North East Classics Network
(University of Durham)
“We find it particularly difficult to engage boys in literacy; however, you provided them with a brilliant role model and as a result they are hooked – we even have some of the ‘hard to reach’ boys saving up their pocket money and spending it on abridged versions of the Odyssey.”
Teacher at Hartside Primary School, Crook, 2016-17.
Founded in 2019 by the University of Durham and Classics for All, the network aims to make use of the research expertise of Durham’s Classics department to support primary and secondary schools to introduce classical subjects on the curriculum, increasing the cultural capital, literacy skills and aspirations of pupils in the North East.
We work to develop new resources and offer free Continuing Professional Development which integrates classical subjects into the teaching of literacy and literature, in partnership with talented and enthusiastic classics teachers from across the North-East.
Growing from the department’s “Living Poets” research project, since 2013-14 the University has devised and delivered a programme on ancient poetry in primary schools. In the most recent year of this programme (2016-7) activities took place in 13 primary schools.
Building on this, in 2019-20, the network aims to:
- produce resources and run training for primary school teachers on teaching epic poetry as part of the literacy curriculum. The programme will build on previous project work, reaching 10 schools and 500 pupils in 2019-20.
- train teachers in five primary schools to teach Latin and classics on the curriculum through either Minimus or Maximum Classics with support from Classics for All trainers.
- run two taster days that aim to demystify and promote classics teaching in state schools with 20 primary and secondary teachers.
- Run training for teachers interested in integrating the study of classical stories in the Key Stage 3 English curriculum, based on a new resource called Seven Stories. The University will aim to train six secondary schools to use materials, reaching 200 pupils.
- work with the Durham Department of Education Primary Schools Partnership to introduce classical languages or classical history to 80 teachers on primary teacher training courses.