Nishkam High School – Quality Mark

Despite COVID-19 and school closures, we are thrilled to announce our 15th Quality Mark Beacon School – Nishkam High School.

Nishkam’s principal and senior leaders recognise the whole-school benefits of quality provision for, and experience, of Holocaust teaching and learning and they appreciate the academic and holistic outcomes that such a profound and rich learning experience provides. In committing to the Beacon School programme – Nishkam High School has relished the opportunity to invest in staff with the programme’s FREE access to specialist CPD and embraced research informed practice. The outcome is a rich and vibrant Holocaust curriculum; the quiet commitment and passion of its Lead Teacher has guaranteed a strong scheme of work, authentically linked to the school’s ‘faith inspired and virtues led’ approach to education and ambitiously embedded within its disciplinary distinctive context. Combined with impressive enrichment opportunities, Holocaust provision at Nishkam High School, including partnership and engagement with the Echo Eternal initiative, continues to result in impressive and creative student outcomes. It demonstrates just what is possible when professionals work together in a spirit of openness, collaboration of specialism and vision.

View Niskham’s ‘Echo’ – ‘The Ring’ here:

In Miss Moody (Beacon School Lead Teacher), Nishkam enjoyed a committed Holocaust educator, an experienced and innovative, gifted teacher and aspiring senior leader, determined to develop Beacon School status and provision. She enjoyed the collegiality of her department and the support of senior and other colleagues across the school and will leave a lasting curriculum legacy that Mr Popplewell and Miss Heard will build upon and lead in the months and years to come.

The whole school has embraced the Beacon School programme and adapted their Holocaust teaching and learning to the Centre’s pedagogy.

All this has been made possible thanks to strong SLT support, including former SLT link Ms McSorley and the ongoing strategic leadership and vision of Principal Damien Kearns. The Trust and SLT support in facilitating quality, research informed curriculum opportunities and innovation, CPD access and networking, has ensured Holocaust education is a right for all Nishkam learners and we look forward to working with Ms Wilks and colleagues as we take the report’s strategic recommendations forward.

Together with the Centre, Nishkam High School has truly embarked on the ‘Beacon School journey’ to its fullest – it is an immense team effort and we are delighted to partner and re-designate this richly deserving school its Beacon School status for a further three years.

Key strengths of Nishkam High School’s quality provision for and evolving specialism in Holocaust education include:

  • Beacon School status plays a crucial part in securing excellent SMSC provision and undoubtedly contributes to developing learners’ emotional literacy.
  • Innovative and creative partnership with CORE Trust and its Echo Eternal initiative.
  • Independent thinking is being embedded within Holocaust education and the pedagogy of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education is distinctively recognisable.
  • Innovative and impactful use of summative assessment.
  • Ambitious and reflective students, staff and senior leadership. Senior leaders and teachers alike are committed to the principle that all learners have the right to access quality Holocaust education.
  • Nishkam High School has developed a clear rationale for their approach to Holocaust education that speaks to affective and cognitive outcomes for learners. They are developing a specialism and expertise in the field that is rare, particularly with its virtues led’ approach.
  • This scheme of work/learning is informed by the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education pedagogy and educational principles.
  • A vocabulary of rights was an undercurrent, informing or framing several student contributions throughout the review process – more could be made of this for behaviour for learning, citizenship, and indeed in securing UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools status.
  • Pedagogical practice in Holocaust and genocide education at Nishkam High School is underpinned by investment in and commitment to research-informed CPD.
  • Student voice was strong: students were articulate, offering sophisticated and nuanced insights in empathetic, confident and thoughtful ways. Student substantive knowledge was shown to be sound, their use of subject specific terminology excellent. The students were the school’s best ambassadors regarding the impact of Holocaust education.
  • Personal stories were a feature of the Holocaust scheme of work that the students found particularly compelling.
  • Strong and supportive leadership from Principal Damien Kearns, the SLT team, the Lead Teacher and teacher colleagues has been critical to the success of the development of Holocaust education at Nishkam High School.
  • The passion, commitment and expertise of Lead Teacher, Miss Moody, is widely acknowledged as the original driver of the project, but the strength and status of the Beacon programme lies in the school and its whole school commitment to this work
  • Nishkam High School have found their participation in the UCL Beacon School programme to be important in and of itself, but also recognised its opportunities to serve other whole school, educational policy agendas: Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural development, Global Learning, Fundamental British Values, citizenship, Values/Faith/Personal Development and Prevent to name but some. Together this work serves to enhance and enrich the students’ personalised curriculum, sense of self, personal development, well-being and safety.

Our Quality Mark review process confirms that Nishkam High School’s Holocaust education is a powerful contributor to both a curriculum that informs, engages, empowers and inspires its learners and driver for school improvement. Given so much excellence, it is fitting Nishkam High be recognised for its innovation in, provision for, and commitment to, quality Holocaust education with this prestigious award.

The Centre’s Nicola Wetherall MBE remarked:

‘It was an honour to review Nishkam High School and learn more about your impressive provision for and quality teaching and learning about the Holocaust. I was moved, inspired, impressed and empowered by the depth and quality of opportunity and engagement, your Holocaust teaching and learning is indeed strong and distinctive feature of practice. Your genocide education continues to emerge, and is contributing to a curriculum that informs, engages, empowers and inspires its learners and does support wider school improvement. This Quality Mark is richly deserved recognition of your efforts, including its being driven by such a passionate and gifted middle leader, in a spirit of openness and collegiality in a school where relationships, values, civics and personal development matters. Thank you to the students who spoke so eloquently and openly about their learning and to the staff and senior leaders who gave me precious time to reflect upon the impact of their work. Together, Nishkam High School, students and staff, have and are achieving so much in the field of Holocaust teaching and learning – including during school closure amid a global pandemic. You should be very proud, congratulations to you all on this award.’

This is another example of the Centre’s successful and impactful partnering with schools and their networks across the country. Nishkam High School epitomises the ethos, aims and ambition of the Centre’s Beacon School programme: all involved in the school’s Quality Mark process, including Executive Director, Professor Stuart Foster are proud of the achievement, but with the school open to development and refining of practice we all look forward to seeing how its Holocaust teaching and learning develops.

Read Nishkam High School’s full report here:

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