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School trips to Auschwitz

by: Ben Simons - Last updated: 2008-02-05



The Government is to commit funding to enable two pupils from every sixth form and college in England to visit Auschwitz and has also hit back on internet rumours that the Holocaust is to be removed from the national curriculum.

The announcement by Schools Minister Jim Knight will see £4.75m to cover the cost of the trip as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme.

The funding will cover three years from now until 2008 and provides students with both pre and post education about the Holocaust. During this year, up to 4,000 pupils are expected to go to Poland.

"Sometimes getting out of the classroom and actually visiting the places where historic events happened can be the best way to truly grasp the enormity of what occurred," said Jim Knight. "It is vital that future generations understand the lessons of Auschwitz both for its own importance, but also to understand other genocides and hate crimes."

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families added: "Teaching of the Holocaust is compulsory in all secondary schools between the ages of 11 and 14 and can also be studied in GCSE history courses when studying the Second World War. There is also scope to cover it in English, politics lessons and citizenship classes. The Holocaust Educational Trust’s project is extremely valuable and one I am delighted the Government is able to support."

Balls also put an end to rumours that the Government would be dropping Holocaust education by further saying: "“We are clear that there are certain non-negotiable subjects, which are protected in schools - one of those is the Holocaust. I believe the Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in world history and I want every young person to have an understanding of it."