Vision Schools Scotland

University of the West of Scotland

April 3, 2019
by Catriona Oates

Professional Learning Opportunity: Citizenship and Holocaust Education Master’s Level Module

We are very pleased to share the news that applications are now invited for our Master’s level module on Citizenship and Holocaust Education. This is relevant for any interested educators in schools, museums, FE colleges and other settings who wish to develop their knowledge of this important issue. All information is in the attached PDF, but please don’t hesitate to contact us, via twitter,  email through our website or give us a call – we’d be delighted to speak to you about it.

Module in Citizenship & Holocaust Education




March 28, 2019
by Catriona Oates

Student testimony

At Vision Schools, we love to hear about what is going on in and out of  the classroom under the ‘Holocaust Education’ banner. If you have a story you’d like to tell, please get in touch and we will share it here across our Vision Schools community. Here, Amanda Stewart, S5 pupil at Bishopbriggs Academy reflects on her varied and memorable experiences of Holocaust Education, in and out of school. Many thanks for sharing this with us, Amanda!

I felt very lucky to be able to go to Poland with my school and get the chance to visit Auschwitz concentration camp. Visiting Auschwitz was a heart-wrenching and eye-opening experience that showed a visceral insight into humanity at its worst. Although the Holocaust is a topic that I have been learning about in school since I was in primary school, seeing the camp in person was truly shocking and hard to process. It’s heart breaking to learn about it in a classroom, but to see a place of so much suffering and death in real life was difficult to both comprehend and describe. I know that it is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, as it showed the value of preserving the past and gave me a new perspective.

I also was very grateful to take part in the Holocaust Memorial activities, which gave me the chance to present information and discuss the topic of the Holocaust with both pupils and my school and students at a local prison. This was also a very valuable activity as it allowed me to understand the importance of sharing these stories. We are one of the last generations that will be privileged enough to hear these stories first-hand, and we can already see that information around the holocaust is fading. Many people do not know much about it or do not know or believe that it happened in the first place. It is essential that we share information about it and ensure that we use the past to learn from and to preserve our future. 



March 26, 2019
by Catriona Oates

Sharing Vision Schools success……

At Vision Schools we are very excited (UNDERSTATEMENT!!) to share this rather lovely news with all our lovely friends and followers. A very big ‘well done’ to our director, Dr Paula Cowan for these successful funding applications. It all adds up to helping the team work with teachers in developing your Holocaust education programmes, and maybe become a Vision School.  See our website for details of the application process – we’d love to hear from you!


Media release 

19 March 2019  



Teachers across Scotland will be given the opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust thanks to new funding for Vision Schools Scotland, the organisation set up by the University of the West of Scotland (UWSin partnership with the Holocaust Educational Trust to promote excellence in teaching the Holocaust in schools.   


The funding, which was granted by The Gordon Cook Foundation and the Association of Jewish Refugees, will help Vision Schools Scotland develop its accreditation process and the continued professional development (CPD) courses it offers teachers in primary and secondary schools across the country.  


Vision Schools Scotland was first established in 2017 to create a schools’ network of good practice in Holocaust education. It acknowledges schools who embed Holocaust education in their school and who can demonstrate how Holocaust education contributes to responsible citizenship in their school 


Dr Paula Cowan, Reader in Education at the University of the West of Scotland and Director of Vision Schools Scotland, said: “We want tsupport every school applying to our programme and develop our network of teachers who can share good practice with their peers. Since our launch in 2017, five secondary and two primary schools have received the Vision Schools Scotland Award, which recognises excellence in Holocaust teaching. Teacher evaluation of our programme demonstrates that Vision Schools Scotland is making a valuable contribution to both their own and their colleagues’ reflective practice.  

Wlook forward to working with these schools, as well as new schools who want to become a Vision School, and to working more closely with our partners, The Holocaust Educational Trust and our funders to the engagement of greater numbers of teachers in high quality CPD in Holocaust education.” 

Karen Pollock MBEChief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Vision Schools Scotland has been working effectively with schools and teachers to promote excellence in Holocaust teaching. This funding means that their work can expand further in the coming years and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with them on this.” 

Jim Anderson, Trustee of the Gordon Cook Foundation, said: “The Gordon Cook Foundation is looking forward to working with Vision Schools Scotland to raise awareness of the Holocaust in schools across Scotland. We believe the mission of Vision Schools is an important one in today’s society.” 

Michael Newman, Chief Executive of the Association of Jewish Refugees, said: “The most important step we can take to ensure that the Holocaust is taught successfully in schools is to provide opportunities for continuing professional development for teachers. The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) is pleased to support the ground-breaking Vision Schools Scotland programme to create a network of expert practitioners across Scotland.” 

