Vision Schools Scotland

University of the West of Scotland

June 24, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

Holocaust Survivor Day – 24th June 2021 – Don’t be indifferent

Join us as and celebrate the lives of the survivors from your own community and the living legacies left by those who are no longer with us.

Why June 24?

June 26th is Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski’s birthday which falls on Shabbat this year so we are celebrating on Thursday, June 24th. This date  was chosen to acknowledge the importance and impact of the noted historian, journalist, and the moral conscience of Poland’s Jewish community, and especially his powerful speech at last year’s ceremony commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Mr. Turski had this to say:

“Auschwitz did not fall from the sky. It began with small forms of persecution of Jews. It happened; it means it can happen anywhere. That is why human rights and democratic constitutions must be defended. The eleventh commandment is important: Don’t be indifferent. Do not be indifferent when you see historical lies, do not be indifferent when any minority is discriminated against, do not be indifferent when power violates a social contract.”

Holocaust Survivor Day


On March 6, 2021, Michael Berenbaum and Jonathan Ornstein published the following op-ed in The Jerusalem Post calling for the creation of a “Holocaust Survivor Day.” In their words, “Holocaust survivors deserve a day of joy; a day of celebration. Not a day to share with condemnation of the Nazis, but a day to celebrate their lives they built in response to the Holocaust. Survivors represent the best in all of us, the best of the human spirit. They are our treasure and our light and we must shine that light into every dark corner of our world. We call on the world to join us and celebrate the inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day on June 26th.”


June 17, 2021
by Catriona Oates

VSS Shared Practice event – June 16th 2021

Hats off to our VSS schools who shared some inspiring practice at our twilight CPL session, supporting aspiring applicants for the award in putting together their application and sharing their work and expertise. The VSS team members in attendance were heartened, excited and very impressed with the quality of the work and the presentations given by VSS colleagues in Barrhead High School, Chryston High and Gryffe High, not least because this event fell on a twilight session in the second last week of an exceptional and challenging year. Your stamina and commitment inspired us, Grant Maybury and David Herd (Barrhead) Chloe McMullan, Danielle Phee (Chryston) and Jennifer Park, from Gryffe. Thank you for so ably flying the VSS flag and helping others in working towards achieving their level one award.

If you missed the event and would like to find out more, you can view the recording on this link.

April 27, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

Vision Schools Scotland partner Holocaust Educational Trust release CPD Teacher Training Dates

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) is partnered with Vision Schools Scotland and offers bespoke CPD training to teachers taking part in this programme.

Participation in HET’s online training programme is free of charge. To sign up to one or more of the trust’s online training sessions please email All sessions will take place on Zoom. You will need a computer with a camera and microphone to participate.

Our online training sessions are open to primary and secondary school teachers and trainees.

Dates are:

• Sunday 30 May – Teaching the Holocaust through the Jewish Country House – Zoom seminar – 10:00-11:30
• Sunday 30 May – Virtual Teacher Study Visit to France – 13:00-16:00
• Monday 31 May – Virtual Teacher Study Visit to France – 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00
• Tuesday 1 June – Teaching the Holocaust through the Jewish Country House – Zoom seminars – 10:00-11:30 and 13:30-15:00
• Wednesday 2 June – Remembering the Children: Maison d’Izieu – 10:00-11:30 and 13:30-15:00
• Thursday 3 June – Jewish Communities of French North Africa – times TBC.
• Friday 4 June – Exploring stories of hiding, rescue and escape in the primary classroom – 10.00-12.00.
• Friday 4 June – Meet Eve Kugler BEM – 14.00-16.00

March 31, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

CLPL Opportunities – VSS Shared Practice Events- 28th April 2021 & 16th June 2021

The Vision Schools Scotland Shared Practice events are currently planned as online events on Windows Teams on 28th April and 16th June 2021.

These events are for teachers who have expressed an interest in their school becoming a Vision School and for Level 1 Vision Schools who are working towards Level 2. Their aims are to support teachers with their Vision Schools Scotland application and to provide opportunities to interact with colleagues within the Vision Schools network.

Lead teachers in Holocaust Education can invite a maximum of four colleagues to each event. There will be different presentations from teachers from Level 1 and Level 2 Vision Schools, and opportunities to ask questions. We do hope you can join us.

Please register for 28th April via the Eventbrite link:

A link to MT teams will be sent 1 week prior to all attendees.

An Eventbrite link for 16th June will be posted in early May.

We look forward to seeing you on 28th April! 

March 23, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

Vision School and UWS launches pioneering new Holocaust educational resource

A pioneering new educational resource has been created by Vision Schools Scotland, at the University of the West of Scotland to support teaching secondary school pupils about the Holocaust. ​

Launched on 16th March 2021, the new online resource tells the story of Holocaust survivor, Marianne Grant, and is freely available to all secondary teachers in Scotland via the General Teaching Council for Scotland website.

