It is fitting to end the academic year with formal announcement of ‘reaccredited’ Quality Mark Beacon School, Children’s Support Service (CSS): a second school to successfully achieve ‘Quality Mark’ status since 2016. Earlier this year the service secured ‘redesignation’ of its status – and we are delighted to reaffirm CSS’ continued commitment to quality, highly specialised provision for, and experience of, Holocaust teaching and learning.

Full details of CSS’ established curriculum and enrichment offer regards Holocaust education and active global citizenship, is available here.

The report identifies and speak to key strengths, including:

  • Strong, deep roots embedded within the school curriculum.
  • Considerable thought, planning and innovation.
  • A truly whole-service, community approach and culture.
  • Contribution to personal development and whole school priorities.
  • Culture, community and wellbeing.
  • Safeguarding and civic.
  • Access for all.
  • Respect for students.
  • An inspirational Lead Teacher.
  • SLT engagement and leadership.
  • Responding to the 2016 EBIs.
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development and engaging in research informed practice.

We are thrilled to recognise Lead Teacher, Tony Cole, his colleagues across the service and Head of Service, Jo Barak, for their dedication, innovation, professionalism, and leadership – their values are lived and not simply laminated.

The full report identifies a range of outstanding practice embodied in their cross-curricular Holocaust Learning Week that is both research-informed and secured in UCL pedagogical principles.

Reviewer, Nic Wetherall MBE remarked:

Across the service there is a commitment to empowering ALL learners and an embracing Holocaust teaching and learning about the Holocaust as a right, and about safeguarding for the future. There is ample evidence to suggest that because of the work that is taking place at CSS, its learners have important opportunities to become the informed, actively engaged and empowered local, national and global citizens we need. And for that, I wholeheartedly commend and congratulate all who are involved in the service’s Beacon School activities.’

Despite a global pandemic, CSS have retained their status as a true ‘Beacon’. They continue to work on innovative projects and special events; often inspired by annual national HMD themes. They are a reflective and forward-looking service who are open to share best practice, partner and connect. The respect afforded testimony and the relationships built with the survivor community, especially the Kleinman family, is profound and speaks to the service’ values and educational vision. The review found CSS’ regard for research-informed practice, application of Centre pedagogic principles enriches the provision, opportunities and experiences of learners – both in terms of Holocaust teaching and learning and generically.

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, Tony, and colleagues, and to support CSS’ work. We offer our congratulations to CSS staff, students, families’, and community. At a time of political, social, economic and global uncertainty; rising hate, division, denial and distortion, conflict and migration, CSS’ work offers a timely antidote: a reminder of what a school, a teacher, and community can do.

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 Head of External Relations and School Partnerships Nicola Wetherall or read more here.

Learn more about Children’s Support Service: https://www.css-essex.co.uk/.

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