On Monday 11 July 2022, Classics for All marked its second annual Teaching Awards Ceremony to recognise the outstanding achievements of schools, teachers, and network coordinators across the country.
This was a virtual event so we’re pleased to share our recording of it more widely. The ceremony begins with primary school awards, moving on to an entertaining interlude courtesy of Paul O'Mahony, and ending with the secondary school awards.
Teaching Awards 2022 Winners
Awards were presented by Classics for All trustee, Lidia Kuhivchak. 15 schools received awards, each one hand-picked by our Regional Network Coordinators, for their outstanding achievements and hard work to widen access to classics in state schools.
1. St. John's Catholic Primary School (Blackpool Network)
The first award goes to St John's Catholic Primary and Theresa Donnelly in Blackpool.
Theresa has been an energetic advocate of classics at St. John's since the launch of the Blackpool hub, and has championed Latin such that it is now the principal language learned by pupils from Years 3 to 6. The results are striking, with children’s confidence soaring and notable improvement in oracy skills and academic development.
St John’s has been an ambassador for classics in Blackpool, enabling more and more young people to reap the benefits of the ancient world.
2. Hillcrest Primary School (Devon & Cornwall Network)
Down in the Southwest, the school nominated for Devon and Cornwall by co-ordinator, Mike Beer, is in fact a school in Bristol – although don’t blame Mike, he teaches classics not geography!
Helen Wilson from Hillcrest Primary has proven to be one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated Latin trainees we have had the pleasure to train. She is totally committed to introducing Latin on curriculum time and has worked tirelessly from scratch to grow her knowledge of Latin to provide the best teaching she can.
It's wonderful to see such energy and enthusiasm, which is doubtless paying off in lessons – the pupils of Hillcrest have struck gold with Ms Wilson as their Latin teacher.
3. King’s Heath Primary School (Leicester Network)
Led by Headteacher Kim Duff, King's Heath Primary Academy is eagerly flying the flag for Latin in the centre of Northampton.
Part of the David Ross Education Trust, King’s Heath has introduced Latin to pupils throughout Key Stage 2, proving extremely popular with parents and children.
In fact, the school is so committed to their classical curriculum that they offered up Latin as the subject of a 'deep-dive' in a recent Ofsted inspection. These are largely unchartered waters for Latin at state primary schools, and Kim has shared her experience with this to help other schools across the country thoroughly ‘wow’ the Ofsted inspectors with their classics teaching. In fact they really needn’t look any further than the concise summary of one Year 5 pupil: "Latin is fun and it helps me learn more things."
4. St Luke’s CofE Primary School (London & SE Network)
In the capital, St Luke’s Primary School has been teaching Latin instead of a modern language since September 2019. Remarkably, they managed to keep classes going throughout lockdown - an outstanding achievement for a subject that many schools had to put to one side during this time.
To quote headteacher, Gareth Dutton, “Latin teaching in the school is thoroughly embedded and children love their weekly language sessions. Latin is perfect for us, as it helps the children hone their grammar and vocabulary skills, and underpins many other languages pupils will encounter at secondary school.”
Well done to all the teachers at St Luke’s for your commitment and enthusiasm for delivering Latin!
5. Stanley Road Primary School (Manchester & Leeds Network)
Looking back up north we arrive at Oldham, where the award for the Manchester and Leeds Network goes to Stanley Road Primary School.
Deputy head Andrew Percival has overseen a bold move away from teaching Spanish, as the language wasn’t working for the teachers or the pupils. Starting in 2019, and undeterred by the pandemic, the school has trained 4 teachers to deliver Latin instead of Spanish using the Minimus course.
The pupils are delighted with their new subject and the teachers enjoy teaching Latin, acting as ambassadors by actively promoting it to other schools in the area and online.
6. Shinfield St Mary's CE Junior School (Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire Network)
At the height of Lockdown in May 2020, St Mary’s was the first school the Ox, Bucks and Berks Network trained online. From the first, it was clear the staff were up for the challenge – one teacher even donned toga and laurel wreath for the occasion! Ably led by Liz Ganpatsingh, and with strong support from head teacher Sue Lawrence, the whole staff trained to deliver Latin from Years 3-6.
