Saturday, September 24, 2011




Hundreds more state school pupils will have the opportunity to learn Latin and Greek, as a result of grants awarded by the newly created charity, Classics for All.

The charity wants to see an increase in the number of pupils taking GCSE and A level in Classical subjects (Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History) and also seeks to bring about a cultural change in schools so that Classics becomes commonly available in every school’s curriculum.

Teachers, academics and supporters of Classics for All believe that broadening access to Latin and Greek will enhance the confidence and ambition of state educated pupils, as well as improving grades in English, History and Modern Languages.

In its first round of grant-giving, the charity has awarded more than £90,000 to eight projects around the country. The grants will enable Latin and Ancient Greek to be taught in many state schools for the first time.

The awards have also been made to projects which target the desperate shortage of Classics teachers and will enable Classics training for teachers in primary and secondary schools where staff have some Latin but not necessarily Classics degrees. Organisations which can provide digital and video teaching resources have also benefitted in order to spread good practice and maintain high standards among specialist Classics teachers.

One of the projects supported by the charity is a small grant which will enable up to 160 children to spend a day at Norwich Castle museum talking to a Latin-speaking Roman soldier and learning about the language as it was written and spoken.

According to the chair of Classics for All’s Grants Advisory committee, Professor Tom Harrison of Liverpool University, the charity received so many applications it could have spent three or four times as much. He said,

“We received 37 truly inspiring applications but could only fund a few. It is very clear to us that there is huge demand from parents, pupils and teachers for Classics to be available to pupils studying in our state schools.”

Currently, Classics is available in roughly 16 per cent of state secondary schools, compared to 70 per cent of private schools. This summer, two thirds of Classics subjects taken at GCSE were sat by pupils from private schools. (Source: the Joint Council for Qualifications, 2011)

Too few Classics teachers

In 2010/11 the government funded the training of 28 new classics teachers but an estimated 53 retired. Government cuts have reduced the number of new Classics teachers being trained in 2011/12 to 25. In an attempt to redress the balance, Classics for All has provided funds for Bristol and Liverpool universities to send some of their best Classics students to teach for free in local schools. The aim is also to encourage students to consider continuing in the teaching profession after completing their studies.

Classics inspires academic confidence

The charity sees one of its objectives as encouraging ambition among state school pupils who may lack confidence in their own academic abilities. They believe many are perfectly capable of studying Classics and would enjoy being stretched.

Professor Harrison of Classics for All said,

“Teachers tell us that a training in Classics not only enhances pupils’ performance in subjects such as English, History and Modern Languages but also improves their self-esteem. The more academically successful they are, the more ambitious they become.”

In most cases, the grants have been awarded to support the introduction of Latin and Greek in schools where no Classics is currently available. However, some state schools which already offer Latin are being awarded money to add a broader range of Classical subjects to their timetable.

Burntwood Girls School in Tooting is one where Latin is already very popular. They have received a grant from Classics for All which means they can start teaching ancient Greek this term, using video conferencing. The school has 1700 pupils who come from diverse backgrounds, with 60 languages spoken at home and 20 per cent of pupils entitled to free school meals. A hundred and eighty girls across the school years study Latin and 32 took GCSE Latin this summer.

The charity believes ‘spreading good practice’ is the way to make available a broader range of Classical provision as well as increase the number of schools able to offer the subjects. Key to this is the creation of so-called ‘Classics hubs’, where schools which have specialist teachers share their expertise and resources with other neighbouring schools.

In Norfolk, a Classics for All funded project will bring Latin into a group of eight primary schools, using the Primary Latin Course (CUP) which is designed around the character of a Roman mouse called Minimus, who lives on Hadrian’s wall. The secondary school where most of their pupils will go will receive a grant to introduce the Cambridge Latin Course to its older pupils.

Successful projects have had to satisfy strict criteria to qualify. Each applicant has had to show their project will measurably widen access to Classics subjects in the state sector and that their projects can be replicated elsewhere. All will be monitored closely.

Classics for All was established in 2010 by Friends of Classics and the Joint Association of Classics Teachers, specifically to raise money to invest in projects for state schools. It is an independent registered charity, staffed largely by volunteers, which has no government funding and is reliant solely on donations.

It has quickly gained support from individual donors, many of whom are highly successful writers, authors, business people and broadcasters.

Their supporters include the playwright, Tom Stoppard, author and historian, Bettany Hughes and Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge University, who recently appeared in the television programme, Jamie’s Dream School, where she successfully taught Latin to a group of teenagers.

Please see below for more details of all the projects we have funded,


Lorna Bower, Director of Communications

07960 621518

Prof Tom Harrison, Chair, CfA Grants Advisory Committee

School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool

07411 179099

Burntwood School, Tooting, Principal Helen Dorfman

Head of Classics, Sarah Brack

0208 378 4041/ 0208 946 6201 or 07891 946068

Editor’s Notes

Filming/recording opportunity: Burntwood School, Tooting holds its Ancient Greek on Tuesday afternoons, Latin is daily. They have their own Media Consent Forms.

There are 3,960 state secondary schools in the UK, of which 1,117 offer Latin. There are roughly 740 privately funded schools, of which 447 offer Latin. (Source: CSCP)

Classics subjects are included in a school’s timetable at the discretion of the head teacher.

Further details of all CfA 2011 funded projects below.

