Education Minister John Swinney officially launches University of the West of Scotland's Vision School programme on Anne Frank's birthday.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, officially launched University of the West of Scotland's Vision Schools programme at St Thomas' Primary School in Glasgow on 12 June 2017.
The Vision Schools programme, which is a partnership between UWS and the Holocaust Educational Trust, will accredit schools that have demonstrated commitment and good practice in Holocaust education.
The official launch followed a successful pilot phase at a number of schools from Glasgow, South Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire and Dundee which ran from 2015 to 2017. Three schools, Bishopbriggs Academy, Grove Academy and St Thomas' Primary School have demonstrated sustainability, commitment and good practice in Holocaust education. The event also marked the accreditation of these schools, with them achieving Level 1 Vision School status.
The aim of the Vision Schools Programme is to promote excellence in Holocaust teaching by identifying and accrediting schools that illustrate sustainability, innovation and good practice in this area; encouraging the sharing of good practice of school-based Holocaust education; and promoting the importance of Continued Professional Learning in Holocaust education for Scottish teachers, helping them develop confidence and proficiency in Holocaust teaching.
Comprising of two achievement levels, the free Vision Schools programme embeds responsible citizenship, a key principle of Scotland's curriculum, in its encouragement of effective and sustained school-based Holocaust education. As many primary schools engage in Holocaust education with their senior pupils, both primary and secondary schools are eligible for Vision School accreditation.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "I am delighted to be part of the launch of the Vision Schools Programme which recognises the work of Scottish schools providing opportunities for Scotland's children and young people to learn about the Holocaust. The Scottish Government is committed to tackling all forms of discrimination and promoting a multi-faith and multi-cultural society based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.
"We must never forget those who suffered and died during the Holocaust, more recent genocides and those who continue to suffer. We should never be complacent regarding the dangers of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and hatred."
Dr Paula Cowan, Reader in Education at the University's School of Education, who is Director of the Vision Schools Programme, said: "We are delighted to have officially launched this hugely important Vision Schools Programme. The launch is the culmination of over two years of collaborative work with our partners, the Holocaust Educational Trust, and teachers from the pilot schools. We are so looking forward to opening out this programme to schools across Scotland. Our aims include supporting teachers in teaching the Holocaust and rewarding good practice in this area."
Holocaust Education comprises students' learning about and from the Holocaust. Both types of learning contribute to anti-racist education and responsible citizenship, and support religious equality. Lessons from the Holocaust engage students in wider learning that explores the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust, such as the importance of human rights."
A Vision School will be committed to the view that the Holocaust is an important part of young people's education, while appreciating the challenges that teaching the Holocaust can raise in primary and secondary schools. Schools therefore need to demonstrate their existing commitment to the importance of Holocaust education, to developing teacher confidence in Holocaust education and achieving teacher expertise in this area.
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: "Holocaust education plays an important part in our young people's development and we are delighted to be running this programme and taking a lead role in the delivery of Holocaust education best practice in Scottish schools."
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years said: "I'm delighted that a Glasgow school was part of this very important pilot to promote excellence in Holocaust teaching. Now all schools in the city will be able to benefit from the outcomes of the pilot and enhancing the good work and practice already being carried out in this area. We must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and that's why it's crucial that our young people take part in the lessons and explore comparisons to modern day issues."
In addition to John Swinney the event, which was held on the date of Anne Frank's birth, also saw Dame Helen Hyde, Chair of the Education Committee, UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, deliver an address.
Teachers interested in this programme should visit Vision Schools programme website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.