The organisation set up by UWS to promote excellence in teaching the Holocaust in schools has been awarded new funding to continue this vital work.
The Scottish Government grant will enable Vision Schools Scotland, founded by UWS in partnership with Holocaust Educational Trust, to further support and reward schools who demonstrate innovation and good practice in Holocaust education, while also offering continued professional development opportunities for practitioners.
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “It is fantastic news that Vision Schools Scotland has received this new funding. I am continually inspired by the hugely important work of the organisation, which encourages schools in Scotland to teach the Holocaust in unique and creative ways.
“While those we are educating today have no living memory of the Holocaust, Vision Schools Scotland is working with educators to keep conversations, discussions and, importantly, learning about the events alive. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the team for this fantastic achievement.”
Vision Schools Scotland launched in 2017 with three schools, but the programme has now grown to include 23 Vision Schools and a network of more than 40 schools that are involved in varying stages of the programme.
The organisation promotes a focus on the history of, and learning from, the Holocaust. The former is essential in addressing Holocaust distortion, while the latter allows issues such as contemporary antisemitism, anti-gypsyism and xenophobia to be studied in this context – issues essential in achieving global citizenship.
“This new grant is a clear recognition from the Scottish Government of what Vision Schools Scotland has achieved to date. This grant will allow us to develop our work and reach out to more schools.
The pandemic has not stopped our growth and it is heartening to see that so many teachers in Scotland are committed to developing their skills and knowledge in this area. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and welcoming Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, to distribute our schools’ awards in February next year.
Dr Paula Cowan, Director of Vision Schools Scotland
Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “News of this crucial funding means teachers in Scotland will continue to take part in high-quality education and training. We are delighted and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Vision Schools Scotland.”
Jackie Bailie MSP said: “I am delighted that Vision Schools Scotland have secured this much-deserved funding. Vision Schools Scotland carries out excellent and essential work in Holocaust teaching across more than 40 schools in Scotland.
“This grant will allow them to continue and expand on this work. I am looking forward to continuing to work with Vision Schools Scotland in 2022 and encourage local schools and teachers who have not yet got involved with the organisation to join up.”
Jackson Carlaw MSP said: “Vision Schools Scotland is a terrific endeavour and it places a key focus on educating young people about the necessity of responsible citizenship and respect for all irrespective of background through the lessons taught by the Holocaust.
“Through its years of sustained growth, the educational initiative has embedded itself as a key contributor to young people learning about the horrors of the Holocaust and it has sustained cross-party support with a patron for each of the political parties represented at Holyrood.
“I was delighted to join with others to make representations to the previous Cabinet Secretary for Education in support of the efforts from Vision Schools Scotland to gain access to Scottish Government funding and it is welcome news that this has now been delivered.”