Facing History UK - 2023 in Review | Facing History & Ourselves
Facing History & Ourselves
Educators listening to Facing History & Ourselves staff speak.

Facing History UK - 2023 in Review

As 2023 comes to a close we look back at what we've achieved together to grow our community and stand up to bigotry and hate.

This year, we have grown our community and our resources. We are reaching more teachers and students, and continue to develop new resources to support complex discussions in the classroom. 

Your continued support ensures we are helping teachers to diversify their school curriculums and uplift marginalised voices in the classroom, and to support students to become more actively engaged in creating and protecting an inclusive society.

I feel challenged to move away from "tunnel" thinking … instead moving toward developing a "Brave Space" for students to speak out.
— Facing History UK Teacher

We wanted to share with you a few highlights from the past twelve months from across our range of programme and community activities.  

New Resources

This year we published a new five-lesson unit, Discussing Contemporary Islamophobia in the Classroom, and two lessons, Teaching in the Wake of Violence, and Processing the Violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. We also provided 33 assembly PowerPoints on a range of topics, from Safer Internet Day to South Asian Heritage Month.  

We created two drop down days for teachers who are looking for ways to invigorate their RSE, PSHE and Citizenship curriculums, as well as enrichment and personal development opportunities for their students. 

The two themed off-timetable days are Celebrating Black History and Choosing to Act. Both encourage students to consider how they have the power to impact others and shape their communities.

An Upstanders Journey

Programme Associate Aqsa Islam spent an engaging day with students taking part in our “Upstanders: Choosing to Act” drop down day.

New CPD Training

It has been another busy year delivering a mix of online and in-person CPD, and we are very fortunate to have been hosted by some wonderful schools and partner organisations - including a one-day Teaching An Inspector Calls workshop at The Shard! 

In the Spring term, we piloted a new approach to Teaching Holocaust and Human Behaviour by offering a three-week, facilitated online mini-course. A new module was introduced each week, with participants following self-guided work and then joining in a live learning class on zoom.

I loved the combination of attention for content, teaching strategies, ethics and psychology.
— Teaching Holocaust and Human Behaviour mini-course participant

To introduce educators to our two units designed to support the discussion of racial and religious hatred in the classroom, we ran three Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism workshops in June, and two Discussing Contemporary Islamophobia workshops last month, in Islamophobia Awareness Month. In light of recent events, we know educators are turning to these resources even more as the incidence of antisemitism and Islamophobia hate crimes spike again.  

This year, we are thrilled to have worked in partnership with the following organisations across our content creation and teacher training and want to say a huge thank you for all their support: Generation 2 Generation, National Citizens Service Trust, Faith & Belief Forum, Manchester Jewish Museum, Solutions Not Sides, Stand Up! Education Against Discrimination, Holocaust Educational Trust, Arsenal in the Community, Imperial War Museum, Diverse Ed, Get the Trolls Out!, Islamophobia Awareness Month, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Growing our Community

As part of the launch of our new ‘Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom’ unit, we held an event at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) to showcase the superb redevelopment of their Holocaust Galleries and introduce our supporters to the new teaching resources. Clare Lawlor, IWM Public Engagement Producer, gave us an insightful tour of the Holocaust Galleries, including fascinating design ideas that help guide visitor experience and engagement with the exhibits. Working with partners like the IWM allows us to contextualise our teacher resources and the real-world impact they have for Facing History students.

Facing History's work goes beyond the classroom, with opportunities to explore important topics in a variety of ways. In March, we were joined by corporate partners, donors and educators to witness a performance of George Takei's Allegiance followed by a talk-back session with the cast. 

The musical was a moving depiction of the impact that internment had on Japanese-American citizens during World War Two and the moral conflicts it generated within families and amongst the community. After the event, members of the cast joined us to reflect on what this history can teach us about our present responsibilities as democratic citizens, and how these stories can support students to become engaged Upstanders. 

"The lesson to be learned from this chapter is [that] we have to examine the issues of the time and be actively engaged, particularly in a democracy, because in a democracy the citizen has the responsibility to appoint the right politicians as leaders." 

- George Takei

George Takei in “Allegiance”

George Takei in “Allegiance”

Hearing from George and the cast after the performance was extra special

Courtesy of George Takei

Also, this year we hosted our first “Facing History at Work” session with our Corporate Partner, Tokio Marine HCC. TMHCC’s staff joined students from St Claudine's Catholic School for Girls for a classroom session, led by the Facing History Programme team, on critical thinking in the workplace.

Afterwards, the students networked with staff from different departments, including London Market, Finance, CSR, IT and HR. This provided a unique opportunity for the students to get an insight into TMHCC as an organisation and learn about the variety of roles involved in the business.

It was really valuable to hear about different routes into the workplace and how transferable different subject areas are when thinking about careers. The two sessions prompted students to think about how the skills they practice in a Facing History classroom can be applied in a professional setting.

“Facing History at Work” in action

Learning together

Staff and students discussing why critical thinking is important in the workplace

Career stations

Students get a chance to learn more about the different roles within the company

This year, our approach has helped thousands of young people think independently and recognise their own agency to change their schools and communities for the better. Thank you for sharing our vision. We're so excited to see what the next year holds. 

We would like to wish you and your loved ones a very healthy, happy and peaceful winter break. 

Beki and the Facing History UK team