HMI: Matters for Discussion

Notes on the text

1 Ten Good Schools
2 Classics in Comprehensive Schools
3 Modern Languages in Comprehensive Schools
4 Gifted Children in Middle and Comprehensive Secondary Schools
5 The Teaching of Ideas in Geography
6 Mixed Ability Work in Comprehensive Schools
7 The Education of Children in Hospitals for the Mentally Handicapped
8 Developments in the BEd Degree Course
9 Mathematics 5 to 11
10 Community Homes with Education
11 A View of the Curriculum
12 Modern Languages in Further Education
13 Girls and Science
14 Mathematics in the Sixth Form
15 The New Teacher in School


Classics in Comprehensive Schools
HMI Series: Matters for Discussion No. 2

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1977
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


The complete document is presented in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go straight to the various sections:

1 Introduction
2 The enquiry: data and interpretation
3 Some special cases
4 Organisation
5 Curriculum - description and evaluation
Appendix A: sampling error
Appendix B: forms used in the survey


[title page]

Department of Education and Science

HMI Series: Matters for Discussion 2


Classics in
Comprehensive Schools

A discussion paper by some members of
HM Inspectorate of schools






London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office


[page ii (unnumbered)]




Crown copyright 1977
First published 1977





ISBN 0 11 270442 5


[page iii (unnumbered)]

Preface


This publication is based primarily on an enquiry carried out by H.M. Inspectors in the academic year 1973-74. The first two stages are described in Chapter 2, where its findings are also collated and discussed. The third stage was a series of visits, each carried out by two classics specialists and lasting on average two days, to study in more depth the sort of work that was going on in classics in a small number of schools where the subject was believed to be relatively strong. Material from these visits has contributed substantially to Chapters 4 and 5.

An enquiry into the position of classics in eight areas organised with transfer at 16+ was carried out in 1972-73, and the results have also contributed to this publication, and in particular to Chapter 3.

Finally, the general body of experience gained from visits to a large number of comprehensive schools of all kinds over the last three years or so forms part of the evidence on which the publication is based.

Responsibility for its contents rests corporately with the members of the classics committee of H.M. Inspectorate, who wish to express their thanks to the heads, staff and pupils of a great many schools whose forbearance and help made the production of such a document possible. This publication is now offered as a tentative evaluation of the present position of classics in comprehensive schools, both quantitative and to a smaller extent qualitative, and as a means of highlighting some of the problems of resources, organisation and teaching style which need to be solved if classics is to make the contribution which many believe it should make to the curriculum.

The publications in this series are intended to stimulate professional discussion. They are based on H.M. Inspectors' observation of work in educational institutions and present their thoughts on some of the issues involved. The views expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Inspectorate as a whole or of the Department of Education and Science. It is hoped that they will promote debate at all levels so that they can be given due weight when educational developments are being assessed or planned.

Nothing said is to be construed as implying Government commitment to the provision of additional resources.


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Contents

Preface
iii

1 Introduction
1

2 The enquiry: data and interpretation
5
First stage5
Second stage9
Conclusions17

3 Some special cases
19
11-14 and 11-16 schools19
11-16 schools: staffing25
13-18 and 14-18 schools27

4 Organisation
31
Staffing31
Curricular patterns32
Classical studies in years I, II and III34
Organisation of Latin below the sixth form36
Classics courses in years IV and V40
Classics in the sixth form42
Organisation of resources43
Organisation of staff44

5 Curriculum - description and evaluation
47
Classical studies in years I, II and III48
Classical studies in years IV, V, VI and VII53
Latin to O level and CSE55
Latin in the sixth form57
Greek58
Conclusion58

Appendix A: sampling error
61

Appendix B: forms used in the survey
63




[page 1]

1 Introduction


Classics, the study of the ancient world, and of Greece and Rome in particular, has played an important part in the cultural life of Europe since the fall of Rome, and a dominant one since the fall of Byzantium. Even the scientific and technological advances of the nineteenth century served to complement rather than to eclipse its role in education, and in the public schools of this country it retained its central place in the curriculum well into this century.

