Holocaust pedagogy carries with it wider positive ramifications for school improvement and teachers’ practice. Questioning and use of independent and critical thinking strategies, along with varied teacher talk strategies (at, to, with), could be shared across the school.
- RE and History’s symbiotic approach means a strong partnership of study is evident – whilst importantly retaining disciplinary distinctiveness. This sets a compelling model for planned collaboration in other departments across the school and demonstrates what is possible.
- Stratton students are magnificent ambassadors for the Academy and are articulate and insightful advocates of quality Holocaust education provision and its impact.
- The Beacon School initiative has not only proven important in and of itself, but also for its contribution to whole school priorities like SMSC, Global Learning, FBV, citizenship, healthy schools and Prevent.
- Pedagogical practice in Holocaust and genocide education at Stratton Upper School is underpinned by research-informed practice and access to quality CPD.
Given so much excellence, it is fitting Stratton Upper School be recognised for its innovation in, provision for and commitment to quality Holocaust education with this prestigious award.
The Centre’s Nicola Wetherall MBE remarked:
‘In Stratton Upper School’s Holocaust education wide-ranging provision and quality practise, you find the core elements of all that is best about UCL Beacon School status. With Headteacher Mr Watson and SLT support, a gifted and ambitious Lead Teacher, Ms Walton, has embarked on a journey in partnership with the Centre, which has improved student outcomes, refreshed teaching and learning, encouraged research engagement and helped drive school improvement and reinvigorated colleagues both personal and professional. It was so refreshing to see disciplinary distinct Holocaust education, but collaborative learning opportunities in Holocaust education that allowed for and recognised the valuing of the development of the internal architecture. Holocaust education at Stratton Upper School is excellent and finds its strength in the schools golden thread, its SMSC framework. In speaking to it providing the pedagogy of culture and provision, this understanding of Holocaust education’s contribution to a student’s ‘education passport’ is truly lived. It is a superb example of Beacon school status benefitting whole school educational priorities.’
Read the full report:
See how Stratton Upper School revealed its QM status to the local press and community: