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Statement from Professor Stuart Foster from the Centre for Holocaust Education

This statement below, praising Dale Banham and Ian Luff’s SHP History Year 9, the approach they took to writing the book and the material it contains on the Holocaust was issued by Professor Stuart Foster, Executive Director of the Centre for Holocaust Education at UCL.

You may be aware of a recent online CPD from the University College London (UCL) Centre of Holocaust Education which focuses on how textbooks commonly portray the Holocaust. This online CPD, resulting from our extensive research published in 2017, explains the thinking behind the launch of our new KS3 textbook which aims to support high quality teaching and learning about the Holocaust in secondary schools.

The academic publication which summarises the key findings of the in-depth study which underpinned both the CPD and the new textbook is entitled ‘Portrayals of the Holocaust in English History Textbooks, 1991-2016’. It was published by Routledge and featured in the journal, Holocaust Studies. The article analysed the content of 21 textbooks commonly used in history classrooms since 1991 and identified areas for development in the way that this crucial subject area is taught in schools. The research also identified strengths in the approach taken in some textbooks. I urge you to access it at before logging into the new online CPD. This will enable you to appreciate our new textbook in its research context. Our online CPD provides an overview of ways in which some educators can improve how they teach about the Holocaust. In particular, it encourages educators to ensure that their practice is consistent with the criteria established by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance).

We at the Centre for Holocaust Education are trying to build on and extend the strengths of the best work already published. For example, in our 2017 research we consistently highlighted the thoughtful approach taken by the Schools History Project in their high quality SHP History Year 9 book (published in 2009 and written by Dale Banham and Ian Luff). The Year 9 History book was part of the very popular and very well respected SHP Key Stage 3 series edited by Ian Dawson and Chris Culpin. The chapter in Banham and Luff’s textbook which focuses on the Holocaust makes full use of the rich and compelling perspectives offered by survivors, ensuring that students are given opportunities to see those persecuted not as faceless mass of victims but as individuals. It provides important insights into Jewish responses during the early stages of persecution and the case studies of Jewish resistance ensure that Jewish people are not portrayed as passive objects of persecution and murder but active subjects with agency and value. The innovative approach taken within this book also gives due attention to issues of complicity and the way that the Holocaust unfolded in Eastern Europe.

The best textbooks of recent years typically are historically rigorous, thought-provoking and engaging. The aim of our new Holocaust textbook (Understanding the Holocaust: How and why did it happen?) is to build on the success of high quality textbooks such as those authored by Banham and Luff and produce a detailed, research-informed resource to help improve teaching and learning of this vital but complex history.

Professor Stuart Foster
Executive Director
Centre for Holocaust Education
Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
UCL Institute of Education