In a speech given at the Jewish Schools Awards on Wednesday, Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP emphasised the importance of Holocaust education in schools and expressed his concern that many schoolchildren still do not have “a sound grasp of the basic facts and events”.
The Jewish Schools Awards, held on Holocaust Memorial Day, was hosted by the Partnerships for Jewish Schools together with the Jewish News and sought to highlight the work of teachers in 117 Jewish primary and secondary schools across the country.
In his address, Mr Gibb said that “it is vital that all young people continue to learn in detail about the Holocaust” and that his department “will continue to promote, support and fund teaching of the Holocaust”.
He applauded the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project which has taken more than 28,000 students to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and has been funded for the past ten years by the Department for Education.
He went on to praise Jewish schools, referring to King David High School, Yavneh College and the Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) which were amongst the 100 top-performing faith schools nationwide at GCSE in 2015.
The Minister said: “Though defined by their faith, it remains important that such schools sit within a wider appreciation of British cultural life, and they must prepare pupils for life in Britain’s modern, liberal democracy”.
He continued: “Jewish education in this country provides an exemplar of how this balance can be struck”.
Mr Gibb thanked those present for the “enormous contribution” that Jewish schools make “to the educational life and cultural life of this country”.