Going for it! Teacher Amy Quinn on the rise of classical civilisation at JCoSS, North London

How did Classics for All help JCoSS introduce classical subjects to the curriculum?

Thanks to a generous grant from CfA in 2015, we introduced Latin at JCoSS (with great success!). Due to its popularity, we now teach Latin as a language option from Year 8 to GCSE, with ‘A’ Level Latin starting in September this year!

We were keen to build on the success of our Latin course lower down the school and expand the humanities subjects on offer in our sixth form. With further support from CfA, we introduced classical civilisation ‘A’ level in 2017.

Aside from the fun and fascination, what does the study of classical civilisation offer students that other areas of the curriculum do not?

Classics is the study of societies that are no longer around and yet these ancient civilisations continue to influence and inspire every generation. As Robyn Mydat, a Year 12 pupil, says “Classics has surprised me by being so distant and yet so relevant – I constantly find parallels with the modern world!”

Classical civilisation offers a unique blend of the humanities – language, literacy, religion, philosophy, history, oratory, art, archaeology, myth, poetry and so much more. It offers young people of all backgrounds and ability levels an opportunity to improve their grammar skills, broaden their perspectives and to gain an understanding of classical references.

For example, the English department have been impressed by the links that students have made between their classical and English texts, particularly when studying Shakespeare.

What would you say to a school that is thinking about introducing classical civilisation?

I would say go for it! Classical civilisation has been a real asset to JCoSS and we are so impressed with the impact it has made in only 18 months.

From our first cohort, four students are applying to study classical civilisation at university, with a further three using classics to support applications for law and theology, and two applying to Oxbridge.