St Michael’s Church of England High School – Quality Mark

We are delighted that St Michael’s Church of England High School becomes our 13th Quality Mark Beacon School

With Mr Ben Egelnick as the projects Lead Teacher, and with the support of Headtecher Mrs Jayne Jenks and SLT link Mrs Caroline Hooley, St Michael’s Church of England High School, has totally committed itself to the Beacon School programme – relishing its investment in staff, welcoming FREE access to CPD and embracing of research informed practice. Senior leaders recognised early the whole-school benefits of quality provision for and experience of Holocaust education and understood the academic and holistic outcomes that such a profound and rich learning experience could provide. The outcome is a rich and vibrant Holocaust curriculum that is authentic with the school’s character and context, values and mission. Their forward-looking vision has ensured Holocaust education is a right for all learners. The passionate commitment and scholarly reflections of Mr Egelnick has guaranteed a strong scheme of work, and this is ambitiously linking to inter disciplinary and enrichment opportunities that are innovative and producing impressive student outcomes. Together with the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, St Michael’s Church of England High School has truly embarked on the ‘Beacon School journey’ with thought, care and passion; it is a ‘whole team’ effort that has ensured the curriculum is academically rigorous, stimulating and embedding in ‘good’ history, whilst addressing wider safeguarding concerns and developing the individual. We are delighted to partner and re-designate the schools Beacon School status for a further three years.

Key strengths of the St Michael’s Church of England High School’s quality provision for and evolving specialism in Holocaust education include:

  • The quality of teaching and learning, and the outcomes for learners, particularly within History, has benefitted from Beacon School status.
  • Beacon School status plays a crucial part in securing excellent SMSC provision and this should be widely celebrated.
  • Value-driven and reflective school leadership: sense of mission befitting the school’s religious character, focus on whole person education.
  • Headteacher Mrs Jenks is an articulate advocate for Holocaust teaching and learning and appreciates its contribution to the curriculum and the St Michael’s experience. She is rightly proud of Mr Egelnick’s Beacon Schools work to date and is committed to developing this further as part of their outstanding character education. Mrs Jenks vision and leadership has ensured clarity of purpose.
  • Clarity and open communication with staff and governors regard the value of Holocaust teaching and learning has been fundamental to ‘team St Michaels’ embracing the Beacon School journey and making it bespoke to the needs of learners and fit for context; consequently, the programme feels authentic and not simply an add on or niche feature of the school.
  • Senior leaders and teachers are committed to the principle that all learners have the right to access quality Holocaust education.
  • The scheme of work/learning is enhanced by a range of UCL Centre for Holocaust Education materials, and richly informed by its pedagogy and educational principles.
  • Summative assessment opportunities within the scheme of work/learning are student led and demonstrate progress. Attainment outcomes are impressive and demonstrates impact of the scheme, approach and learning; both substantively and holistically.
  • Literacy opportunities within the scheme, and indeed observed in the review lesson, are rich, engaging and an example of best practice. Besides her clear historical skills, Miss Carter has a strength and flair for understanding literacy across the curriculum.
  • The centrepiece of St Michael’s Church of England High Schools strength in Holocaust education is built upon quality teaching and learning: the lesson observed for the purposes of review bore all hallmarks of quality teaching, rather than just quality teaching about the Holocaust.
  • Personal stories were a feature of the Holocaust scheme of work that the students found particularly compelling, especially the thread of Leon Greenman and family.
  • Strong and supportive leadership from the Mrs Hooley as SLT link has been critical to the success of the development of Holocaust teaching and learning at St Michael’s and in enabling specialist UCL CPD opportunities for staff.
  • Mr Egelnick’s knowledge, commitment and emerging specialism in Holocaust education is widely acknowledged as the impetus of the project. He leads a highly experienced team of reflective practitioners and as Lead Teacher has been able to effectively communicate the programmes goals to fellow colleagues across the school to ensure movement towards a whole school approach.
  • St. Michael’s students were found to be articulate, thoughtful citizens; keen to learn, respectful and are the school’s best advocates.
  • The school’s Beacon School work undoubtedly contributes positively to developing learners’ emotional literacy.
  • It is clear the Beacon School project has been instrumental to staff and school engagement with academic and educational research.
  • The emergence of their creative, but disciplinary distinct Holocaust provision in Maths, ICT and science is hugely ambitious and innovative. The embedding of numeracy opportunities within Holocaust related schemes or lessons is outstanding.

Our Quality Mark review process confirms that St Michael’s Church of England 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 St Michael’s 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 absolute pleasure to visit St Michael’s and see for myself some of the incredibly innovative and impactful work you are doing. Your evolving specialism is abundantly clear: your provision for and quality teaching and learning about the Holocaust is impressive for its disciplinary distinctiveness, the embedding of literacy and numeracy opportunities which is outstanding and for its student outcomes. This Quality Mark is richly deserved recognition of your commitment to, innovation within, Holocaust teaching and learning. The support of Mrs Jenks and Mrs Hooley has ensured it is and tied explicitly and implicitly to the school values, pedagogical vision, policy and practice. All this being driven by a passionate and gifted middle leader, Mr Egelnick, who has ensured research-informed pedagogy is shared to support school improvement. His History colleagues have fully committed, been open to challenge and the CPD opportunities, and their spirit of reflection and the enthusiasm goes a long way to explaining the Beacon School success at the departmental level. Thankyou to the students who welcomed me to their school and spoke so eloquently about their learning, and to the staff and senior leaders who gave me precious time to reflect upon the impact of their CPD, experience of Holocaust education and the outcomes for their learners. It was wonderful to spend time in your learning community: Team St Michael’s (students, parents, wider community, as well as teachers, support staff, governors and the Diocese) should be hugely proud of all that has been achieved to date. You are doing impressive, and hugely important, work. Congratulations to all involved.

This is another example of the Centre’s successful and impactful partnering with schools and their networks across the country. St Michael’s Church of England 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 mentor Tom Haward and 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 what the future of Holocaust teaching and learning at St Michael’s may look like.

Read St Michael’s Church of England High School’s full report here


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