It remained however, as it had been since the Renaissance, the culture of an educated minority, albeit a minority which had set its seal upon the outward form of every great city in Europe and on almost every art form. Exclusively linked with the scholarly study of the Greek and Latin languages and of the manuscripts by which these had been handed down, the pursuit of classics was held to demand both a considerable intellectual ability and a long apprenticeship.

In the first quarter of the twentieth century the study of classics continued to play a prominent, though no longer dominant, role in the curriculum of all the abler children in our grammar schools, a role recognised by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge until quite recently in their demand for a fairly substantial knowledge of a classical language as a basic requirement of entry regardless of its relevance to the studies which a prospective student intended to undertake.

But in the years between the end of the second world war and the great wave of secondary reorganisation during the sixties the teaching of classics tended more and more to be restricted to Latin, and this was taught only to a select minority even within the grammar schools. The most immediate and obvious reason was that some new subjects began to demand a place in the curriculum while others, their place by now assured, sought to assume a greater prominence. More fundamentally this process was a manifestation within the schools of those changes in social, cultural, economic, moral and even political influences in contemporary society which help to mould the curriculum. The value of classics came under close scrutiny, and it gradually began to be accepted that it no longer ought to monopolise the talents of the ablest children. It is difficult today to realise how gradual the acceptance was, but one still meets adults in only their middle years who were directed into classics solely because they were clever. Some are apparently grateful to have been spared the responsibility of choosing the ingredients for their education at an age when such a choice might well be ill-informed and are far from having any regrets about the limited classical element in their education; others on the other hand still clearly feel a deep-seated resentment and a sense of deprivation when they consider the areas of knowledge which might have been opened to them at school.


[page 2]

Since the working week cannot be expanded beyond a certain socially acceptable point, the pressures upon the time-table caused by the introduction of more subjects can be relieved either by sharing out the available time more widely or by making some subjects alternative to each other or by leaving some subjects out of the curriculum entirely. In the second quarter of this century, classics was seriously affected both in its scope and in its content by all three processes. In particular the study of Greek ceased altogether in some schools and in many others was maintained only in small classes. Latin survived in most schools, but with diminished numbers of pupils. Equally serious in its effect was the constant erosion of teaching time available, particularly for the basic course culminating in an examination at the age of 16. Now, under pressure of time and to an ever increasing extent, the preoccupation of the course was with the linguistic elements, and particularly the sub-structure of grammar and syntax considered to be an indispensable prerequisite for any serious study of literature at sixth form level. Those pupils (and they were a majority) who opted for other sixth form courses never raised any edifice upon the sub-structure that they had laboriously put down and thus never gained those rewards for the enjoyment of which a substantial level of linguistic skill was deemed necessary. It is no wonder that Latin acquired an association, which it has still not lost, with selection by elimination, an intellectual rigour to which only the best endowed could aspire and with objectives which, however rewarding, were beyond the reach of all but the most able and most persistent. Such a situation, though it might be accepted when Latin was a core subject compulsory for all the ablest pupils, could not continue when it became one of a group of subjects from which the pupil was asked to choose, most of them offering more attractive short-term rewards.

This then was where classics stood as the fifties gave way to the sixties. It was faced with formidable problems. It had apparently found nothing universal to offer when secondary education for all was inaugurated by the 1944 Education Act. In particular the secondary modern schools had been virtually untouched by its influences. Could it now adapt itself to the new comprehensive schools? Certainly they contained some children comparable in ability with those who took Latin in the grammar schools, but proportionately they were few in number and the social climate was often hostile to what many regarded as the establishment of an elite. Furthermore, comprehensive systems which involved transfer at 13 or 14 often cut the time formerly regarded as desirable for Latin, and resulted in a truncated course undertaken in what amounted to almost penal conditions. Some comprehensive schools were (and still are) formed by amalgamating or enlarging what were formerly non-selective schools, and because classics had previously never appeared in their curriculum, it often had no voice in the new organisation and so went by default.

