The letter below attempts to clarify the rumors that UK schools have stopped teaching about the Holocaust. These rumors are being deliberately encouraged by a hoax email that claims that "recently this week" it was announced that UK schools will stop teaching about the Holocaust, for fear of offending Muslims.
This is a pointless and vicious hoax. Please do not forward such letters. If you get a UK Holocaust education hoax letter, please send the originator this message with the information below, and ask them to send this message back to the people who sent it to them.
16th April 2007
Over the past weeks there have been a number of rumours circulating via email regarding Holocaust education here in the UK. The emails suggest that the UK Government are removing Holocaust education from the National Curriculum and that in general British schools steer away from teaching what they might consider, a 'controversial' subject. We want to make it clear that our understanding is the Holocaust is and will continue to be on the National Curriculum and therefore continue to be taught in all UK schools.
These rumours stemmed from a piece that featured in a number of newspapers including the Daily Mail, Guardian and The Telegraph at the beginning of April. See the following links:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/02/nschools02.xml; http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2048161,00.html
The news stories came about as a result of a report commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and undertaken by the Historical Association. The report, 'Challenges and Opportunities for Teaching Emotive and Controversial History 13-19 (TEACH)', addresses both the challenges teachers face, as well as the good practise that is occurring when teaching all emotive and controversial historical issues such as: Slavery, the Crusades and the Holocaust. The full TEACH report is available on the HA website:http://www.haevents.org.uk/PastEvents/Others/Teach%20report.pdf
In light of this story the Holocaust Educational Trust would like to clarify what to our knowledge is the situation in the UK.
Holocaust Education in the UK:
TrustsLessons from Auschwitz Programme (This is due to a £1.5 million grant from the Government every year from 2006-2008)
Holocaust education organisations including the Holocaust Educational Trust, Imperial War
Museum and Beth Shalom.
Within the TEACH report from the Historical Association, there is one particular line relating to Holocaust education which has been the focus of the press and various alarmed emails. It features in the section addressing why teachers avoid teaching certain subjects and states:
'.. a history department in a northern city recently avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic (sic) sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'. (p 15)
The key points regarding this statement are:
At no point does the report from the Historical Association suggest that the Holocaust be removed from the National Curriculum for England and Wales.
Obviously we and all Holocaust related organisations in the UK take this very seriously, however on this occasion we want to allay all fears and impress upon everyone that the Holocaust is not being removed from the National Curriculum. This particular incident does of course merit further investigation but in no way represents all the good work in our schools across the country.
Please do circulate this far and wide to all who have shown an interest in this particular issue and Holocaust education in general here in the UK.
Should you require further information please do contact us at the Holocaust Educational Trust by firstname.lastname@example.org
With best wishes
Holocaust Educational Trust
BCM Box 7892
London WC1N 3XX
Tel: 020 7222 6822
Fax: 020 7233 0161
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