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At the chalkface
A load of Balls
What have Americans ever done My 11th year deserve so much
for us? Eh? What have they ever better. Can’t we go back to the
Holocaust used to teach
given our education system? former leavers’ gigs when won-
Well, rather a lot – and it’s derful headteacher Gale Keller
growing all the time. Things like would make us all laugh and
SATs, rampant illiteracy, teenage cry with fabulous anecdotes and
depression, tick box exams, crack poignant reminiscence?
cocaine, aspirational bollocks, Or to those tutor group parties
pupils to Think Equal
guns and knives, university fees, with weeping hooligans singing
raw unencumbered capitalism, along to the Notorious Biggie
academies sponsored by hellfire Smalls Missing You – or was it Each course is tailored spe-
prophets, the creation Dancing Queen? Or to
by Chris Parr
cifically to the individual school’s
of an underclass, those voyages down the needs, with representatives from
the celebration of Thames where my job A school in Milton Keynes has the HET working with teachers
spontaneous ignorance, was to stay sober and become the first outside London to ascertain what topics should be
a robust contempt stop the likes of Shaka to start delivering a new course covered.
for intellectuals, and from going overboard that uses the Holocaust as a way Simon Viccars, headteacher at
mumbo jumbo mantras on spliff. Or to those of discussing issues of racism and the school, told SecEd that he hoped
like “Every Child lovely picnics reading sad intolerance. the programme would make the
Matters”. poems in the 6th form gar- Year 9 pupils at Leon School participating students “a little more
I could go on. And dens? Apparently not. We and Sports College began Think aware, and a little less inclined to
the latest is a load of must, as ever, have a lot of Equal on Tuesday (May 19), and act without thinking first”.
balls. They’re all the silly modern balls. it is hoped that the workshops He added: “There are incidents
go. Leaving Balls. May Leaving school is a huge and presentations – including a of racial tension in the local area
Balls. High School rite of passage. It’s impos- speech by Holocaust survivor Rudi and, because of our location, these
Balls – like in the sibly sentimental for all of Oppenheimer – will help to tackle issues can leak into the school.
“OC”. Out go fuddy-duddy us. I still can’t cope with mine. issues of racial tension in the local “Equality is the single most
Leavers’ Discos in the gym. Or theirs. I remember their first area. important citizenship lesson that
In come Farewell Balls in day. All scrubbed up and lined Mr Oppenheimer lost both his schools are charged with delivering,
The Ritz. Now it’s all stretch up in the north playground. The parents to illness while the family and the Holocaust was the worst
limos and fancy frocks and Moss Start Rite kids so full of wonder. were incarcerated in the Bergen- example of how dangerous intoler-
Bros tuxedos and Toni and Guy Then whoosh! Fast forward 1,500 Belsen concentration camp, and ance can be. We hope that the Think
hairdos. It all looks like an estate hours. And it’s gone. And they’re he spent Tuesday (May 19) taking Equal activities will encourage the
agents’ or a Wags’ convention – a gone. Gone forever out of those questions from the year 9 students. students to think before they make
ghastly corporate bash. school gates into the unkind Anita Parmar, deputy head judgements.”
Call me a killjoy. Call me a world. of education at the Holocaust Ms Parmar added: “In Milton
snob. Call me old-fashioned, but I watch the shaving cream Educational Trust (HET), which Keynes, we will use local examples
what meretricious capers! Can’t fights and the magic markings on created the course, explained: “We of racist crimes, and relate them back
the minister stop them? Can’t shirts and limbs which say things want Think Equal to offer schools a to how the Nazis in Germany viewed
Balls stop the Balls? They’re like “I love you man!” or “I way to discuss issues such as racial the Jews. The students will then dis-
divisive, expensive, exclusive, always loved you and you never hatred with their students. cuss the dangers of stereotyping,
and demeaning. The poor can’t knew” or “The rest is silence” “It is designed to be used by scape-goating, and prejudice.”
afford them, the hip loathe them, or “Be lucky man!” Indeed. And schools in areas where racial ten- The activities take two terms to
the shy avoid them, and the nut- then I watch them disappear... sions run high. In this case, Leon complete in total, and are funded in
ters, like Dervish and Decibelle, School is located on an estate that full by the HET.
are banned from them. Just like • Ian Whitwham is a former has, in the past, reported incidents Neveragain:PrisonersattheAuschwitzconcentrationcamp Schools interested in delivering
for Open Evenings and Ofsted. secondary school teacher. of racial tension, and has seen activ- photographedbyliberatingRussianforces.Thelessonsofthe the course should contact the HET
ity from political extremists.” HolocaustformacentralfocusoftheThinkEqualprogramme via
20 SecEd • May 21 2009
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