The Manor Academy Achieves IOE Beacon School Status for Teaching Holocaust Education

Jacqueline Vongyer, a teacher at The Manor Academy has visited a former Nazi genocide camp in Poland this week as part of a select group chosen to pioneer the way the Holocaust is taught in England’s secondary schools.

Jacqueline joined 19 other educators from around England to visit the remains of the former death camp of Treblinka in Poland, where some 900,000 people were murdered in just 16 months and, in Warsaw, seek out traces of the community destroyed in this genocide.

The 20 teachers are from schools that have been specifically chosen by the Institute of Education (IOE) to develop sensitive and innovative ways to help young people explore the traumatic history of the Holocaust.

As a Beacon School, The Manor Academy will work with the IOE to introduce innovative approaches to learning and enhance the way they teach about the Holocaust. The new teaching approach will reinforce the importance of certain key themes that are often neglected from Holocaust curricula - pre-war life of the communities that were destroyed; how the victims responded to the unfolding genocide; and the legacy and significance of the Holocaust.

Jacqueline said: “The Holocaust did not happen long ago or very far from where we live. It was a European event in our modern world, at the heart of Western civilisation, and stands out as a European catastrophe challenging all aspects of our development of society, civilization and cultural development. It is pertinent, therefore, for students and teachers to consider: what went so wrong with how we live together and organise our communities that European society could so quickly and so completely collapse into genocide?”

The IOE is part of the University of London, and is Britain’s leading centre for educational research and teacher training. Its Centre for Holocaust Education, which leads the Beacon School programme, was established in 2008 with the aim of: “working with teachers to transform Holocaust education”.

The Director of the IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education, Professor Stuart Foster, says: “The Holocaust is explicable – as a human event with human causes it is open to study and understanding, even though its scale, complexity and the emotional demands it places upon both teacher and learner can feel overwhelming. 

“The value in studying the Holocaust is enormous as it reveals the full spectrum of what human beings are capable – from the worst forms of hatred and cruelty to the most inspiring stories of courage and the resilience of the human spirit.”

Jonathon Hickman, Head Teacher at The Manor Academy, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as one of only a handful of schools across the country to lead the teaching of this most important of areas in modern history. It is a topic which requires sensitivity, compassion and empathy but one of which all young people should be aware.”