Further information on Vision Schools Scotland can be found on the Vision Schools Scotland website, and blog 


For more information please contact: 

Marketing and communication officers Lauren Gaston or Naomi Clark on or call 0141 849 4230  


February 4, 2019
by Catriona Oates

Free book – Questions I am asked about the Holocaust

In honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, independent publisher Scribe will be distributing 1000 copies of the new title Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust to UK schools and libraries.. In this brief, eloquent book, suitable for adults or younger readers alike, a campaigning ninety-four year-old survivor answers the questions about the Holocaust you never dared to ask – and explains why today’s politicians need to heed the lessons of the past more than ever

To request copies for your school or library, please email the close of business on February 22 specifying your postal address, the quantity requested and whether you would like teaching notes. You will receive an email confirmation when books are dispatched.

January 17, 2019
by Jane Caffrey


Expressions of Interest for 2019 are now open.

Schools which want to apply for Vision Schools Scotland accreditation are required to express their interest in this before submitting their application. Expressions of interest should be emailed to FAO Jane Caffrey.

Vision Schools Scotland Timeline:

  • 10th October – 28th January 2019:   school  submit  their expression of   interest in applying for Vision Schools Scotland accreditation
  • 15th April – 13th May: schools submit Vision School Scotland applications
  • End of June:  schools receive feedback on their application
  • November: successful schools awarded Vision Schools accreditation

How to Apply:


Download the application form (MS Word or pdf formats)

A Helpful guide from the teachers at St Roch’s Secondary, Glasgow

November 30, 2018
by Catriona Oates

Vision Schools at the IHRA plenary – Ferrara, Italy


Vision Schools’ director, Dr Paula Cowan was working with international colleagues in Holocaust Education  at the IHRA plenary in Italy this week. Here she is pictured with  Sally Sealey,  Lord Eric Pickles, Gilly Carr (University of Cambridge)  and Olivia Marks- Waldman ( HMDT) . – some of the other UK delegates on IHRA.  In the centre photo, Paula is pictured with Gilly Carr , at the Academic Working Group of the IHRA . We’re all looking forward to learning about what advances were made in Holocaust Education and partnership while she was away! Good work, Paula!


November 20, 2018
by Catriona Oates

Calling all Vision Schools teachers…and anyone else interested in Citizenship and Holocaust Education….

You might have already seen our exciting news about our new blended Masters’ level professional learning for teachers and any other interested educators, developing your professional knowledge of teaching citizenship and HE in schools….. the closing date for applications is fast approaching! If you are interested, please send your application in on or before DECEMBER 8th 2018.

Please get in touch with admissions if you have any questions…. or tweet us @VisionSchools……we are looking forward to hearing from you!



November 9, 2018
by Catriona Oates

Holocaust Education; some professional learning for staff

Jenny Carson, from our partners,  the Holocaust Education Trust, attended our awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament yesterday. Jenny was kind enough to offer some twilight professional learning for interested teachers in advance of Thursday’s awards. Some 20 teachers from schools in and around the Glasgow area attended a workshop hosted by St Roch’s Secondary – a Vision School.


Jenny led a workshop outlining, among many other things, the importance of discussing terms and definitions when teaching Holocaust Education to children and young people. She highlighted some of the opportunities available to staff to deepen their own knowledge of HE through the acclaimed Lessons from Auschwitz programme, and we all participated in negotiating ethical dilemmas and choices in different situations when  perpetrators; bystanders; resisters or accomplices were, or might be involved. 


It was an excellent session, and we are very grateful to Patrick McShane (Modern Studies teacher) and Stephen Stone (HT) for kindly hosting the event for us. It was a lovely prelude to the awards ceremony, and useful staff development for everyone involved.



We thought Patrick’s corridor display was spectacular!

November 9, 2018
by Catriona Oates

Vision Schools Awards 2018

On Thursday, 8th November, on the eve of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we at Vision Schools were extremely proud to be able to see all the hard work of our Vision Schools colleagues – teachers and pupils – justly rewarded at a very special ceremony in the Burns room of the Scottish Parliament.

The ceremony had the right mix of solemnity and celebration for the occasion. We were joined by representatives from the Association  for Jewish refugees; Sense Over Sectarianism; the EIS,  the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Anne Frank Trust and many MSPs, including Leader of the House,  Ken Macintosh.  Dr Paula Cowan welcomed everyone and Jackson Carlaw, MSP  gave a warm and  enthusiastic address. Lord Pickles,  UK’s  Special Envoy on Post-Holocaust issues, distributed  Level 1  awards to lead teachers and pupils from  The Royal High School, Edinburgh; St Roch’s,Secondary School, Glasgow; St Columba’s High School, Inverclyde; Calderwood Lodge Primary School, East Renfrewshire, and a Level 2 award to   Bishopbriggs Academy, East Dunbartonshire. Lord Pickles shared some closing remarks, congratulating the hard work of everyone involved, and gave a timely reminder that denial and distortion are huge threats to freedom and democracy in our times. This and illustrate exactly why the work in Holocaust Education is more important now, more than ever for our young people.