By the mid-sixties, when the government of the day adopted comprehensive education as the national policy for secondary schools, many teachers of classics felt a profound sense of insecurity. Some sought other baskets for their eggs and obtained qualifications


[page 3]

in other subjects, particularly Russian. Others began to look critically at the content of their own subject to see if it had anything to offer to a wider range of pupils in schools. They found much that was encouraging and reassuring. There were among the community at large unmistakable proofs of interest in the classical world which seemed to have grown as the numbers studying classical languages declined. This interest could surely be fostered for its own sake and did not require a study of classical languages as a necessary preliminary; indeed the interest once fostered might well provide pupils with a strong motive to learn one or even more classical languages. As for the languages themselves, there was a small minority of pupils (whose high intelligence gave them a significance out of all proportion to their numbers) with a deep and sustaining interest in the structure of a language for its own sake, and an understandable desire to exercise and extend their command over it by writing prose or verse passages in it. But there might well be a much larger number, not particularly adept at composing but interested in enough of the structure of classical languages to read freely in them, and in due course in their literature.

A much greater diversity of classics courses has thus emerged, catering for a much more varied population of pupils and selecting from a much wider range of objectives, some of them in practice far from clearly defined.

The teacher of classics wants his pupils to come into contact with achievements of great human significance, like the poems of Homer, the concept of democracy in Athens or the architecture of Rome, because of the enrichment that they can bring to their experience; he wants them to grapple with the problems of understanding a culture very different from their own both in its expressed views and attitudes and also in its underlying assumptions and beliefs; he wants them to recognise the significance of the cultures of Greece and Rome for their own European inheritance; he wants them if possible to gain mastery in one or both classical languages as a means of achieving all the foregoing at a deeper level than can be achieved through the use of translations; he believes that in handling unfamiliar ideas and concepts that arise from the study of the ancient world they will extend and sharpen their powers of communication, and that in the course of gaining mastery in the classical languages, they will become more aware of the structure of language and of the full meaning and connotation of words, so that they will he the more able to use and comprehend language as a precise, economical and elegant instrument for expressing thought.

Not all classics courses involve all these objectives. There are some which, like most courses of ten years ago or more, still make the acquisition of language skills their overriding concern, and bring in elements of the other objectives only peripherally. However, a broad understanding of the ancient world is coming increasingly to be regarded as an essential ingredient of every classics course, though for the least able and the youngest pupils the level at which this can be achieved is indeed modest. Where the learning of a classical language forms one of a number of interrelated objectives new material has been developed to exploit the links between language and culture; it still remains to be seen at what cost in terms


[page 4]

of linguistic competence the wider range of objectives is achieved. Alongside courses where language teaching is an exclusive or dominant part, the last decade has seen the development of studies of the classical world which do not involve knowledge of either of the classical languages - and these studies we shall hereafter refer to as 'classical studies'.

These changes have been accompanied, and indeed made possible, by the availability of a considerable amount of new teaching material. For classical studies, the Cambridge School Classics Project, sponsored by the Schools Council, has provided a substantial amount of material for a foundation year and is developing further material to extend the course. Additionally, commercial publishers have recognised the opportunity and made available a wide range of printed material, some of it of high quality, for pupils of all ages and all abilities.

The existence for the first time of an impressive collection of translations of classical works in paper-back form - although these are not always ideally suited to school use - has had a profound effect on the teaching of classics to older pupils. Materials reflecting the new approach to the teaching of Latin were brought out almost simultaneously in England and Wales by the Cambridge School Classics Project and in Scotland by a group of classics teachers and others, and these are being widely used in schools. At the time of writing, a project to develop new teaching materials for Greek has been financed by public subscription, in default of support from the more usual educational sources, and promises to have a similar, if less widespread, impact on the schools to that of the Latin Project.

All these changes have had their most stringent testing in comprehensive schools. The rapid spread of comprehensive education over England and Wales is usually dated from the year 1965, when the government of the day issued its circular 10/65 requesting local authorities to submit schemes for secondary reorganisation along comprehensive lines. Some eight years later the classics committee of HM Inspectorate decided to ascertain the extent to which classical courses have secured a place in the comprehensive school curriculum, the circumstances which appear conducive to the growth and success of such courses, the problems of adaptation that have arisen and the success with which they have been solved. What follows is an attempt to answer some of these questions.




