The Sunday Telegraph
Pupils taught ‘lighter’ version of Holocaust at younger age
TEACHERS are “shielding” children from the full horrors of the Holocaust by increasingly “sanitising” lessons, researchers have warned.
This is due to a “worrying trend” whereby children are being taught about it at a younger age, according to Prof Stuart Foster, executive director of University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education, which is undertaking a major study on the issue.
Youngsters are now six times more likely to learn about the Holocaust when they are in Year Seven or Eight than they were a decade ago.
“What we found from our study 10 years ago is that children were primarily taught about it in the summer term of Year Nine,” Prof Foster said.
“It is a danger if it goes younger and you therefore avoid some of the awful things. There is a danger that it becomes a more sanitised version of history.”
It comes amid concern about rising anti-Jewish sentiment in Britain in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict last month which has seen pro-Palestine marchers holding placards displaying Nazi symbols and anti-Semitic material.
During the centre’s research, which will be published later this year, teachers reported having to “soften” their approach to teaching the Holocaust for Year Seven and Eight who are less emotionally mature so need “shielding”.
Since 1991, the Holocaust has been listed as statutory content which must be taught in all secondary schools as part of the national curriculum for youngsters during Key Stage 3, which runs from Year Seven to Year Nine.