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Burntwood School is a large girls’ school in west London that has already introduced Latin to A-level with great success. We gave a three-year grant of £5,954 to help the school embed Greek as a permanent part of the curriculum.
Yasmin, a pupil at Burntwood School, tells us how she’s been getting on.
Hello, my name’s Yasmin. I go to Burntwood School in Tooting and I’m in Year 9. When I started at Burntwood I had the opportunity to join new clubs and try out new extra-curriculum activities.
One of the lunchtime classes I joined was ancient Greek. I had learned a bit about the mythology and the civilisation of ancient Greece at primary school but I no idea that when I started at Burntwood I would have the chance to learn the language spoken by the ancient Greeks themselves.
Ancient Greek is not a subject that you find in the curriculum and that’s why I was intrigued to find out more. In our first few weeks I learned words like ‘philos’ and ‘sophia’ and realised that many of the words we speak in English are related to ancient Greek, and I feel that learning Greek definitely helps me with my other subjects.
I have been learning Greek for over two years now and we have just begun the GCSE course. As well as studying the language, we also learn about the wonderful civilisation of the Greeks. We have also just started reading the Odyssey.
We have been on some brilliant trips. We went to see the Greek play at King’s College London and were also invited to see a production of the Thebans at the English National Opera, which was really good.
Earlier this year, some of Burntwood’s ancient Greek students were given an amazing opportunity to visit Greece. The Greek ambassador in London, Mr Konstantinos Bikas, was really pleased to hear that Burntwood students are able to study ancient Greek and approached our teacher to find out if Burntwood’s ancient Greek students would take on the role of ambassadors for the subject and visit schools to tell other students why studying ancient Greek is so worthwhile.
To help us find out more about the civilisation of ancient Greece, the ambassador, together with the Greek Ministry of Tourism, arranged for 10 of us to visit Athens during half term as their guests. The trip included a guided tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum, visits to the ancient Agora and the Cycladic Museum and we also visited the British Embassy in Athens to talk to British ambassador, Mr John Kittmer, about our plans to promote ancient Greek to students in the UK
The trip was a truly amazing experience and we shall be visiting schools to let other students know that learning ancient Greek is both great fun and incredibly useful, because studying the language and civilisation of ancient Greece helps us to understand how we live now.
Here is a video made by the pupils to summarise the trip: