In January, we were delighted to hold two special invitational #HtFMeUs Conference Days. The first of these was supported by UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and held at the Imperial War Museum in London. With Pears Foundation support, we welcomed students from three project schools - Paddington Academy, Hendon School and Westminster Academy.
Our second invitational #HtFMeUs Conference Day was held at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy. We proudly welcomed students and teachers of four participating schools - Hanham Woods, Trinity Catholic School, Wellington Academy and Highfields School - and also our surprise guests! Students from visiting schools were a credit to themselves, their families, schools and communities. Without exception, their respect, curiosity, compassion, kindness, knowledge, understanding and engagement was outstanding. Our Conference Day began with a Drama workshop for RWBA students, focusing on Louisa & Natalie's Journey and a workshop with PE students, following Bernie's Journey. Our visiting schools were warmly welcomed by RWBA headteacher Mrs. Ellis, who set the tone for our day of shared learning and introduced our special guests - Robert Rinder MBE, Bernie Graham and Louisa Clein.
Students were engaged in a Creative Writing workshop led by Miss Duncan - each young person contributed to a poem inspired by the theme of the Conference - 'Fragments' - and proudly shared and performed their incredible work to the families. Robert visited the RWBA Art Department, where he viewed an exhibition created in response to Angela & Robert's Journey. Louisa learned alongside, supported and watched performances by RWBA students, inspired by Louisa & Natalie's Journey in the Drama workshop and Bernie visited the RWBA PE department, where students were preparing for 'Play to Remember'.
We were delighted to welcome Professor Stuart Foster from UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, who led a workshop for our visiting schools on exploring myths and misconceptions and research, supporting students to create their own surveys. Bernie was gifted a RWBA woolly hat by the PE Department and the 'Play to Remember' football match - including a minute's reflection in remembrance of Bernie's family - was held on the RWBA AstroTurf. Visiting students also had the opportunity to demonstrate their creative skills in a narrative task and created a visual exhibition which culminated in a gallery showing at the end of the workshop and then an opportunity to thank our families with a reflection task, before attending a Celebration Showcase at the end of the day.
As the day drew to a close, we heard from two of our participating schools - Trinity Catholic School and Highfields School - about the inspiring work they have done and what the #HtFMeUs project means to them. The evening's community event saw performances from RWBA Music Department's musicians, who had created two original compositions inspired by Angela & Robert's Journey, and also a moving poetry recital, inspired by workshops following the families' journeys.
Our #HtFMeUs 'Fragments' Conference Day would not have been possible without the support of RWBA and Ascend Learning Trust colleagues, UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, the Pears Foundation and also the participation of all the incredible students, teachers, support staff, parents and families, to whom we offer our heartfelt thanks.