[page 5]

2 The enquiry: data and interpretation


A number of circumstances dictated that the method of enquiry adopted should employ a sampling technique. Any attempt to make an enquiry of all known comprehensive schools would have encountered a number of obstacles. In particular, it would have been quite impossible for the committee to have undertaken the visiting involved in the course of one school year. The enquiries would therefore have had to be made by written questionnaires and this method of itself was likely to be capable of producing only limited information. In the end the enquiry was based on a random sample of 309 comprehensive schools taken from the Department of Education and Science's list for 1973 of 1,798 comprehensive schools excluding those with an upper age limit of 13.*

The statistical side of the survey was carried out in two stages. First, each of the 309 schools in the random sample received a short questionnaire (Form 1, reproduced on page 63) designed mainly to discover if classics was included in the school's curriculum and, if so, what kind of classics was taught (Question 9). Questions 2-8 were framed to elicit information which, it was thought, might have some bearing upon the incidence of classics in comprehensive schools. Form 1 was accompanied by a letter which explained that a member of the classics committee would later visit the schools which taught classics in any form.

First stage

Tables 1 and 2 summarise the information received in response to Form 1.

The 295 schools which replied (95 per cent of the sample) were more or less evenly divided between those which included classics in the curriculum (47 per cent) and those which did not (48 per cent), which suggests that classics in some form is taught in something like half the country's comprehensive schools. This may well mean that classics teaching is present in more schools than ever before when it is remembered that it was rare indeed to find any classics in the non-selective schools which formed two-thirds of all secondary schools in the early sixties. Single sex schools, vastly outnumbered in the sample by mixed schools, had a slightly higher but not statistically significant incidence of classics teaching.

The thesis that classics is more likely to be found in the large comprehensive school gains clear support. Classics is taught in 27 per cent of the schools with fewer than 600 pupils but in about 65 per cent of the schools with 1,500 or more. If one adopts a school population of 1,000 pupils as the cut-off point between the large and the small comprehensive, 54 per cent of the former teach classics as against 42 per cent of the latter. This difference is statistically significant.

Some reference has already been made to the problems created for classics by the adoption of tiered systems of comprehensive schools. Schools with a terminal age of 13 were excluded from the

*By adopting the Department's definition of a comprehensive school, philosophical questions of definition were largely pre-empted and though some difficulties subsequently emerged, it was decided to adhere strictly to the Department's list. As in all sample surveys the results are subject to some uncertainty due to sampling error: the figures in the tables have a 90 per cent probability. This is discussed and some examples given, in the Technical Note at the end of this booklet.


[page 6]

sample; even though they were classified by the Department of Education and Science as secondary schools they are for the most part organised, staffed, and regarded for curriculum purposes as

Table 1 The extent to which classics is taught (Form 1)

*The percentages given in this column are of the total number of schools, not only the number that returned the questionnaire. It is assumed that where schools failed to return the form they had no classics to declare.


[page 7]

middle schools, and it was therefore felt that their inclusion in this review would be inappropriate. All other types of comprehensives, however, were included. What have come to be called 'all-through' comprehensives (11 or 12-18) amounted to well over half of the sample. Rather more than one-quarter of the schools in the sample have a terminal age of 14 or 16 and form the lower component in a tiered system. The remainder, roughly one-sixth of the sample, all have a terminal age of 18 but an entry age of 13, 14 or 16, indicating that they are schools which form the upper component in a tiered system. The likelihood of there being classics in the curriculum is much greater in schools with a sixth form.

Apart from the comparatively small group of comprehensive schools which were built as entirely new institutions to provide for new centres of population, the great majority developed in a variety of ways through the amalgamation of a number of existing schools. Sometimes a grammar and a modern school came together to form the nucleus of a new comprehensive school; at other times a modern school (or two linked together) started to receive the full range of pupils; sometimes again a grammar school gradually expanded its range of entry without being required to amalgamate with another existing school population. As expected we found that the presence or absence of a selective school among the antecedents of a comprehensive school greatly affected the probability of classical courses existing within its curriculum. Of comprehensives formed solely from former non-selective schools, only 29 per cent now teach classics. Of those formed in part or wholly from selective schools the percentage is 74. The main reason must be that in the former cases there was no history or tradition of classics teaching to carry over into the comprehensive schools. When at the time of reorganisation curricular decisions were taken, classics frequently lacked an advocate and its claims went by default. This lack of advocacy to some extent reflects the almost total absence of classics specialists from the advisory services in England and Wales (a situation which contrasts sharply with that existing in parts of Scotland, as is pointed out on page 9).

