It is fitting in the week we mark ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ 2022 we can announce our 21st Quality Mark Beacon School: St Michael’s Catholic College – a school whose commitment to quality provision for, and experience of, Holocaust teaching and learning is outstanding.

National ‘Thank A Teacher Day’ is an opportunity to celebrate schools, colleges, teachers and support staff across the country for their incredible, invaluable work, and so we are thrilled today to recognise Lead Teacher, Daniel Magnoff.

“It is an absolute privilege to be recognised as a UCL Quality Mark Beacon School. The support from the Centre for Holocaust Education over the last two years has been critical in developing and delivering transformative teaching and learning at the college. The Beacon School programme has not only provided incisive and searching CPD but has also provided the space and inspiration for us to develop the key local history research into the Holocaust that drives our cross-curricular schemes of work. This has proved vital in connecting our students to the events of the period, as well as helping them to reflect on the contexts that make genocide possible and the potential for complicity in all societies. It was a pleasure to have Nic at the school and her meticulous and supportive feedback has made us excited about developing our provision over the next 3 years.”

Daniel Magnoff, Head of History

 

Whilst Daniel has led and driven the schools’ Beacon work – the success of the programme and it’s impact upon student knowledge, understanding, experience and outcomes, is thanks to a dedicated history team – whom he is rightly hugely proud of, colleagues across the school and with the support of Principal, Felicity Corcoran and her SLT colleagues. Together, we commend all at St Michael’s for their innovative, engaging and cutting-edge provision and practice in Holocaust education, their professionalism, commitment to ongoing professional development, pastoral care and safeguarding, civics and leadership – their Salesian values of respect, understanding, affection and humour are lived, not laminated.

The future full report that will follow in due course, will evidence a range of key strengths, including:

  1. The intent and implementation of the History curriculum, and, increasingly, across a range of subject areas, bares the hallmarks of deep thinking, planning, innovation and quality curriculum design.
  2. Teaching and learning about the Holocaust is outstanding and embedded in UCL Centre pedagogic principles and informed by research. Lessons observed revealed range of quality and range of teacher talk and questioning, challenge and curiosity. Students were engaged and active in their learning, whilst teachers were knowledgeable, passionate, and inspiring.
  3. Student experience, outcomes and regard for Holocaust education, their teachers and value of this history was extraordinary. Student voice panels showcased the impact of this work and its significance. St Michael’s students are informed, engaged, inspired, and empowered by this deep learning experience and their insights were revealing, thoughtful, powerful – they are the school and Beacon School programmes’ best advocates. Their voices deserve to be heard widely and will feature prominently in the full report. Lesson observations and student voice also spoke to the strength of student/teacher relationship across the school and the regard for all within the St Michael’s community.
  4. Beacon School status is supported by Senior leaders and increasingly embedded within and seen as integral to the college’s values, educational vision, and culture. Senior leaders are rightly proud of all that has been achieved to date, but acknowledge the Quality Mark is not a destination, but an ongoing journey.
  5. Reflective senior and middle leaders are forward looking. They recognise the need for continued professional development to invest in staff and thereby further equip their community of practice and build capacity to ensure this work embeds, adapts, and flourishes over time
  6. Drawing upon local history connections and making the history relevant is a particularly strong and innovative feature of provision.

The review process also verified the respect afforded testimony and importance of humanising the history through personal stories, like Leon Greenman and his family, the regard for research informed practice and the application of Centre pedagogic principles throughout.  We look forward to sharing more details soon.

Achieving Quality Mark status at any time is a significant achievement, to do so during a pandemic, is more impressive and commendable.  Successful accreditation is testimony to sustained hard work and innovation. It remains our pleasure and privilege to partner with the school, with Daniel and colleagues, and to support St Michael’s work. We offer our congratulations to the staff, students, families’, and community of St Michael’s Catholic College – on this ‘thank a teacher day’ it’s a timely reminder of what a school, a teacher/s, and those working with young people every day can achieve and the incredible difference they make. We thank all those working tirelessly to promote and embed quality Holocaust teaching and learning in their schools and classrooms – it is difficult, challenging, uncomfortable, important and invaluable work.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been designated a UCL Quality Mark Beacon School. This award is recognition not only of the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at St Michael’s but also of the importance of the work itself. The Beacon School programme has had a hugely positive impact on teaching and learning at the college and has been instrumental in contributing to our Salesian mission and RUAH ethos. We look forward to developing this partnership further over the coming years and to extending our support of other schools across the Catholic Schools Partnership and the SSLP.”
Felicity Corcoran, Principal

 

Full details of St Michael’s established curriculum and enrichment offer regards Holocaust education and active global citizenship, will be available next term upon full publication of the report.

The Quality Mark scheme is a great way to celebrate and share best practice and is both developmental and forward looking. Beacon School alumni considering undertaking the Quality mark process should contact Nicola Wetherall, our Head of External Relations and School Partnerships, or read more here.

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