Founded in 2015, the network aims to introduce classical subjects in local state schools, offering free resources, training and support for teachers interested in increasing pupils’ access to the ancient world.
In 2014, classics was only taught at independent schools below A-level in Leicestershire. Under the leadership of Associate Professor Dr Sarah Scott and Dr Jane Ainsworth the city of Leicester and neighbouring counties are rapidly becoming a hotspot for classics and we have now worked with over 90 schools across the region offering advice, support and training on how to teach classical subjects.
The Network puts a strong focus on classical archaeology. In 2018 it launched a book, Life in the Roman World: Roman Leicester (Savani, Scott & Morris) and resources for teachers and pupils which explore the complexities of culturally and ethnically diverse communities in the Roman world. The aim is to engage pupils and teachers with global human history through local activities which widen access to archaeological heritage and introduce Latin in the context of the archaeology of Roman Leicester (romanleicester.com).
After nine years, we are thrilled at the response from regional schools:
- 120 schools - 96 primary and 24 secondary schools are currently part of our growing network and receive support to teach classical subjects.
- We have equipped 295 teachers, many of whom had never studied classics before, to teach classical subjects through regular training and continuing professional development.
- We have introduced over 33,000 pupils to the classical world.
Recent achievements include:
- collaborating with local Lionheart Academies Trust. Since 2017, classics ambassador and teacher Lidia Kuhivchak has introduced classical subjects on the curriculum at Key Stage 3 in of the six secondary schools and Latin in all of its four primary schools, as well as offering GCSE Classical Civilisation. A Head of Classics was appointed in 2019.
- supporting Lionheart Academy Trust in a successful bid to open a new inner-city Free School in Leicester with classics on the curriculum from Year 7. This opened in 2022, serving pupils from diverse backgrounds.
- collaborating with many local arts and heritage organisations, including Leicester Creative Business Depot, Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, the Friends of the Jewry Wall Museum, and Chester Farm Heritage Park (Northants) to provide a wide range of enrichment opportunities based on local Roman archaeology. The network gained funding from European and university sources to work in partnership with the newly excavated archaeological site at Chester Farm which will benefit an anticipated 4,000 pupils and 30 teachers each year.
- providing internships for University of Leicester students to help with the programme.
- training all 120 primary and secondary humanities students on teacher training courses at the university of Leicester to teach sessions on the Roman world.
- collaborating with the British School at Athens to make its resources accessible for teachers new to the classical world.
- piloting a programme designed with Tufts University (USA), which will run from March 2021 and will embed digital language tools and material in the Perseus Digital Library within the Life in the Roman World course.
- the development of resources to accompany the Life in the Roman World course for pupils from 9-18 years.
In 2021-2022, we will expand our network of schools across the East Midlands. Priorities include:
- continued support for classics on the curriculum for Years 5, 6 & 7 in Lionheart Academies Trust Schools, feeder primaries and the new free school, reaching circa 1500 pupils.
- expanding the network of schools in Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
- launching the Chester House Estate partnership to reach new schools and offer classics taster days local pupils and teachers.
- delivering an Ancient World subsidiary module for PGCE humanities students in partnership with University of Leicester School of Education.
- continuing to distribute the Life in the Roman World book, lesson plans and local Roman heritage resources to schools in Leicestershire.
- working with Tufts University, Boston to make Perseus resources accessible for schools.
If you are interested in developing the teaching of classical subjects in your school, please get in touch. All the support we offer is free.
The University of Leicester Network is generously sponsored by Dimitri Chandris.
We invite individual or corporate sponsorship of our regional networks. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch at [email protected].
Lidia Kuhivchak, Head of Classics at Beauchamp College in Leicester, talks about where her passion for classics came from, why pupils love learning classics because of the language skills it gives them, and why she's not even halfway finished with building her state school classics empire!