Senior School Classics Partnership
A partnership between St Mary’s School, Cambridge and St Bede’s Inter-Church School enables students in Years 9 and 10 to study Ancient Greek to GCSE level in weekly after-school sessions.
This collaboration undoubtedly enriches our classes with greater opportunity for group work and class discussion, as well as extending the curriculum options at St Bede’s, where the study of Ancient Greek would not otherwise be available.
It is also a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact with others outside the St Mary’s community, bringing the two Cambridge schools together. This year, our Year 10 students have enjoyed the challenge of analysing Greek literature, which was written over 2,000 years ago, delving into the Persian king Cambyses’ attempts to expand his empire and Herodotus’ enchanting descriptions of Ethiopian culture and custom.
Students have also tackled the task of translating Greek passages of increasing complexity and enhanced their knowledge of Athenian Society and the ancient Olympic Games, the topics for this year’s Literature and Culture module. The value of studying a language that complements a whole array of other subjects, both linguistic and otherwise, is often remarked upon enthusiastically by the students.
The combination of language, literature and culture equips students with a whole host of skills, including increased confidence and ability to debate, analyse and problem solve, as well as extending their English vocabulary and enhancing their communication skills.
For students who study Latin, Ancient Greek hugely complements their studies, reinforcing grammatical concepts and enabling certain cultural parallels to be made, whilst those students who do not study Latin can still appreciate how much our own society has inherited from our Greek predecessors.
With a very small percentage of state schools able to offer Greek in any capacity, the St Mary’s partnership with St Bede’s aims to bridge this gap.
Not only is it an enriching, fascinating study per se, but it may well fuel interest in other Classical disciplines, such as Classical Civilisation, Archaeology or Ancient History, as well as a plethora of other subjects. The study of Ancient Greek is not confined by its antiquity, but rather we can use a modern lens to explore the ancient world and how it reflects on our own.
Our partnership of schools enables us to do just this: explore, discuss and share our ideas as a united community.
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