In 2017-21, supported by a Warwick Widening Participation Development Fund, Warwick Impact Fund grant, Classics for All and since April 2019 the A. G. Leventis Foundation (press release can be found here), I am leading a new widening participation and outreach initiative called the Warwick Classics Network.
The Network builds on pre-existing hubs involving Warwick Classics, private and state schools in the local region to share resources and support the provision of teaching in ancient languages, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History in schools across Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond.
The Network works with national charities Classics for All and Advocating Classics Education, to support the teaching particularly of Classical Civilisation and Ancient History in private and state schools, as well as encouraging and mentoring teachers in schools keen to introduce these subjects at GCSE and A-level. We do this through the provision of free events at the University (like our annual Drama Festival and our curriculum focused study days) as well as through visits to schools, supporting schools in their bids for teacher training funding, and the provision of a series of curriculum related online teaching resources.
Based at the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, the WCN was created with two key objectives:
- To support those teachers currently offering Classics with resources, advice, and a platform with which to communicate with each other and form a creative network
- To promote the teaching of Classics in schools not currently offering Classical subjects on their curriculum, working alongside organisations such as Classics for All and Advocating Classics Education, providing information on training and funding available.
By September 2019 we will have helped increase the provision of Classics in State Secondaries in Warwickshire to 25%, and with the schools we are currently working with, we aim to have reached 45% of all Warwickshire State Secondaries by September 2020! From September 2019 an extra 540 pupils per week will be receiving a classics education thanks to our work, to add to the 1,500 who have benefitted from attending our on campus free schools events.
Our launch event, Emperors, Coins, Frogs and Oracles, was attended by almost 200 school-children from across the country and their teachers, alongside staff from schools interested in developing Classics and Ancient History as part of their curriculum.
Above is my talk on Delphi, Centre of the Ancient World, given at our launch event.
Our yearly Ancient Drama Festival brings classics to over 500 school pupils every year, while in July 2019 our Teachers Day for Classical Civilisation A-level (sponsored by The Classical Association) was attended by 46 teachers from across the country.
On November 21st we will be running a Ancient Worlds Day for schools and the general public - see here shortly for more detail - where authors and academics such as Emily Hauser, Caroline Lawrence and Natalie Haynes will give talks and lead workshops on storytelling, while there will also be lectures by our Warwick academics on a range of topics. Different parts of the day will be aimed at Key Stage 2-3 and Key stage 4-5.
In addition, we are busy creating a suite of Teacher Resources to support the teaching of Classics from KS2 through to A-level.