#HtFMeUs: an immersive, enriching & collaborative Holocaust education project
Click here to visit the # HtFMeUs Gallery, to see how some schools have realised this project in their own settings, view student work and to read testimonies from those involved in the #HtFMeUs project
Participating schools bring together these threads in a reflection on how the story informs the school community, its diversity, ethos, and values. Beyond the workbook resources and challenges, projects outcomes are varied: including cross-curricular opportunities in History, RE, Art, social science, MFL, Music, Drama and more. Taking up the project students learn about ‘the Holocaust’, explore one family story (their family), reflect on what it means to them (me) and as a school community (us). Presented with often little known, often under-taught, aspects of the Holocaust (the Einsatzgruppen ‘Holocaust by Bullets’, hidden children, resistance and role of women, life under Vichy, occupation and more) students have been able to identify and challenge prevailing misconceptions about what it means to be Jewish in Britain today, go beyond the Auschwitz centric narrative. Students are supported to discover the complexity and evolution of the camp system, to realise the importance of place, space, identity, culture and belonging – and to heed lessons.
Knowing what happened in the Holocaust, learning about it, means nothing if we are complacent. We know the warning signs. We know where appeasement, being a bystander or ‘them and us’ thinking leads – this project is research-informed, in pedagogical approach and content, aligned to IHRA guidance and best practice and engages all participants, schools and communities to reflect upon and apply their deep learning.
In an era where survivor visits are increasingly difficult for schools to arrange and where we approach a point in time where Holocaust survivors will all have passed away, this project demonstrates an approach for students to follow a Holocaust story closely and develop a deep understanding of the history, making use of archive material, documentary evidence and the reflections of second- and third- generation descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors: it humanises the history. Additionally, the project gives young people an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of the Holocaust and their significance in the modern world, and to develop a sense of themselves as global citizens in the context of this history.
The project would be very suited to schools wishing to develop their students’ cultural capital and build a strong culture of valuing diversity and British Values and would be valuable in ensuring a broad and balanced curricular offer in PSHE or Citizenship lessons: it supports SMSC, personal development, student voice, leadership, and teamwork. It addresses themes related to prejudice, discrimination, safeguarding, antisemitism, DEI, emotional and media literacy, e-safety and recognising myths, misconceptions. In era of fake news, conspiracy theories, and distortion-it supports combatting denial and challenges hatred. It empowers young people to safeguard the future by learning from the past: an innovative vehicle to support existing Holocaust provision across the curriculum and can support schools marking Holocaust Memorial Day, or opportunity to embed a culture of respect, empathy, and inclusion.
The project provides co-ordinating teachers the foundational resources, materials and support they need to embark on the project. With input from experts at the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and the 45 Aid Society, facilitated over Zoom, and direct communication with those whose families featured in the documentary (Bernie, Noemie, Robert, Angela, Louisa and Natalie) student groups get to take a learning and reflective ‘journey’. In addition, some school visits and special events occur across the evolving project; just recently, two schools were invited to University College London campus to experience a series of workshops delivered by UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, with Robert and Angela visiting as a ‘surprise’, ensuring a first-hand connection with the stories studied was forged, along with working directly with experts in the field of Holocaust education at one of Britain’s leading universities! Schools and learners continue to benefit from varied experiences as part of project
Nicola Wetherall is an accomplished and experienced RE teacher and middle leader at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA). She has a strong academic background in Holocaust education and has used that since joining the school to develop a unique whole school approach to Holocaust education, genocide prevention and human rights awareness.
This has taken shape over time and carefully combines curriculum provision and practice, pastoral and enrichment opportunities and community elements to form a Holocaust, genocide and human rights programme (HGP). With Nic conceiving of this innovative and impactful approach – now so embedded within the schools’ culture and values – Nic’s vision, tenacity and knowledge as ‘Lead Practitioner’, has ensured the HGP has garnered local, regional, national and international recognition for its innovative, civic, and forward-thinking, outward facing approach.
In 2012 Nic accepted the invitation to become a Lead Teacher, as the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education approached a dozen schools nationally to pilot its Beacon School programme. Since 2017, the school has held the prestigious UCL Beacon School Quality Mark status and Nic took up a part-time collaborative position with the Centre to support its school’s partnership, profile building, research and CPD programmes: combining the best of her continued school-based experiences with the world leading education institute and its specialist team. The RWBA and Trust wide partnership with UCL remains significant, mutually beneficial and of considerable importance: as Nic and colleagues innovate and develop new projects and opportunities – like #HtFMeUs - there are opportunities and insights UCL contribute that continue to deepen and enrich the experience for students and teachers alike.
Charlotte Lane is an experienced classroom practitioner and middle leader across Music and the Performing Arts, History and Religious Studies. She is a long-standing UCL Quality Mark Beacon School alumni and has been an active co-ordinating teacher for the #HtFMeUs from the outset.
Charlotte is particularly passionate about Holocaust teaching and learning, developing innovative and creative ways to support young people and teachers and is committed to inspiring transformative change both in and beyond the classroom.
With a teaching career spanning nearly 25 years, Charlotte was recently the recipient of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trusts’ ‘Empowering Young People to Change the World – Special Recognition Award’, in recognition of the contribution she has made to Holocaust Education.
Charlotte is committed to working to ensure research informed Holocaust pedagogy is embedded in enriching, vibrant, dynamic and authentic ways, encouraging creativity, empathy and civic community efforts to raise awareness of the Holocaust, of genocide and of tackling hate and antisemitism.