The Holocaust stands apart from other historical events in being required through the National Curriculum to be taught as part of the secondary school history curriculum. Beyond the curriculum, the Government supports Holocaust education through a range of grants and projects. The Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission reported one year ago in January 2015, and plans are being made to preserve survivor testimony, to create a new national memorial and secure the long-term future of Holocaust education. This will include the establishment of a world-class learning centre for future generations of students.
We have discovered a wealth of good practice and enthusiasm in Holocaust education. Teachers are taking students beyond facts to a deeper understanding of what it means to be an active and informed citizen. In doing so they are ably supported by several educational and charitable organisations. However, too few teachers—particularly history teachers—are being trained to teach the Holocaust. While much of the training available for teachers is of a high standard, more needs to be done to extend its reach to subjects other than history. The Holocaust should remain part of the core history curriculum, and we believe that the teaching of the Holocaust would be strengthened by the adoption of a deliberately cross-curricular approach.
In some schools, learning about the Holocaust leads on to teaching about other genocides. We regard this as a positive development, so long as the Holocaust continues to be taught well.
Holocaust education is aided by the personal testimony of Holocaust survivors. Students today have the benefit of hearing directly from some of those affected by the Holocaust of the impact that it had on them and their families. Sadly, this opportunity will not last forever, and steps must be taken to preserve their words for future generations.
Prepared 21 January 2016