Sandhurst School – Quality Mark

We are delighted to announce our 14th Quality Mark Beacon School – Sandhurst School.

The Beacon School year, building upon some strong existing practice, has led Sandhurst School towards a distinctive provision for and experience of quality Holocaust teaching and the constructed a curriculum offer that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. In line with the wider schools’ values and ethos – Holocaust education and genocide and human rights related teaching and learning is embedded within a culture and community of learning that embodies respect, empathy and inclusion. Holocaust education is seen as a right; an opportunity for all irrespective of stage, age, ability or any other factor. Such learning is possible through creative, personalised learning, when appropriate, ensuring all its students can encounter this subject matter and develop both academically and holistically as a result.

Sandhurst School’s headteacher, senior and middle 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. They have wholeheartedly embraced the Beacon School programme and relished the opportunity to invest in staff by accessing specialist, research informed CPD and as a consequence have recognised staff’s confidence, knowledge and pedagogical skill set grow. The outcome is a rich and vibrant Holocaust curriculum; the passion, commitment, inspirational leadership and human qualities of its Lead Teacher, Samantha Hunt,has guaranteed a strong disciplinary focused citizenship scheme of work, authentically linked to the school’s values and ethos.

The school’s Holocaust scheme of work sits within Citizenship and provides a curriculum framework that is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment, but has been developed with an intentional civic focus of ‘Creating Change’, inkeeping with the spirit of George Santayana when he said ‘A man’s feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.’

Whilst our principle focus for review, is the provision for and experience of teaching and learning about the Holocaust – rather than genocide –  there is much to commend, indeed some of Sandhurst School genocide prevention and awareness work is so innovative that it is European leading – the linking of Holocaust education to teaching and learning about genocide is both a challenge and an opportunity, a significant strength and area for ongoing development or refinement. It adds to, rather than distracts from their quality Holocaust teaching and learning.

In Ms Hunt (Beacon School Lead Teacher), Sandhurst School enjoy a committed Holocaust educator, an experienced and innovative, gifted teacher and senior leader, determined to develop Beacon School status and provision. She has secured the collegiality of her department and the support of senior colleagues. Along with the unstinting support of Headteacher Mrs Smith, she is cognisant that whilst proud of all that has been achieved to date, that there remains much work to do, and remains open to both sharing existing best practice with others whilst open to developmental opportunities to move Holocaust education and the school forward.

The whole school has embraced the Beacon School programme and adapted their Holocaust teaching and learning to the Centre’s pedagogy. This has been made possible thanks to strong SLT support, including the ongoing strategic leadership and vision of Headteacher, Mrs Smith. The SLT support in facilitating quality, research informed curriculum opportunities and innovation, CPD access and networking, has ensured Holocaust education is valued and relevant to Sandhurst learners and its wider community. Together with the Centre, Sandhurst School has truly embarked on the ‘Beacon School journey’ to its fullest – it is an immense team effort. We are delighted to partner and re-designate this richly deserving school its Beacon School status for a further three years and are excited to be continue working with Ms Hunt and colleagues as we take the report’s strategic recommendations forward.

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

  • Our Quality Mark review process confirms that Sandhurst School’s Holocaust education and genocide education provision is contributing to a curriculum that informs, engages, empowers and inspires its learners, resulting in impressive outcomes and its Beacon School work has supported wider school improvement.
  • The quality of teaching and learning, and the outcomes for learners, particularly within Citizenship, has benefitted from Beacon School status.
  • The passion, commitment and expertise of Lead Teacher, Ms Hunt, is widely acknowledged as the driver of the project, particularly regards the pedagogical care afforded the subject and her strong disciplinary, scholarly and values driven, civic and humanising approach.
  • This scheme of work/learning is informed by the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education pedagogy and educational principles.
  • The centrepiece of Sandhurst School’s strength in Holocaust education is built upon its constant pursuit for research informed quality teaching and learning
  • Strong and supportive leadership from the Headteacher Mrs Smith and Ms Hunt as Lead Teacher (but also in her role as Deputy Head), has been critical to the success of the development of Holocaust education at Sandhurst School. They are very positive, supportive, and convinced of the importance of Beacon School status; committed to quality Holocaust teaching and learning; and have afforded staff and the subject matter the developmental and curriculum time necessary, including staff access to UCL Centre for Holocaust Education CPD.
  • The lesson observed for the purposes of review bore the hallmarks of quality teaching, rather than just quality teaching about the Holocaust.
  • 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 regards the impact of Holocaust education.
  • Sandhurst School have found their participation in the UCL Beacon School programme to be important 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, healthy schools and Prevent. Together this work serves to enhance and enrich the students’ personalised curriculum, sense of self, personal development, well-being and safety.
  • Sandhurst School have 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 regarding its comparative genocide approach. As a result, the provision for and impact of Holocaust education at Sandhurst School has significantly improved because of UCL Beacon School programme participation.

The Centre’s Nicola Wetherall MBE remarked:

‘It was an absolute pleasure to visit Sandhurst School and learn more about your impressive provision for and quality teaching and learning about the Holocaust and your innovative and ambitious commitment to develop genocide education. I left moved, inspired, impressed and empowered by the depth and quality of opportunity and engagement; from the Holocaust, to Rwanda, to BLM and refugees in Calais – supported by SLT and tied explicitly and implicitly to school values, pedagogical vision, policy and practice you are informing and empowering a generation! This Quality Mark is richly deserved recognition of your efforts, including its being driven by such a passionate and gifted senior leader, in a spirit of openness and collegiality in a school where relationships and personal development matters. Thank you to the students who welcomed me to their school and 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, Sandhurst School, students and staff, have and are achieving so much. 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. Sandhurst 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 Sandhurst School’s full report here:

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