Fact Check: UK Did NOT Debate Removing The Holocaust From School Curriculums 'This Week' In May 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: UK Did NOT Debate Removing The Holocaust From School Curriculums 'This Week' In May 2024 Old Post

Was there a debate that took place in the UK in May 2024 about removing the Holocaust from school curricula? No, that's not true: A social media post making the claim in May 2024 began circulating in 2019. Years earlier, a 2007 report circulated about one UK school where the Holocaust was not taught as an optional topic. The British government in 2008 denied that schools had banned discussing the Holocaust.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on April 29, 2019, but reappeared on May 20, 2024. It opened:

When I was a kid, I couldn't understand why Eisenhower was so popular. Maybe this will explain why.
General Eisenhower Warned Us.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-05-20 at 1.48.15 PM.png(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon May 20 20:17:56 2024 UTC)

The post claims:

This week, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet... However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

Had the United Kingdom debated whether to remove teaching students about the Holocaust amid the Hamas-Israel war in 2024 that would have been international news. As Google search of keywords returned zero matching results for "this week" of May 2024.

The search did yield a BBC article (archived here) published on April 17, 2007, titled, "Holocaust 'ban' e-mail confusion," and addressed a similar false claim:

But a spokesman for England's Department for Education and Skills added: "Teaching of the Holocaust is already compulsory in schools at Key Stage 3 [ages 11 to 14].
"It will remain so in the new KS3 curriculum from September 2008."

The 2007 BBC article noted the claim may have been based on a report commissioned by England's Department for Education and Skills from the Historical Association (archived here). The BBC article quoted the report:

It said: "Teachers avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned

"Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes."

"In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

Page 15 of the report cited one individual class not discussing the Holocaust as a topic:

For example, a history department in a northern city recently avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils.

Similar claims have been debunked by multiple fact checking organizations, including by Snopes in 2007, by FactCheck in 2008 and by Reuters in 2008.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks concerning the Holocaust are here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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