Every year at the High School, staff take great pride in facilitating a week of learning opportunities to enhance pupils’ understanding of the Holocaust. As a UCL Beacon School in Holocaust Education, teachers are committed to increasing expertise on the topic and believe it is a critically important part of young people’s learning. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Saturday 27 January, students engaged in a week-long programme of activities inspired by this year’s theme, ‘The Fragility of Freedom’.
Commencing the dedicated week with a Senior assembly, Teacher of Theology and Philosophy, Ms Eldridge spoke to students about Sophie Scholl and her involvement in the non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany; the White Rose. Acknowledging Sophie’s story as a powerful example of bravery, resistance and advocacy for freedom, Ms Eldridge encouraged the group to consider the fragility of freedom both throughout history and in the present day.
Departments across school have incorporated this theme into lessons, with Year 8 geographers examining how conflict affects children’s human rights, and History students focusing on the rise of Hitler and the Jewish experience in Nazi Germany. Learning continued through cocurricular activities, with reading recommendations including ‘Diary of Anne Frank’, ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ by Judith Kerr, and Tom Palmer’s ‘After the War’. Tom Palmer worked extensively with the UCL Centre for Holocaust education when researching his novel, which focuses on the experiences of the Windemere children; a group of young Jewish refugees who were helped by psychologist Dr. Oscar Friedman.
We were delighted to welcome award-winning author, Tom Palmer, into school to conclude the week of commemorative events. Many of Palmer’s children’s books highlight themes of war and introduce younger readers to concepts and historic events that can often be challenging and complex to comprehend. During his visit, Tom hosted a Q&A session with Year 6 and Year 7, and read excerpts from his new book which will be released later this year. Year 8 enjoyed an educational workshop led by Tom and Helen McCord from UCL, who used new resources that UCL have worked on with Tom based around his book.
Reflecting on the week’s activities, Ms Eldridge explained how this year’s theme encouraged students to be mindful of how quickly freedom can be lost, and how important it is for them to act against injustice in all its forms. We look forward to continuing Holocaust education at Northampton High for many years to come, and supporting UCL Centre for Holocaust Education in their vital work.