Enthusiasm and expansion in the North East Classics Hub

The North East Classics Hub is based at Heaton Manor, an inner city non-selective school in Newcastle.

Before the Hub was established, Latin was introduced to Heaton Manor students as an extra-curricular option. The students were so enthusiastic about the subject and gained so much from the experience, that it was decided to introduce Classics into the timetable while also offering opportunities for studying Latin at other schools in the North East.

The study of Classics is gathering new and young admirers

After receiving generous grants from Classics for All and Friends of Classics, Heaton Manor was able to recruit a full-time Classics specialist and has for the first time in 2016 offered GCSEs in Latin and Classical Civilisation and an A level in Classics to students in Years 10 and Year 12 as part of their timetabled subjects. Latin continues to be offered as an extra-curricular subject and Classical Greek is an additional option.

Three local secondary schools have signed up to be part of the Hub.

Classics was one of the main reasons that I chose to come to Heaton Manor for my A levels
Poppy Knight, Year 12 Classics student at Heaton Manor

At Gosforth Academy, 12 students are currently studying Latin.

At St Mary’s, Latin is to be offered as a deep learning experience within the timetable at Key Stage 3; a member of staff is to be appointed to be trained to deliver the course so that there will be capacity to expand.

The most successful collaboration to date has been with local all-girls Catholic school Sacred Heart. English teacher Kylie Bannister was appointed to help in lessons and learn alongside the students. She has been an enthusiastic advocate for the subject, offering extra classes and clubs to different year groups and encouraging the Latin students to show off their skills in year 7 assemblies. We are hoping to be able to offer a GCSE course to sixth form students as a combined class via video conferencing with students from Heaton Manor and Sacred Heart learning together.

As the Headteacher of Heaton Manor school I firmly believe the lives of children are enhanced through the study of Classics

I am delighted we have been so active in establishing the Hub and offer the following as my main reasons:
Classics have a lot to offer in the modern world. First of all, it isn’t a specific training for a specific job; it provides a general background that makes any other job easier to get and easier to do. Learning Latin and Greek improves English and language skills immensely. There are few jobs today that don’t involve some kind of high level writing and communication, and u won’t get far in a job if u rite and talk like a text msg att ;-).

The study of Classics involves writing that requires analytical skills evaluating evidence and arguments and then coming to conclusions. It involves learning to understand and evaluate complicated and detailed arguments from diverse – sometimes contradictory – evidence. These are skills employers seek as well as being life skills enabling a greater understanding of politics and the skills of constructing an argument.

Classics also gives a detailed understanding of two ancient cultures, which makes it easier to appreciate and understand differing cultures in the world today without prejudice or bias. It gives a good idea of our place in the history of the world, the origins of our cultures and ideas, and why so many things are the way they and why we think and see the way we do.

Lynne Ackland
Heaton Manor School

“We have been delighted at Gosforth Academy to be able to provide an extra-curricular Latin class on a weekly basis. Clare-Marie Roxby has been most helpful in enabling this to happen and the group of Year 9 and 10 students have been both enjoying her lessons and making great progress”.
Allon Welsh, Deputy Headteacher, Gosforth Academy

“Classical Civilisation has been an invaluable subject to my daughter. The course content not only engages her on an academic and personal level, but the delivery of the subject by a knowledgeable teacher has also allowed her to explore influential civilisations of the past as if she was there experiencing them first hand”.
Mother of a Year 10 Classical Civilisation student

“Classics was one of the main reasons that I chose to come to Heaton Manor for my A levels. One of Classics’ greatest benefits is that it doesn’t just prepare you for exams; it helps you to understand the world better. For example, I never realised how often ancient texts like Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ are referenced in modern life and literature, but now I recognise, understand and get excited by it. It is a huge shame that so many students my age don’t even know what Classics is and I’m always inspired to tell them”.
Poppy Knight, Year 12 Classics student at Heaton Manor