Classics for All's Electra Programme, launched in April 2017, specifically supports the teaching of Ancient Greek in state primary and secondary schools. Both schools featured below have benefited from this programme.
Durham Johnston is a non-selective secondary school with wide demographic, drawing students from Durham city and surrounding villages. It is academically ambitious and has a strong tradition of offering languages including Latin.
Prompted by considerable interest from students, Durham Johnston approached Classics for All in 2018 to support the launch of a new Greek club, meeting weekly after-school for 90 minutes. With support, Cathy Bothwell, Durham Johnston’s classics teacher, developed a two-year Greek course (September 2018- June 2020) for 15 students in Years 9 and 10. Despite the limited teaching time available, eight of these students are aiming to sit their Ancient Greek GCSE exams in 2020.
Given the success of this initial two year GCSE trial, it is hoped that Greek will be included in Cathy Bothwell’s teaching allocation from September 2020, becoming a permanent and sustainable fixture in Durham Johnston’s extra-curricular GCSE offering.
“For a state comprehensive school to offer Greek is almost unheard of nationally, let alone in the North East, so this would be an impressive achievement for the school. It would raise the profile of classics within the school and build on the enthusiasm of the keen Latinists in Year 8/9, which should help to build demand for Latin A Level in future years.” (Cathy Bothwell, Teacher of Latin & Greek)
Hele’s School is a comprehensive secondary school on the outskirts of Plymouth and is one of a handful of state schools in Devon offering classical languages.
Thanks to the hard work of English and Drama teacher Josh Clarke, Latin was introduced in 2015 as an extra-curricular option for Year 9 and 10 students. By the end of the first year, 15 students had achieved results ranging from A* to B in the Latin Level 1 Certificate examination. Now in its fourth year, Latin continues to thrive at Hele’s: 30 students from Years 7-11 are in the beginners’ class, there is a GCSE class of eight students and one of the original students who started four years ago is now studying Cicero and Horace for an AS Level qualification.
Not content with offering Latin, Josh Clarke attended Classics for All’s two-day Beginners’ Greek course at Harrow School in 2017. Following this, he ran a highly-successful six-week introductory taster course in Ancient Greek for sixth form students in 2018 and plans to repeat this each year during the summer term.
“Having grown from nothing, it is my hope that classics takes root further at Hele’s, and more and more of our state school students are able to learn about these wonderful subjects.” (Josh Clarke, English, Drama and Classics teacher at Hele’s School)