Anne Frank education programme has a proven impact on racism

Olivia Miller
Picture by Anne Frank Trust UK

New research led by the University’s School of Psychology shows that anti-prejudice workshops based on the life of Anne Frank are having a significant and lasting impact in British schools.

Postgraduate researcher Katie Goodbun, supervised by Professor Dominic Abrams, has found that 92.5% of 10- to 15-year-olds become more positive towards groups of people different from themselves, as a result of a programme run by the Anne Frank Trust UK. The groups include black people, disabled people, Jewish people, LGBT people, Muslims and refugees.

Further findings in the research report, titled Just Being Human, include:

  • Two-thirds of young people maintain more positive attitudes 18 months to two years after finishing the programme
  • Young people with the most negative attitudes make the greatest progress
  • Significant and lasting impact on young people’s knowledge of prejudice, empathy towards others, and confidence in talking about prejudice

Founded 30 years ago by friends of Anne Frank’s father Otto, the Anne Frank Trust UK is the British education partner of the Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam. This new research finds that while the Trust’s workshops start by teaching about antisemitism during the Holocaust, they successfully generalise the learning to a wide range of prejudice today.

The researchers also note that the programme’s impact is maintained even when adapted for online delivery because of Covid-19 restrictions. In the last year the Trust has reached 14,000 young people in 178 schools in England and Scotland.

Katie Goodbun said: ‘The evidence presented in ‘Just Being Human’ clearly demonstrates that the Anne Frank Trust UK educational programmes continue to have a very positive and long-lasting impact on the knowledge, confidence, and attitudes of the young people who take part. It is even more impressive that this positive impact has not only been maintained, but in some areas improved upon, despite the Covid 19 restrictions. This is truly a testament to the commitment of the Anne Frank Trust team and to the incredible and inspiring young people involved across all programmes.’

Professor Abrams said: ‘Despite the challenging context of the pandemic, the evidence shows that the Anne Frank Trust’s programmes make a significant difference to young people’s ability to recognise, understand, and respond to prejudice. This charity is leading the way in empowering the next generation to create a better society for all.’

Will Quince, Minister for Children and Families said: ‘It is so important that our children and young people learn about respect and how to celebrate one another’s differences, so I’m really pleased to see that the anti-prejudice programmes run by the Anne Frank Trust are having a positive impact on young people.

‘Schools can be a central place where children learn about healthy relationships and our new Relationships, Sex, and Health Education curriculum will help to build on this important work and ensure that all pupils are taught about the importance of diversity, equality, and tolerance.’