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We introduced Classical subjects at our state secondary school in Streatham five years ago, starting with Latin. Now, with the support of Classics for All, eleven of our Year 10 and Year 11 students embarked on the next stage of our journey to build Classical subjects at the school, with a trial ‘Ancient Greek Club’ off-timetable in 2016-17.
The results have been incredibly positive, in terms of pupil engagement and achievement. Our students now wish to continue the subject to a full GCSE over the next two years, and our Head teacher is supporting its move onto the full curriculum. Students reported feeling more confident in their English language (we are a school where many students have English as a second language), and also they have particularly loved learning about the ancient background to much of modern society: the origins of theatre and drama, political systems and democracy. One of our favourite group exercises in class has also been the derivation of many English words which they use regularly in other subjects.
The excitement in the classroom has been palpable when pupils have found out that ‘geo-graphy’ literally means ‘writing about the earth’ or that ‘history’ originates in the Ancient Greek verb ‘I learn by enquiry’.
We have learnt four main lessons from the project so far: