Schoolchildren shine a light for Dora Love Prize

  • Date

    Wed 7 Jul 21

Against all the odds, six schools from Essex and Suffolk completed the Dora Love Prize this year with Northgate High School in Ipswich and SET Saxmundham School announced joint winners.

The two winning teams were awarded their prize by Janet Love, the daughter of Holocaust survivor and educator Dora Love, at an online ceremony.

Speaking about this year’s competition, Janet Love, who was one of four judges, praised all those who took part for their “truly remarkable presentations,” adding that the “creativity displayed through the project ideas and through the implementation” made selecting a winner difficult.

The theme for the 2020-21 Prize aligned to the national Holocaust Memorial Day Trust theme: Be the Light in the Darkness.

The year 9 pupils at Northgate were recognised for their project which reshaped the School curriculum, academically and pastorally, to ensure it reflects, celebrates and values the diversity of all the School’s students. Working with Suffolk Police, Holocaust survivor Frank Bright, and Shelia Barbosa who organised Ipswich’s 2020 Black Lives Matter protest they created a video and a set of School pledges addressing hate crime and discrimination.

Dale Banham, Deputy Headteacher at Northgate, said: “We are very proud of the work completed by our students which will make a lasting difference to the curriculum we offer at the school.

“The prize itself has been ‘a light in a time of darkness’ and we have benefitted so much from being involved in such an important human rights and holocaust education project,” he added.

SET Saxmundham pupils used the Dora Love Prize to recognise and celebrate those who help others in dark times. Working with 25 local business, they created a mask trail. They also made a board game for young people; produced a video which has been seen by more than 3,000 primary school children at 28 schools; and made postcards so that children could shine a light on someone who has helped them through the pandemic.

Speaking about their project, James Woolven, the School's Humanities Lead Practitioner, said: “The students were inspired by many of the incredible people that shone out during the pandemic such as key workers in the NHS, shop workers, the incredible fundraising efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore and the work of Marcus Rashford supporting children living in food poverty.”

In its ninth year, with many schools forced to shut because of lockdowns and children sent home to isolate, this year’s Dora Love Prize has been the most challenging yet.

Emeritus Professor Rainer Schulze, from the Department of History, who is founder and coordinator of the prize, said: “This past year was like no other – the pandemic meant that we could not do things in the same way as we had always done them in the past.

“Against all the odds, six schools did in the end manage to submit projects – and all six were incredible and fantastic projects in their own different ways. Clearly nothing, not even a pandemic, could get in the way of these students when they are so committed to speaking out and standing up against injustices and discrimination, hatred, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and all the other ways of dividing people into 'us' and 'them'.”

The four other schools that took part this year were Colchester County High School of Girls, Dartford Science and Technology College, The Gilberd School and Ormiston Rivers Academy.