However, if this evidence were to be interpreted as suggesting that the teaching of classics in comprehensive schools often persists solely as a survival from the previous grammar school curriculum, it might have been expected that lapse of time would reduce the incidence of such examples. Some schools have been comprehensive for nearly twenty years, others for only one or two. To find out if there was any relationship between the length of time that a school had been comprehensive and the presence or absence of classics in it, a comparison was made between those schools reorganised up to 1968 and those reorganised from 1969. Nineteen sixty-eight was chosen as the dividing point because pupils in schools included in the earlier group could have completed five years of secondary education in comprehensive schools by the time the enquiry began: most schools in the latter group on the other hand would still not be fully comprehensive. In fact the percentage of schools with classics in both groups is very similar, and the evidence must be considered inconclusive. At the least it would appear that the subject has been able to maintain its place in the comprehensive


[page 8]

school curriculum, in some cases over a considerable period of time.

The last section of Table 1 needs further explanation. Although comprehensive schools potentially contain pupils of a full range of ability, there are many reasons why in any one school the range may be curtailed or its distribution skewed. The commonest are the existence in the area of a selective school or a more highly favoured comprehensive school which tends to draw away the abler pupils; or the form of organisation consisting of 11-16 and 13-18 schools in which the latter, nominally comprehensive, in fact often cater predominantly for the more able, and the nature of the school's catchment area. Accordingly Heads were asked to say whether the school population was in their judgement average in distribution or skewed towards the more or less able. It is not surprising to find classics most prevalent among those schools which have - or believe themselves to have - more than the average proportion of abler pupils.

Table 2 The extent to which classics is taught, by region and type of course offered

*The percentages given in this column are of the total number of schools, not only the total number that returned the questionnaire. It is assumed that where schools failed to return the form they had no classics to declare.

When the question is asked: 'What sort of classics is present in the schools?', the short answer, as shown in Table 2, for 91 per cent of those that offer classics, is 'Latin with or without classical studies'. The largest category remains that of schools teaching a classical language only, suggesting a more traditional situation than might have been expected. The growth of classical studies courses over the last ten years is often represented as the attempt of classics to adapt itself to the needs of a wider ability range than that which it traditionally served. The fact that they occur in so few schools on their own appears to reinforce the point made earlier that classics does not easily take root in schools which do not have a tradition and history of teaching classical languages.

It was not originally intended that there should be any comparison


[page 9]

between the different regions of England and Wales, but statistics were in fact gathered separately in Wales and in the nine divisions into which England at that time was divided for the work of HM Inspectorate. These show (in Table 2) the considerable variations that exist between different parts of the country. One of the most striking variants is Wales where 76 per cent of the comprehensive schools have classics compared with the overall England and Wales figure of 47 per cent. The figures are the more impressive when it is remembered that the bilingual policies advocated by most Welsh authorities means that Welsh pupils will generally be carrying a heavier overall language load than their English counterparts. At the other end of the scale come the North Midlands, Midlands and Eastern Divisions with 39 per cent, 21 per cent and 28 per cent. The reasons for these disparities are no doubt complex; the strength of a traditional respect for academic education, the presence or absence in the area of grammar or direct grant schools, the type of reorganisation scheme most prevalent and the extent to which comprehensive reorganisation is complete - all these (and others) may have a place.

It is interesting to note in passing that in Scotland, as in Wales, classics is strong in comprehensive schools. In September 1974 (before local government reorganisation) Glasgow had 44 of its 54 comprehensive schools teaching Latin, 42 teaching classical studies, and about 12 teaching Greek. It had also a full-time adviser in classics employed by the authority, as in neighbouring Lanarkshire.

