Biggleswade school receives prestigious Holocaust education award

Stratton Upper School RE head Laura Walton receives the award for the school's contribution to Holoc

Stratton Upper School RE head Laura Walton receives the award for the school's contribution to Holocaust education. Picture: Stratton Upper School - Credit: Archant

A Biggleswade school has received a prestigious national award for its contribution to education about the Holocaust.

Stratton Upper School has received the Beacon School award from the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, following a rigorous assessment from the centre’s Dr Nicola Wetherall.

The programme at Stratton, led by RE head Laura Walton, forms a framework for students to explore not just the historical perspective but also relationships with the social and cultural fabric of modern Britain.

Among other things, Ms Walton organises the school’s trips to visit Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, part of the Nazi murder machine which killed six million Jews, or two-thirds of European Jewry.

Stratton head Rob Watson said: “Ms Walton’s work has added a significant dimension to the student experience. It has impact across our school community, including staff.

“I have been as moved as the students to have had the opportunity to meet a number of Holocaust survivors who have visited us. I have never been failed to be impressed not just by their story, but for their lack of bitterness and complete zest for life and the future.

“The men and women, now in their 90s, are an inspiration, and provide a template for our young people – always optimistic, always resilient and completely convinced mankind can make a better future.”

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On Wednesday, the school in Eagle Farm Road will host an exhibition dedicated to the life of Anne Frank – the German-Jewish girl who documented two years in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam through her diary before she was murdered at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, aged 15.

Ms Walton said: “Year 9 students will be trained to act as museum guides, and have the opportunity to talk to other students and any members of the public who would like to attend.

“It’s not confirmed yet, but we are hoping to welcome a Holocaust survivor to the school.”

The Anne Frank Exhibition will be open at Stratton Upper School from 5pm to 6.30pm tomorrow.

The Holocaust, called the Shoah in Hebrew, saw Nazi Germany target Jews for extermination as part of a so-called “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”.

A wider definition includes Nazi murder of Romani people, the disabled, Slavs, Soviet prisoners of war, political opponents, homosexuals, blacks and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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