The resource has been tailored for the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and was created with funding from the Association of Jewish Refugees, the Gordon Cook Foundation and the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust.

It comprises film testimony and a specialised teacher manual, bringing the importance of Holocaust education further into focus with contemporary examples of antisemitism and discrimination in Scotland and across the world.

The resource has been authored by Lynn Nisbet, Lecturer in Education and Dr Paula Cowan, Reader in Education at the University of the West of Scotland, who is also the Director of Vision Schools Scotland.

Dr Cowan said: “This resource was first distributed to schools by the Scottish Executive and Learning and Teaching in Scotland in 2002 and became obsolete.  This second edition comprises a digitised film and a teacher manual that focuses on the content and principles of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. We are so delighted to bring this valuable resource to a new generation of learners, to support teachers in their teaching of the Holocaust, and that teachers will be able to access this easily on the GTC Scotland website.

“Vision Schools Scotland is committed to supporting and encouraging teachers to not only teach secondary school pupils about the Holocaust, but to develop their own knowledge and skills in this incredibly important subject area, and keep conversations, discussions and, importantly, learning, about the events of the Holocaust alive for today’s young people.”

Marianne Grant’s daughter, Geraldine Shenkin, said the resource would be ‘immensely important to her’. She commented: “My mum was a remarkable lady who survived through horrendous times. To tell her story through this educational resource is the most wonderful way to continue her legacy for future generations. Her journey of survival and the horrors of the Holocaust should never be forgotten. All of her family are incredibly proud of her and her contribution to education.”

Dr Pauline Stephen, GTC Scotland Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “GTC Scotland is happy to be hosting Vision Schools Scotland’s teaching pack on our Equality and Diversity Hub and MyPL. This valuable resource for secondary teachers will provide young people with a deeply personal insight into the Holocaust and understanding of the importance of tackling discrimination in their daily lives. It is linked closely to the Professional Values of Social Justice, Trust and Respect and Integrity, which are at the heart of the Professional Standards for Teachers.”

The launch comes after five Schools across the country were recognised as part of the Vision Schools Scotland programme for their good practice in Holocaust education at a special online event earlier this month.

Guests included Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jackie Baillie MSP; Jackson Carlaw MSP and the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Mr John Swinney; as well as barrister and broadcaster, Robert Rinder, who hosts the reality courtroom series, Judge Rinder.

The Vision Schools Scotland programme is a partnership with the Holocaust Educational Trust which supports upper primary and secondary school teachers who teach the Holocaust by recognising, sharing and celebrating good practice in this area. 

Launched in 2017 with three schools, the programme has grown to include 19 Vision Schools, and a network of 40 to 50 schools that are involved in varying stages of the programme.

To access the resource, teachers can log in to their MyGTCS profile, click the MyPL icon and open the Resources section.

For more information on Vision Schools Scotland, please visit:


February 16, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

2020 Vision Schools Scotland Award Ceremony 11th February 2021

This event was a great success. Our thanks to: MSPs Jackson Carlaw for hosting this event and to Jackie Baillie for her support; to the Deputy First Minister John Swinney for his powerful address and for distributing the awards virtually to the five schools; to special guest speaker Robert Rinder for his inspiring contribution which began with recognising the amazing work and commitment of the five new Vision Schools, referring to them as ‘agents of courage’ and ended by responding to pupils’ questions. Thanks also to Lord Pickles, and Cat Kirkland from the Holocaust Educational Trust for their additional contributions.

In addition to the >130 people who attended the live event, this event was recorded and its link is being tweeted and retweeted. The event has, and is continuing to generate an excitement amongst schools, something that we all desperately need at this difficult time. Schools have been tweeting about reasons to be proud of their school and congratulating each other.

For your interest, here is the link to the event:

February 1, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

VISION SCHOOLS SCOTLAND – Expressions of Interest 2021

Expressions of Interest for 2021 have now CLOSED

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:

  • 19th October 2020 – 30th January 2021 : school submit their expression of interest in applying for Vision Schools Scotland accreditation
  • 12th April – 14th May 2021: schools submit Vision School Scotland applications
  • End of June: schools receive feedback on their application
  • November: successful schools awarded Vision Schools accreditation

January 27, 2021
by Jane Caffrey

UCU Scotland Holocaust Memorial meeting Thursday 28th January 2021 at 13:00

UCU Scotland is holding a Holocaust Memorial meeting this Thursday at 1:00pm. Speakers include Henry Maitles (University of west of Scotland) and Marion Hersh (Glasgow University). Details below.  All welcome.

Henry Maitles, co- author of “Teaching the Holocaust” discusses the importance of remembrance and resistance. Never Again

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