If you’ve ever wandered into a classroom at Open Evening at High Storrs and found yourself surrounded by Latin quotes and pictures of Brad Pitt from the film ‘Troy’ then you’ve probably been wondering what exactly is it that we teach here. In fact, High Storrs has a vibrant Classics department: Classical Civilisation and Latin have been part of our curriculum offer for many years – a tradition of which we are very proud, being, as far as we are aware, the only state school in Sheffield and the immediate area to make such an offer. All our Year 8 students get the chance to study our subjects before making options choices for GCSE and A level.
So what is Classics and why do we offer it as a subject? Classics is for everyone. It is the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans and encapsulates many other subjects: literature, art, society and culture. It also forms the building blocks of many other modern cultures and languages. At High Storrs, we want to be able to introduce pupils to a wide variety of learning, enabling them to access subjects they might not otherwise get the chance to pursue. Classics can open doors to a whole host of opportunities in the wider world: from business & enterprise (Mark Zuckerberg studied Latin at University) to politics, marketing, law and literature (how do you think JK Rowling came up with all those spells? A Classics degree of course!). Even Frank Lampard has a Grade A* Latin GCSE.
Unfortunately, constraints on the curriculum introduced by government in recent years have led to fewer students being able to choose Classical subjects, particularly at GCSE, despite many wishing to do so. Cuts to school funding across the country mean that our school can no longer afford to fund smaller groups of students such as we currently attract. For example, we had sixteen students wanting to study Latin in 2018/19 but GCSE groups across the school now typically have to contain thirty students or more because smaller groups are no longer financially viable. We are very concerned that, unless we can access significant external funding with which to subsidise small teaching groups, our wonderfully vibrant and enriching subjects may cease to be an option for our genuinely comprehensive student body, impoverishing their learning experience.
We have, therefore, decided to take a new and innovative approach to ensuring the long term survival of our department through launching a crowd funding initiative which will go live in September 2017. We are aiming to raise £100,000 which will be used solely to subsidise the cost of smaller class sizes going into the future.
Can you help? If you have time to volunteer we’d love to hear from you. We are aiming to go live with our online crowdfunding campaign by the end of September so watch this space for updates!