Second stage

The second stage of the enquiry aimed to discover some of the conditions under which classics is taught within individual schools. The more detailed information sought from the schools concerned was embodied in a questionnaire (Form 2 which is reproduced on pages 63 to 71) which a member of the classics committee filled up in the course of a visit. Form 2 had four sections. The first covered classical studies and was concerned with the extent to which it was taught as a separate, self-sufficient subject or as a component in a more general course; it also sought information about the composition of the teaching groups in which classical studies was taught. The second and third sections, covering Latin and Greek language teaching respectively, were identical in form and for each language sought information on the method used to select the initial teaching group. All three sections contained questions designed to discover the quantitative strength within each school of the various aspects of classics teaching and the ability classification of the pupils studying them. Each section concluded with an enquiry about the number of candidates to be entered in July 1974 for each of the standard external examinations. The final section investigated the teaching conditions for classics, including specialist accommodation, resources, and number and qualifications of staff.

Three of the schools which sent an affirmative reply to Form 1 could not for various reasons be included in the second part of the survey. They are included in the figures given in Tables 1 and 2, but not in the later Tables. Moreover in one or two schools changes occurred between the times when the two questionnaires were completed, so that there are minor discrepancies in the totals. The


[page 10]

Tables based on the second questionnaire cover a total of 143 schools with classics (of the 146 recorded in Tables 1 and 2), of which 69 included classical studies (73 in Table 2) and 130 included Latin (133 in Table 2).

Table 3 Classical Studies. The organisation of the subject within the curriculum

The following table is based on information from 143 schools of which 69 offered courses in classical studies. In sections (I) and (II) more than one answer was given in the case of some schools with a variety of type of course.

Table 4 Classical Studies. All year groups and percentage of pupils in each year group taking classical studies

Table 3 shows the extent to which classical studies is taught separately or as part of an integrated programme of work, the ability range of pupils to whom it is offered and the nature of the groups in which they are taught. Tables 4 and 5 together give clear evidence of the quantitative strength of classical studies in those schools where it is taught. In all schools in the sample which teach classics in any form, the total number of year groups is 880,


[page 11]

assuming that each school is complete throughout its declared age range. The tables show that the total number of year groups in which classical studies is taught is 140 (16 per cent of the figure of 880 above). In Table 4 this total is broken down by the percentages of pupils taking classical studies in each year group, and in Table 5 by the actual numbers of pupils taking classical studies in each year group.

Table 5 Classical Studies. All year groups and numbers of pupils in each year group taking classical studies

The picture to be drawn from all this data is of classical studies as a separate subject whose numerical strength is overwhelmingly to be found in the first and second years of secondary schools, where it is taught to a substantial proportion of the pupils mainly in mixed ability groups. After the first two years the great majority of groups consist of less than 25 per cent of the year group and fewer than 20 pupils. The questionnaire did not explicitly seek information about the size of teaching groups but it would appear that about a fifth of all the teaching groups consist of five pupils or less.

Table 6 Latin. Year of starting

Table 6 shows the number of schools beginning Latin courses in the various years of secondary education, the schools being classified according to age range. The figures for 14-13 and for 16+ schools are purely nominal, since these schools are the upper tiers in two-tier systems, and it is always possible that Latin has been started by pupils when they are in a lower tier. The table shows sufficiently clearly that the majority of courses still begin in the second year and


[page 12]

are presumably four-year courses, but that there is a substantial number of courses starting in the third year, most of which probably last three years. The implications of courses shorter than this are considered in Chapters 3 and 4.

Table 7 Latin. Method of forming the teaching group and ability range of pupils as estimated by the school

Table 7 shows the way in which Latin groups are formed and the consequent range of ability of pupils to whom it is taught. Choice of either pupils or parents (with or without, but generally with, some control on the part of the school) is now the commonest way in which groups are formed, and the implications of this are important. The bulk of Latin courses are started in the second or third year and one is bound to ask what guidance the school offers to make the choice a reasoned one. It is to be noticed that in eighteen of the schools pupils or parents were given free choice in the matter of starting to learn Latin. The element of choice no doubt in part accounts for the fact that Latin is no longer restricted to the abler pupils.

