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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

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Five bursaries launched by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education – in partnership with Classics for All – are set to help teachers bring classics to life for disadvantaged students across the UK.

These bursaries are a really great idea. If we enable teachers to gain high-level expertise in Classics, they will pass that expertise – and the excitement that comes with it – on to their pupils.” – Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge Mary Beard

For the past 50 years, the teaching of Classics has been in sharp decline in state schools across the UK. Researchers estimate that Latin, Greek and other classical subjects are taught in only 25% of state schools, compared with 75% of schools in the independent sector.

To help address this, the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) has teamed up with the educational charity Classics for All to provide five full tuition fee bursaries to UK-based teachers and other education professionals in disadvantaged areas so that they can study Classics at ICE.

The bursaries, which have been welcomed by Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge Mary Beard, are designed as a gateway to Classics for teachers in state-funded settings including schools, public libraries, NHS settings and prisons – helping to bring Classics to life for pupils who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to learn about some of the truly compelling ideas, history and literature that underpin modern Western civilisation.

Worth £2,500, the full bursaries will help teachers and other education professionals in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country to enrol in the one-year part-time Undergraduate Certificate of Classical Studies starting in October 2022. The bursary aims to provide an accessible route for teachers seeking to study Classics at an introductory higher education level – and is an ideal opportunity for teachers with or without any previous Classics expertise to enrich their subject knowledge and bring classical inspiration into their classrooms.

About the course

The Undergraduate Certificate in Classical Studies offers a broad exploration of the greatest works of ancient Greek and Latin literature, and delves into 1,800 years of history, ideas and literature from approximately 1200BC to the fall of Rome in the sixth century AD.

Unit one begins with the “fountain from which all subsequent Greek literature flowed”: the poems of Homer and Hesiod. Through readings of Homer’s Iliad and some of the great tragedies of the Athenian stage, students examine the intertwined roles of myth and storytelling.

Unit two explores the character and the works of Roman poet Virgil, focusing in particular on readings of his epic poem, the Aeneid, and a broader analysis of other epic masterpieces.

The course concludes with a final segment, which introduces students to a particular theme within the field of Classical Studies. It will enable students to study a specialist area within the field in greater depth, allowing them to interrogate sources to derive data and to analyse that data to draw conclusions.  

Because it is delivered entirely remotely, the course is accessible for students in any location to study flexibly and on a part-time basis – opening up a whole new world of possibilities for teachers and their pupils in future.

“This course is a gateway for adult students to engage, perhaps for the first time, with the classical world and the richness of its history, literature and art. Opening the door to the classics allows us to draw on its stories and thinking to provide new insights into our complex and changing modern world,” explained ICE Director Dr James Gazzard.

“The Institute of Continuing Education is delighted to be partnering with Classics for All to establish five bursaries that will make it possible for teachers working in disadvantaged contexts to study for a University of Cambridge qualification in Classical Studies. The ambition is that these inspirational teachers will return to their classrooms enthused with classical knowledge so that they can help bring Greek, Latin and classical civilisations alive for pupils across the UK. It is one part of a wider approach at the Institute to provide fairness of educational opportunity for adult learners and the communities in which they live and work.” 

Classics for All Programme Director Hilary Hodgson said: “Exciting opportunities like classics should be available to everyone. The Classics for All bursary, in partnership with the Institute of Continuing Education, will provide an invaluable opportunity for teachers to learn more about the classical world so they can in turn help to raise the aspirations of young people from all backgrounds by teaching them about the ancient world.”

Professor Mary Beard, who teaches Classics at the University of Cambridge, said: “These bursaries are a really great idea. If we enable teachers to gain high-level expertise in Classics, they will pass that expertise – and the excitement that comes with it – on to their pupils. Classics is a wonderful subject for throwing light on the modern as well as the ancient world, for raising pupils’ aspirations, and for giving them (and us) the intellectual tools to confront some of the most important cultural question in the world today. I am absolutely delighted that Classics for All and the Institute of Continuing Education are collaborating to open up the value, challenge and fun of Classics to yet more teachers and their pupils.”

Applications for the Classics for All Bursary are invited by 31 May 2022 from educational professionals working in deprived or disadvantaged primary, secondary or adult education in state-funded sectors in the UK.

Find out more about the course

Learn more

Find out more about the Classics for All bursary.

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