UCL Quality Mark

UCL Quality Mark

In March of this year, Torpoint Community College was delighted to receive their UCL Quality Mark in Holocaust Education status. Mrs. Lane, History Teacher and Lead Teacher for Holocaust Education in the College, travelled to Swindon to accept the prestigious award, at the ‘Empowering Young People to Change the World 2018’ conference and gala awards dinner.

UCL Centre for Holocaust Education works with schools to enable young people to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the significance of the Holocaust and to explore its relevance for their own lives and the contemporary world. Developing this area of the school curriculum has also been shown to have significant benefits for broader educational goals, for pupil engagement and achievement, and for teaching and learning across a range of subject disciplines.

The Quality Mark serves to uphold the integrity of the UCL Beacon School programme, ensures key criteria and expectations are met and that innovative best practice, specific to individual school contexts are recognised. The award of the Quality Mark and re-designation of UCL Beacon School status is the result of a successful review process.

The Quality Mark visit to Torpoint Community College was held in February of this year. Dr. Nicola Wetherall MBE shared the following findings in her comprehensive report:

During their Beacon School year, Torpoint Community College 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 in the South-West, in terms of its depth, vigour and innovation. As a result, the provision for and impact of Holocaust education at Torpoint Community College has significantly improved because of participating in the UCL Beacon School programme.

The scheme of work/learning and wider Holocaust education offered at Torpoint Community College has seen careful collaboration with a number of curriculum areas, develop in a coordinated way; retaining their distinctive disciplinary natures but enabling students to ‘join the dots’ and apply their knowledge and skills. Contributions by Drama, Geography and the tutor programme each retain its distinct disciplinary nature. This sets a compelling model for planned collaboration in other departments across the school and does demonstrate what is possible. This speaks too, to the ‘can do/can try’ attitude of staff, and the openness found throughout the review to reflect on existing strengths and consider areas of development as areas for opportunity and innovation.

Torpoint Community College have found their Beacon School to be important of itself, but recognised its opportunities to serve other whole school, educational policy agendas: SMSC, Global Learning, FBV, 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. The holistic values led approach is a model of excellence, as it does not become ‘lessons from’, nor atomised from a strong historical base. It is instead embedded in presenting students a range of evidence and stories and the opportunities to develop independent thinking and criticality. Using the UCL pedagogy and principles of practice, supported by excellent questioning, Torpoint Community College have enabled young people to discern, explore and reflect on the moral and ethical issues

Students and staff are interested, motivated and enthused by the approach and the subject matter. Student voice is especially strong: students are 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 Schools best ambassadors regards the impact of Holocaust education, understanding the depth of opportunities they enjoyed at Torpoint Community College in this area of study was not common, rightly regarding it a ‘…very powerful and important learning experience.’

Paul Salmons, Programme Director for UCL Centre for Holocaust Education commented; “We are delighted to award our ninth Quality Mark to Torpoint Community College, whose work as a Beacon School has been so richly recognised in their report, and whose passion and commitment to this programme has been recognised by Centre colleagues since 2016. The report testifies to how creative and innovative approaches to the past can help secure both academic and holistic outcomes for young people that are meaningful, whilst supporting generic teaching and learning benefits and playing its part in whole school improvement. Staff, governors, students and parents should be very proud of all that has been achieved to date, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you in coming years.”

Dr. Nicola Wetherall MBE also commented; Holocaust education at Torpoint Community College is outstanding; a superb example of how research informed pedagogy and innovative practice can help inform, engage, inspire and empower young people by safeguarding the future by learning about the past. Its provision is wide-ranging, innovative and of exceptional quality and innovation. With Acting Headteacher Dr Plumb and within its offer you find the core elements of all that is best about UCL Beacon School Quality Mark status. With College leadership team support from Mr Golding, a gifted and ambitious Lead Teacher, Mrs Lane, has embarked on a journey in partnership with the Centre, which has improved student outcomes, refreshed teaching and learning, encouraged research engagement, helped support school improvement and reinvigorated colleagues, both personally and professionally. Torpoint Community College provides all necessary proof that investing in Holocaust education can have far reaching consequences for curriculum design, assessment, teaching and learning, leadership, school improvement and investment in staff, whole person development, SMSC and far-reaching outcomes for learners – it was a huge pleasure to visit, to see such impactful and impressive work. Students, staff, community and governors should be proud of this Quality Mark award; it is richly deserved recognition of Torpoint Community College’s commitment and efforts in the field of Holocaust education.

I am delighted to report that Torpoint Community College have shown themselves richly deserving of our Quality Mark. Staff are truly committed to the view that the Holocaust is a critically important part of young people’s educational experience and appreciate the complex challenges that this rich and disturbing history poses, and its students recognise the worth and relevance of their experience of Holocaust education. They have a growing and much respected national and international reputation for this work and such recognition is richly deserved.”

You can read our UCL Quality Mark in Holocaust Education report here; https://www.holocausteducation.org.uk/courses-events/beacon-schools/beacon-school-quality-mark/torpoint-community-college-quality-mark/

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