Millthorpe marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Staff and students at Millthorpe joined thousands of people across the country to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January. In the morning student took part in special lessons run by the History, RE and MFL departments, aimed at achieving a better understanding of the Holocaust that took place in the Second World War and what the Holocaust means today. In the afternoon students watched a film about the White Rose non-violent German resistance movement. At the end of the day students wrote their thoughts onto pieces of card and we have hung these on a memory tree in Reception. Students thought about what they had learned, what had moved them the most and what they will do differently as a consequence. You can read a selection of the cards in the gallery below and please take a moment to look at the memory tree next time you are in school.

This year was our seventh Holocaust Memorial Day at Millthorpe and we were pleased to welcome Creative Learning Partnerships, a theatre in education group, to take part in the day. Three actors from York St John University performed a 20 minute play to all of our Year 7, 8 and 9 students. The play was written by Colin Jackson and is based on the words of Ibi Ginsburg, a Holocaust survivor from the Second World War. It is a powerful and thought provoking piece, which underlines the importance of our collective responsibility to stop prejudice and discrimination.

Three actors from York St John University perform the play to students

Three actors from York St John University perform the play to students

Following the performance, a group of 30 Year 9 students took part in a drama workshop run by Colin Jackson and the actors. Students explored their reactions to the play and human rights abuses taking place both in this country and across the world.

Colin Jackson works

Colin Jackson with Year 9 students in the drama workshop

If any parents and carers would like to see the play, Creative Learning Partnerships will be performing it on Sunday 31 January, 6.15pm at York Explore Library. The play is suitable for children aged 11 and over and is free to attend.

HMD Logo

Holocaust Memorial Day

Wednesday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial DayThis is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

On Wednesday, Year 9 students will not do their usual lessons. Instead, they will have three lessons in the morning run by the History, RE and MFL departments, aimed at achieving a better understanding of the Holocaust that took place during the Second World War and what the Holocaust means today. In the afternoon, they will watch a film about a young woman who was part of the White Rose non-violent German resistance movement in Nazi Germany and then write their reflections on the day onto pieces of card to be hung on a memory tree in reception.

In RE students will look at what happened in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau to help decide who was responsible for the Holocaust.

In RE students will look at what happened in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau to help decide who was responsible for the Holocaust.

The History department will look at how images represent the Holocaust and how the Holocaust should be remembered.

The History department will look at how images represent the Holocaust and how the Holocaust should be remembered.

In the afternoon students will watch a film depicting the work of the White Rose, a non-violent German resistance movement in Nazi Germany.

In the afternoon students will watch a film depicting the work of the White Rose, a non-violent German resistance movement in Nazi Germany.

The day will begin with a performance by Creative Learning Partnerships. The performance uses words of holocaust survivors from the Second World War and more recent genocides as a mechanism for remembrance and an understanding of our collective responsibility to stop prejudice and discrimination. 28 Year 9 students have also opted to take part in a drama workshop run by Creative Learning Partnerships and the York Human Rights City Network. This workshop will explore experiences from genocides across the world and through the ages. Students will explore how these atrocities have been reflected through art, politics and law, and whether we process genocide differently now than in the past.

Sir Nicholas Winton Assembly

In preparation for Holocaust Memorial Day all students attended an assembly this week lead by Mr Noble, Head of RE. The assembly, based on this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme of Don’t Stand By, looked at the work of Sir Nicholas Winton. On 9 November 1938, Nazi storm troopers along with members of the SS and Hitler Youth beat and murdered Jews, broke into and wrecked Jewish homes, and brutalised Jewish women and children while German authorities looked on without intervening.

Following this, British authorities agreed to allow an unspecified number of children under the age of 17 to enter Great Britain from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The families of the children had to pay £50; in return, the British government agreed to allow children to enter the country on temporary travel visas. Parents and carers could not accompany the children. In all, the rescue operation brought about 9,000 to 10,000 children to Great Britain; some 7,500 of these children were Jewish.

Sir Nicholas Winton worked to arrange everything the children needed, including finding host families and raising funds to cover the travel expenses of the children. Winton was able to arrange for 669 children to come to the UK, the majority of whom were Jewish. In 1988, Winton was invited to appear on the TV programme That’s Life where, to his surprise, he was reunited with some of the children, now adults, he had helped. For most of them it was the first time they found out who had rescued them. You can watch a clip from the programme below:

Winton was subsequently awarded many honours, including a knighthood, the Freedom of the Cities of both Prague and London, and the Order of the White Lion, the Czech Republic’s highest honour.

You can see a copy of Mr Noble’s assembly presentation by clicking here.

Teaching and Learning: rewriting the rulebook

Teachers at Millthorpe School were welcomed back in the New Year to a new teaching and learning framework. The Millthorpe framework for Great Teaching and Learning is the product of teachers’ feedback from the professional learning they have taken part in over the past two years. All teachers have responded to professional learning modules, which have shared some of the best practice and educational research from around the world, by trialling strategies in their own classrooms.

Since we began this journey in 2013, we have run fourteen separate professional learning modules and held two training days led entirely by our own teaching staff. Teachers are professionals: they do not need telling how to teach. However, they do need opportunities to develop their practice and exposure to the best educational thinkers like John Hattie, Carol Dweck, Barry Hymer and Robert Marzarno, to name just a few. Teachers are then able to reflect on this research and apply it in their own classroom. Some teachers have invited colleagues to observe them using particular teaching strategies and others have recorded their own lessons using iPods to review the impact of new teaching approaches. The result is a teaching and learning framework that is based on what really works for our students and our teachers, who are continually developing as experts in the classroom.

Later this half term, teachers are meeting after school at a series of teach meets to share the work they have been doing since our October training day. We are hoping to gather all of this great practice and publish it, so that it is made widely available. We will continue to ensure that every student has a great experience at Millthorpe by constantly striving to improve what we do in the classroom.

Mr Bates
Assistant Headteacher

York LGBT History Month

After a successful Raise your Rainbow day in support of York Pride last June and an LGBT-themed National Anti-Bullying Week in November, Millthorpe will be recognising LGBT History Month at the start of February.

Students will have a launch assembly showing them places around York that have LGBT historical roots and a follow up lesson where they will be invited to take part in Outword Bound, an LGBT History Month writing competition.

A set of posters, shown below, will be displayed around school to recognise figures from the past who made significant achievements in their respective fields as well as being a part of the LGBT community.

Events will be taking place all around York in February to celebrate LGBT History Month. Visit yorklgbthistory.org.uk for more information.