Two years on, lessons are going strong and Liz is now mentoring teachers at nearby Whiteknights Primary School which started Latin in September 2021.
Long may Latin continue at St Mary’s!
7. Aldridge School (Birmingham Network)
Kicking off the secondary schools, we have Aldridge School in Walsall. Classics for All began working with Aldridge back in 2018 to support GCSE ancient history. Spearheaded by the tireless efforts of teacher Anna McOmish, ancient history at Aldridge has blossomed, teaching pupils right the way from Key Stage 3-5.
Beyond the classroom, Anna has contributed enormously to growing ancient history across the country. She has helped to produce free online classroom resources to bring the subject to pupils in Key Stage 3, and has led numerous training sessions for teachers, including for Classics for All’s Harrow Summer School.
Diversity and inclusivity are high on Anna’s agenda. She organised and chaired a panel on 'Decentring the Canon', hosted by the Institute of Classical Studies, and has also recently completed a Masters, with a dissertation that examined the impact of teaching the Ancient Middle East on Muslim students.
It's teachers like Anna at Aldridge that are making classics’ privileged stereotype, ancient history…
8. Wyedean School and Sixth Form (Bristol Network)
Back down in sunny Bristol, the network nominates Wyedean School and Lucy Roberts for her dogged efforts to sustain classics in the face of adversity. The pressures of the pandemic forced classics off the timetable, however Lucy refused to abandon the cause and responded by setting up a classics club – a brave undertaking in light of the tremendous pressures on teachers across the country at the time.
Lucy has proven herself to be an invaluable asset to the Bristol Hub, often donating her time to speak as an advocate for classics at local events, and providing instrumental support for the network’s ‘Ovid in the Westcountry’ competition, which challenges pupils to produce a creative response to the myths in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
9. Chesterton Community College (East of England of England Network)
Nestled in the heart of Cambridge, Chesterton Community College has a truly comprehensive intake, - over 90 languages are spoken and upwards of 25% of pupils come from homes where English is not the first language.
Guided by Katharine Russell, classics has expanded steadily, offering Latin to all Year 7s with the option to continue to GCSE. Classical Civilisation is also taught at Key Stage 3 and continues to GCSE, with the A Level available from September.
With help from Angela Dix and our East of England Network, Chesterton have joined the fight to keep ancient Greek alive in state schools, establishing a Greek Club to take pupils from beginners to GCSE Greek, with aspirations towards A Level in the future.
Chesterton have supported the introduction of classics into other schools in their Academy Trust and are staunch supporters of classics teaching in the region, regularly entering local competitions and local events.
10. North Liverpool Academy (Liverpool Network)
North Liverpool Academy appeared on our radar last year. Driven by the enthusiasm of Executive Principal, Phil Lloyd and Ian Mooney, Strategic Lead on Partnerships & Assessment, all Year 7 English teachers received training to teach the myths of Ovid during English lessons.
When asked ‘what next?’, we suggested Ian ask if any teachers already had some Latin - we were blown away to discover over 10 teachers had experience from GCSE to A Level, and even a university classics graduate thrown in for good measure!
The school has since launched a classics club for Key Stage 3 pupils and offers the Cambridge Latin Course to high attainers. Plans are in place for students to work towards a GCSE and for Latin to be offered to all students, as well as introducing GCSE classical civilisation.
In an area of disadvantage, with over 50% of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium, North Liverpool Academy are proving classics can really be for all.
11. Polam Hall School (Northeast Network)
Our nomination for the Northeast goes to Polam Hall School. An All Through school in Darlington, serving children from ages 5-16, Latin was introduced to the younger pupils at primary level in 2019 with resounding success. Despite joining the school after Latin training had taken place, the current lead, Emma Jo-Blundy, has thrown herself into the project and has kicked things up a notch.
