Birthday thoughts: Anne Frank at 90
It is both poignant to think that Anne Frank could have been celebrating her 90th birthday. It is wonderful for us as a school to have a strong link to her story as alumnae Valerie Singleton and Lesley Judd covered her story when they were presenting Blue Peter in the 1970s.
Sarah Bell - RS and PSHE Co-ordinator - reflects on Anne's role in her teaching. "Since I came here in 2003, I have felt that it is really necessary to teach about Anne because of the utterly relatable nature of her life. She was a teenager in attitude and approach, before the phrase was in wide usage. Her diary still has great value and power. She writes about her issues and her dramas but it also shows us what prejudice and discrimination feels like. Pupils have valued learning about this as well as learning from this. Her diary is as much about "life lessons" as it is about the RS or indeed History curriculum. It a haunting primary source, reflecting an almost unimaginable era of horror and inhumanity . Her life and her potential cut short really resonates with my pupils. One of them once described her writing as a dystopic masterpiece, thus recognising the twisted world that Anne did not choose as her reality. Writing about this was her escape; our pupils recognise in her another creative soul.
Anne was only months away from freedom, when upon betrayal, the group of 8 hiding above her father's business in Amsterdam were deported on the last train to the concentration camps. Only her father survived.
The famous interview with Otto Frank in his 90s on Blue Peter was conducted by our Alumna Lesley Judd. This amazing individual spoke so profoundly about the core values that Anne's writing which still make us think about. Also, woven into this interview was a documentary done at the actual house and hiding place, by Valerie Singleton. It was this that made me want to become a teacher. Such was the power of this excellent interview, pitched at just the right level. From it I got the need to listen to, share and learn from the experiences, as well as share these core values. Becoming a teacher just made sense to me from then onwards - and I was aged only 9 at the time!
Furthermore, Lesley Judd also had the first ever opportunity and indeed honour of seeing the actual diary which Otto Frank brought with him to show on Blue Peter, such was the importance placed upon this interview."