Participants, student mentors and academics involved in Wadham's 2015 Classics Summer School.

Calling Oxford Classicists to educate the next generation

A pioneering project to promote Classics at schools in deprived areas is appealing for alumni to share their passion for the ancient world. The charity Classics for All introduces Latin, ancient Greek, ancient history and classical civilisation to youngsters at state-run primary and secondary schools nationwide. 

More than 6,000 pupils have already benefited from more than £450,000 in grants awarded by the charity to support the teaching of Classics. The charity believes every pupil deserves to benefit from the learning, enjoyment and inspiration that Classics provides.

Only in its fifth year, the charity has already supported 300 schools, and it aims to increase this to 600 schools to meet demand in the next two years. Oxford Classics alumni are heavily involved in the charity’s activities. Half of the charity’s high-profile patrons studied Classics at Oxford, including Boris Johnson (Balliol, 1983), Mayor of London, and Martha Kearney (St Anne’s, 1976), journalist and broadcaster.

Nicholas Barber CBE (Wadham, 1959), chairman of Classics for All, said: “Classics for All is only five years old but we are on a roll. We work with schools to revive Classics and make them a permanent part of the curriculum. Most state schools do not have Classics teachers, so we offer training and mentoring for teachers with a basic knowledge of Latin or Ancient History or those who are keen to develop new subject knowledge from scratch. Enthusiastic volunteers are an essential part of our work; they help us in many ways including spreading the word about Classics for All, getting schools on board, offering classical talks to schools, teaching Latin in primary schools or mentoring teachers new to Classics. Even if your grammar is rusty, or if you have not returned to your Mods texts in decades, Classics for All would value your support.”

Alumnus Peter Olive (Wadham, 2003) co-ordinates CfA’s  work in London through a programme called Capital Classics. He said: “Oxford Classics alumni have played a crucial role in getting Latin, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History onto the curriculum in more than 50 London primary and secondary schools in areas of social deprivation.  Participating schools have been amazed by the positive reaction among pupils, and Latin and Classical Civilisation are now taught in some London primary and secondary schools alongside or as an alternative to modern foreign languages.” 

Classics for All is keen to hear from Oxford Classics alumni prepared to do any or all of the following:

  • Spread the word about Classics for All to state schools across the UK and encourage them to get involved
  • Advise or mentor teachers teaching Classics for the first time
  • Run an after school Classics club
  • Support fundraising, events or promotional activities

For further information visit www.classicsforall.org.uk and email grants@classicsforall.org.uk .

Picture caption: Participants, student mentors and academics involved in Wadham's 2015 Classics Summer School. This began in 2013 as a joint initiative with BSix Sixth Form College, Classics for All's East End 'hub', and the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford. Wadham has run the summer school every year since, offering students from state schools in East London a taster of Classics at Oxford.