She organised a fantastic Roman day in summer 2021 to relaunch Latin after Covid put teaching on ice, re-enthusing staff and pupils and getting local press coverage. This year she has been banging on our door with requests to retrain staff to make sure that Latin is on the agenda both in the Juniors and with the College Principal.
Emma-Jo has faced something of an uphill struggle making Latin work for the school, but has never once let it get the better of her! She is always present at online events and networking with other schools in the region. Most recently, Emma-Jo has trained to deliver an ancient Greek club for pupils who still can’t get enough classics!
12. Mackie Academy (Scotland Network)
Lucy Angel is the model of what is needed for the future of classics in Scotland's state schools. She has committed herself and her school to building Classics into the fabric of teaching at Mackie.
From a standing start, she has nurtured a flame through classics clubs, spreading towards classroom time and finally into a fully certified subject option.
Lucy is so driven that she has studied in her own time to gain the necessary qualification in classical studies required to be recognised as a fully-fledged classics teacher in Scotland. In an education environment which is not sympathetic to classics, Lucy and Mackie Academy are a beacon of hope for the ancient world in Scotland.
13. Cardiff and Vale College (Wales Classics Hwb)
Like Scotland, classics in Wales faces unique challenges, and competing for space in the Welsh National Curriculum can require teachers to go above and beyond the call of duty.
In 2020 the network lapsed into a brief hiatus, however Danny Pucknell reached out last year and offered to stoke the fire and get the wheels turning again.
Not only has Danny set up a vibrant classics department from scratch at his school, Cardiff and Vale College, but his passion and relentless commitment to supporting others has jump-started classics in Wales.
Danny was instrumental in reviving the Welsh Hwb, along with Co-ordinator Leigh-Rowan Herring, and continues to lend his energy and expertise to growing the network and training new teachers.
14. Barr’s Hill School & Community College (Warwick Classics Network)
Since the foundation of the Warwick Classics Network in 2018, Cassidy Phillips at Barr’s Hill has been an inspiration in her devotion to bringing the ancient world alive for the pupils of this inner Coventry School.
In 2018 she embedded the teaching of the ancient world in classrooms for every pupil in Year 7, and in 2020 extended this to Year 8.
In 2022 she will be introducing a classical civilisation GCSE and is working towards lessons for Year 9, meaning Cassidy will have made classics available on the curriculum for all pupils from Years 7-11!
Having employed a new teacher to meet the demand of the blossoming classics department Cassidy now has one eye on classical civilisation in the coming years.
15. Chris Pilcher Award - Whitefriars School (London & SE Network)
In May, we were incredibly sorry to hear of the tragic passing of Chris Pilcher, a passionate and dedicated teacher at Sir Frederick Gibberd College in Harlow, Essex. Chris worked closely with our London & Southeast network coordinator, Anna Bell, to bring Latin and classics to his pupils, and his parents chose Classics for All as his chosen charity for donations in his memory.
Chris was a thoughtful and enthusiastic teacher, who cared about wanting to do the best for his students. He had that special spark which makes the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher, and he clearly loved the subject and loved teaching.
To honour his memory, The Chris Pilcher Award will be awarded to one school each year in special recognition of outstanding accomplishment in bringing classics to young people in state schools – an endeavour to which Chris was among the most committed and successful.
This year, the inaugural Chris Pilcher Award goes to Whitefriar’s School, Harrow
Whitefriars embarked on their classics journey in September 2020, helmed by Aliki Drakopoulos, who introduced a hybrid Latin and classical civilisation course to 450 pupils across Years 7, 8 and 9. The course went down a storm!
So well, in fact, that in September 2021 Aliki also launched both GCSE and A Level classical civilisation. After just one year of trialling classics on the curriculum, Aliki has carved out the opportunity for pupils to study the ancient world all through to exam level! An astonishing achievement!
It is fantastic to see how quickly the subject has grown and how eager the students are for a classical education! Well done, Aliki!
We offer our warmest congratulations to all Teaching Award winners, and to every school in the Classics for All family who has worked tirelessly to ensure pupils have access to the literature, languages and cultures of the classical world.