COMMONS

Holocaust education: more teachers should be trained report finds

24 January 2016

The Education Committee's report finds that too few teachers-particularly history teachers-are being trained to teach the Holocaust while much of the training available for teachers is of high standard, more also needs to be done to extend its reach to subjects other than history, such as English, drama or PSHE.

Committee findings and recommendations

Teachers' enthusiasm should be matched with development opportunities

The Committee discovered a wealth of good practice and enthusiasm in Holocaust education with teachers taking students beyond facts to a deeper understanding of what it means to be an active and informed citizen.

However, despite the valuable efforts of educational and charitable organisations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Centre for Holocaust Education, the Committee heard that most teachers either have not received any professional development in Holocaust education or have participated in the programmes of institutions whose work is not quality assured.

Support for organisations, testimonials and site visits

The Committee calls on the Department for Education to do more to support the organisations it funds so as to deliver Holocaust education to more history teachers. The Department for Education should also consider how the teacher training could be extended to teachers of subjects other than history.

The report stresses the importance of students hearing the personal testimony of Holocaust survivors, with young people benefiting from hearing directly from some of those affected about the impact the Holocaust had on them and their families. The Committee calls for steps to be taken to preserve the words of Holocaust survivors for future generations.

The Government should consider giving more young people the opportunity to visit Auschwitz. Subsequent visits to other sites might also be encouraged. Witnesses spoke positively of the value of visiting other sites associated with the Holocaust such as Wannsee, Sachsenhausen or Ravensbrück.

Chair's comment

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Committee said:

"Teaching young people about the Holocaust and its legacy continues to be a vital part of their education. In the course of our inquiry, we heard from a number of inspiring witnesses who help to explain the nature, scale and significance of the Holocaust to students in classrooms today.

During our evidence we heard of some excellent and engaging teaching which serves to deepen young people’s understanding and knowledge of the Holocaust. However, too few teachers, particularly history teachers, are being trained to teach the Holocaust and our report calls on the Government to act. We expect the Department for Education to ensure the support it gives to Holocaust education is as effective as possible."

Further information

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