A WEE COUNTY school last week became one of a few in Scotland to receive the highest recognition for Holocaust education.

Pupils and teachers from Alva Academy were at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, February 10, to receive their Level 2 Vision School for Holocaust Education status.

The Hillfoots secondary school was one of five to be awarded as part of the Vision Schools Scotland programme run by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and the Holocaust Educational Trust.

However, Alva was the only one to achieve Level 2 status and, it is understood, joined just three others in Scotland with the same award.

Not only that, the Clacks secondary became the first to achieve bot levels in a short time period, having been recognised with a Level 1 award in 2020.

The accolade recognises the school's achievements in committing to the importance of Holocaust education and to developing teacher knowledge to ensure continued expertise in this subject matter.

The programme embeds responsible citizenship at its core and the celebratory event at Holyrood was hosted by MSPs Jackie Baillie and Jackson Carlaw.

Scott McEwan, headteacher at Alva Academy, previously explained how staff and young people have worked together extremely hard to develop a strategy that "delivers the most important topic of work in our curriculum".

He said: "[It is] a subject matter that really highlights what can happen when you let hatred thrive in your society and do not stand against intolerance.

"I am extremely proud of our team of teachers and young people who deserve all of the praise for this fantastic achievement."

Guest speakers at the parliamentary event last week included education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, and poet, broadcaster and former Children' Laureate, Michael Rosen.

The awards came just a few weeks after the country and the school observed Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

Dr Paula Cowan, director for Vision Schools Scotland and reader of education at UWS' School of Education and Social Sciences, added: "Congratulations to our new Vision Schools, and of course to Alva Academy for developing their teaching of the Holocaust, during what has been an exceptionally challenging year for schools.

"There are now 23 Vision Schools and our network extends to 50 schools.

"We are so delighted that schools across Scotland are not only continuing to apply to be a Vision School, but that existing Vision Schools are renewing their commitment."