Projects funded by Classics for All

1 Burntwood School, Tooting, London SW17

Burntwood School is a large inner London girls’ comprehensive school where 60 languages are spoken and 20% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

The school already offers Latin as part of the extended curriculum to 180 pupils and proposes to introduce Ancient Greek to a class of 20 year 9 pupils through an after school lesson, preparing pupils for a two year course in Classical Greek leading to a GCSE qualification.

Granted £5954 over three years

2 Primary Latin Project

The Primary Latin Project scheme will introduce, support and embed Latin in a rural cluster of schools in North Walsham, Norfolk, including a secondary school and 8 named primary schools.

The Minimus course will be introduced in the primary schools and the Cambridge Latin Course in the secondary school through year round after school lessons of up to 90 minutes. These will be supported by staff training, museum visits and a five-day summer school. Initially, work will target gifted and talented cohorts in the schools, but this will be extended to other pupils as demand grows. Work would benefit around 100 pupils in year one (10 per primary and 20 in the secondary school). The aim of PLP is to embed Latin in the curriculum and lead to a GCSE qualification for secondary school pupils.

Granted £20,000 over two years

3 Norwich Castle museum

Norwich Castle offers a comprehensive programme of education work with 14,000 school visits per year, including Roman days for primary schools. The Castle sought £1,000 to run two activity days to enhance Latin teaching in local primary schools. Activities, involving up to 80 pupils per day, will include i) an introduction to a Latin-speaking Roman solider and a retired Roman general ii) opportunities to handle Roman artefacts iii) participation in a Latin play and a Latin poetry session and iv) exploration of a gallery with Roman exhibits. This will take place in March and June 2012 and will be built around the content of the primary school Minimus course.

Granted one-year funding of £1,000

4 Cambridge University Faculty of Education

The applicant sought one year funding to develop and publish digital CPD resources for non-specialist or early career Classics teachers and Classics teachers on the Graduate Teaching Programme. The resources will be based on stages 1 and 2 of the Cambridge Latin Project and will include video and podcasts of experienced Latin teachers teaching and explaining their teaching strategies. The video footage will illustrate approaches to teaching topics including reading, comprehension and vocabulary and will involve 5-8 carefully selected Classics teachers in the state system. This will ensure that the resource reflects the realities of teaching Classics outside the private sector with pupils from diverse backgrounds.

At the same time, the applicant proposes some research into teachers’ perceptions of the effects of ICT on their teaching, leading to the dissemination of advice on effective practice.

As part of a wider dissemination strategy, the resources will be made available on the website. There are also plans to use these materials as part of an annual course run by Joint Association of Classics Teachers.

Granted one-year funding of £12,500

5 Cambridge Schools Classics Project

CSCP is a small research and development project established in 1966, based at the Faculty of Education in Cambridge University. Classics for All will fund the first year of a two-year project to create three modules on the Classical epic for pupils to study as part of the Key Stage 3 English curriculum. These will promote pupils’ speaking and listening skills. For each module there will be an audio re-telling of the story, a scheme of work and some visual resources. Stories featured will include works by Ovid and the stories of Achilles.

The modules will be tested with over 1,000 pupils in four state schools: Cottenham Village College, Nower Hill High School (see separate proposal), Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College and Thurston Community College with pupils in years 7-9, as well as some pupils in Year 6 of feeder primary schools.

Within two years, the applicant anticipates that the modules will be used in a further 50 secondary schools reaching nearly 14,000 pupils and there is a longer term goal of reaching 250 schools. Resources will also be featured on a website for teachers interested or already using CSCP resources.

Granted one-year funding of £12,500

6 Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition, Bristol University

The Institute promotes research into Greco-Roman culture, emphasising the links between ancient and modern times. It also seeks to engage with wider Bristol community through outreach work in schools and the community.

The applicant sought funding to establish teaching bursaries for four postgraduate or advanced undergraduate Classics students at the University over two years. The students will offer free classes in Classical subjects to 60 pupils in years 7-9 per year in local state schools where there is no Classics provision. Classes would offer an introduction to the Classical world and Classical languages. Taster sessions will last 10 weeks for one hour per week during the school day and there will be four courses run over twenty weeks of the year. A further objective will be to encourage graduates to consider careers in classics teaching.

Granted £6224 over two years

7 School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool

The School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology is part of Liverpool University and has a good track record of outreach. It has strong links with Liverpool’s Educational Opportunities Centre and runs Language Taster Days and a Summer School.

The applicant sought support over one year to introduce or enhance Latin and Greek teaching in state schools in the Merseyside region from beginner level to GCSE. While initial teaching will involve three schools with some existing Classics provision, the aim is to target schools with no Classics available with support from the university’s Outreach Centre.

Supervised by the University’s Outreach Co-ordinator, Dr Amy Coker, work will be led by two Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTF) from the school, who will each teach between one to six hours a week for a year in two partner schools. In the longer term, there are aspirations to develop school/university partnerships that can be replicated more widely.

Granted one-year funding of £16,740

8 Patcham High School, Brighton

Patcham High School is a state secondary school with above average levels of pupils eligible for free school meals and with special educational needs. It is an improving school and has been offering Latin at KS3 and KS4 for the last eight years. For the last four years, it has also offered GCSE Ancient History and a basic course in Ancient Greek. Patcham is the only school in Brighton and Hove to offer this complete range of Classical subjects.

Granted £5,000 to support development of a proposal to establish Patcham as a local ‘hub’ for Latin and Ancient History.

Classics for All 51 Achilles Road London NW6 1DZ T: 0845 601 3739 F: 0845 601 375

Registered charity no. 1135379. A Company Limited by Guarantee (Company Number 7182949), registered in England and Wales

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