THE Holocaust should be a mandatory part of the Scottish curriculum, teachers have said.

The genocide, in which some six million Jews were killed, is currently taught in many primary and secondary schools, but is not compulsory.

Primary pupils already routinely learn about the Holocaust through the study of Anne Frank’s diary and the subject is discussed in religious and moral education classes and is a feature of the history curriculum.

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Some senior pupils also get the chance to visit death camps such as Auschwitz as part of educational school trips.

However, members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said the Holocaust was so important it should be embedded in Curriculum for Excellence.

Carolyn Ritchie, a Glasgow teacher, said: “We live in dangerous times and it is all too easy to see the curriculum as over-crowded and things can get pushed to one side. This is so important it should not be pushed to one side.”

A teacher from the Scottish Borders argued the subject should not be mandatory because it was already such a strong feature of religious and moral education.

However, Susan Quinn, branch secretary of the Glasgow local association, said the call was about establishing Holocaust education as a feature of Curriculum for Excellence.

She said: “This is not just in relation to certain parts of the Holocaust, but to take it and make it something that is wider that will allow us to discuss all of the issues that come from the atrocities there and into modern society.”

John Swinburne, a history Edinburgh teacher, said schools needed to teach about the “horrendous inhumanity about this historic event”.

He added: “This motion is about embedding a necessary element of the curriculum and I do think it should be a mandatory part of teaching in Scottish schools.”

Nicola Fisher, a teacher from Glasgow, added: “This is not just about educating children, this is about building the kind of society in which we would like to live.

“One of the ways in which we prevent a Holocaust from happening is by teaching young people about it.

“We cannot underestimate the threat of the rise of the Far Right at the moment and the influence they have and the callous attitudes to the Holocaust on social media and quite often they are also attacking the Jewish population.

“Our children and young people spend a lot of time on social media and they are at risk and we need to equip them to read those types of communications with a critical eye and be able to reject it.”

Delegates voted overwhelming to back a campaign to establish Holocaust education as a feature of the curriculum.

Later, the EIS also agreed to affiliate to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE campaign which is campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) issues to be taught in all schools.

Recent research from TIE found nine out of ten LGBT pupils experienced homophobia at school, while 42 per cent had attempted suicide as a result of being bullied.

A TIE spokesman said: “This is a massive step forward for us and makes very clear that Scotland is ready for inclusive education in all of our schools.”