St Columba’s pupils and teacher, John McKay receive their award from Lord Pickles

St Rochs staff, Patrick MacShane and HT Stephen Stone with pupils receiving their award.

Calderwood Lodge staff and pupils at the Scottish Parliament with Jackson Carlow and Ken McIntosh, MSPs; Lord Eric Pickles, and Dr Paula Cowan

Royal High School receive their Vision Schools Award

A very proud Vision Schools team, with L-R Prof Henry Maitles, UWS, Catriona Oates, UWS Jackson Carlow MSP Jenny Carson, Holocaust Educational Trust, Dr Paula Cowan, UWS, Lord Eric Pickles, Dr Andrew Killen UWS, Dr Susan Henderson, UWS, Jane Caffrey, UWS and Abi Ledwith, UWS

Bishopbriggs Academy have shared their own experiences already on their school website – please have a look and congratulate them!

It was a very enjoyable afternoon and everyone in the Vision Schools team at UWS is immensely proud of the hard work and achievements of all the teachers and young people involved. We are looking forward to advancing this work with you immensely. Good job everyone!


Here is the official press release from the University of the West of Scotland

Innovation and good practice in Holocaust Education  recognised in Scotland


Five schools across  Scotland have been recognised for their  good practice  in  Holocaust education at a special event held at the Scottish Parliament.


Vision Schools Scotland, a partnership between University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and the Holocaust Educational Trust, awarded Level 1 status to St Roch’s Secondary in Glasgow, the Royal High School in Edinburgh, Calderwood Lodge Primary in East Renfrewshire and St Columba’s School, Inverclyde, and Level  2 status to Whilst Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire. was awarded Level 2 status.


A Vision School is committed to the view that learning about the Holocaust is a vital part of young people’s education. In order to be accredited, schools must demonstrate their existing commitment to the importance of Holocaust education and to developing teacher confidence to ensure expertise in this subject matter, therefore establishing a network of Holocaust education teachers in Scotland.


With two levels of achievement available, the programme embeds responsible citizenship at its core, a key principle of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, as it encourages effective and sustained school-based Holocaust education.


The event, held at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 8 November 2018, was hosted by Jackson Carlaw MSP, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. The Rt Hon Lord Pickles, who holds the role as Special Envoy for post-Holocaust Issues, and is co-chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation Advisory Board was a guest speaker.


Lord Pickles said: “The Holocaust is one of the most crucial and compelling topics studied in schools today. Students who have an opportunity to examine the causes and consequences of the Holocaust feel it is the most intensive, engaging and life changing  course of study they undertake in their school career.”


“Projects like Vision Schools Scotland are crucial in establishing a strong culture of Holocaust studies in the United Kingdom, allowing young people to learn the lessons of history and instilling teachers with the confidence to teach creatively about this challenging subject.”


Dr. Paula Cowan, Reader in Education at UWS’ School of Education, Director of Vision Schools Scotland, said: “We are very pleased that so many schools across Scotland have expressed an interest in becoming a Vision School, and congratulate our newly accredited schools.”


“These schools effectively provide opportunities for leadership and shared learning by pupils through embedding Holocaust Education. This ensures that pupils learn both about, and from, the Holocaust. Both types of learning contribute to anti-racist education and responsible citizenship, and support religious equality. Lessons from the Holocaust engage students in wider learning that explores the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust, such as the importance of human rights.”


Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “There are many vital lessons that can be learnt from the Holocaust and it is imperative that future generations never forget. We are pleased to be running this programme and taking a lead role in the delivery of Holocaust Education best practice in Scottish schools.”


For more information on the Vision Schools Scotland Programme please visit:



For more information, please contact Lauren Gaston / Naomi Clark, Marketing and Communications Officer at UWS, on 0141 849 4230

About University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is one of Scotland’s largest modern universities. It aims to have a transformational influence on the economic, social and cultural development of the West of Scotland, and beyond, by providing relevant, high quality, inclusive higher education and innovative and useful research. The University aims to make the communities it serves more successful; and create opportunities for all to participate.

October 1, 2018
by Catriona Oates

Calling all educators! Citizenship and HE module is now live!

At Vision Schools we are delighted to share our exciting news that our new SCQF level 11 module in Citizenship and Holocaust Education is now open for enrolment. The module is designed as a blended (face to face AND online)professional learning opportunity for all educators interested in Citizenship and HE in schools, museums or other relevant organisations.

The module will begin in January 2019 and conclude in June with a summative assessment. Pathways to other level 11 programmes are available, should any participants be interested in completing further modules for a full Masters’ qualification. Please have a look at the details by clicking on the image above  for further information on the content, structure and application advice for the module.

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