Tables 8 and 9, like the corresponding ones for classical studies, offer the findings of the survey on the quantitative strength of Latin in comprehensive schools. The total number of year groups taking Latin is 447, over three times the number of year groups containing pupils taking classical studies and just over 50 per cent of the 880 year groups in the schools in the sample. In Table 8 this total of 447 is broken down by percentages of pupils taking Latin in each year group, and in Table 9 by numbers of pupils taking Latin in each year group. The largest number of teaching groups occurs in the third, fourth and fifth years. The latter is the peak year for the conclusion of O-level courses, but the fact that the sixth year figure exceeds


[page 13]

the seventh year figure by a substantial margin suggests that a number of pupils study Latin in the sixth year who do not continue it into the seventh year. Many of these will probably be studying for O-level rather than A-level GCE. The information contained in Table 9 concerns the number of pupils in the year group as a whole and one can only guess at the size of teaching groups. However, assuming that groups are not split up unnecessarily, it would appear that about a half of all teaching groups consist of 10 pupils or less and 69 per cent of 20 pupils or fewer. Of all Latin teaching groups in the sixth year, 78 per cent consist of five pupils or fewer and in the seventh year the proportion rises to 95 per cent.

Table 8 Latin. Number of year groups with stated percentage of year group taking Latin

Table 9 Number of year groups with stated number of pupils taking Latin

These figures, especially when viewed alongside those for classical studies, must give rise to some concern. The fact is that, judging from the numbers of pupils entering for O-level Latin over the country as a whole, fewer are now taking the subject than was the case when most of the classics teaching was in grammar schools. Comprehensive reorganisation has almost certainly resulted in classics being a component in the curriculum of a larger number of schools than ever before, but the effect of spreading the somewhat smaller numbers of pupils over a larger number of schools is to make the provision far more costly in terms of manpower. At present the opportunity to study classical subjects exists in fewer than half of comprehensive schools. If it were made more general the total number of pupils


[page 14]

taking classical subjects would no doubt increase, but the cost of provision would probably be still greater. Meanwhile a substantial degree of inequality of opportunity exists. It should be added that while the increase in the number of pupils following classical studies courses (quite substantial in the first two years) may be regarded to some extent as compensating for the drop in numbers taking Latin, it is proving equally costly in terms of staffing in the later years. This cost is considered in more detail in Chapter 4.

Public Examinations

Table 10 Classical studies. Number of candidates taking external examinations in classical studies in Summer 1974 from the schools included in the survey

Table 11 Latin. External examinations in Latin. Numbers of candidates in Summer 1974 from the schools included in the survey

Tables 10 and 11 give the numbers of candidates entering for various examinations in classical subjects in the summer of 1974. Table 10 gives clear evidence of the continued dominance of O-Ievel GCE as the objective of the comparatively few classical studies courses which have so far become established in the upper forms of secondary schools. The majority of pupils entering for O-level GCE take one or other of the papers set in ancient literature in translation, with a few also taking ancient history. The few A-level candidates in classical studies were all entered for ancient history. All the Mode 1 papers set by CSE boards give candidates an opportunity to show a degree of proficiency in the Latin language by attempting an optional section of the paper, but it is assumed that the 45 candidates mentioned in the table were attempting only those parts of the paper which required no knowledge of Latin. The examinations included under the category 'other' consist of feasibility studies in connection with developments in examining at 16+. The following


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Table gives similar figures for Latin. It will be noticed that only about one pupil in 10 who takes O-level GCE goes on to take A level in this subject, and that O-level GCE rather than CSE is overwhelmingly the more popular examination objective.

Table 12 Greek. Twenty schools in the survey offered Greek, two having only occasional pupils. The total number of pupils laking Greek was 81, distributed in year groups as follows. Tire two schools with only occasional pupils are omitted

Table 12 shows that the position of Greek in comprehensive schools is a desperate one, and the tale is briefly told. Only 20 schools in the enquiry were offering Greek and between them they mustered only 81 pupils. In several of these schools Greek appeared to have only a precarious hold on the curriculum. In the majority of cases there were only one or two pupils in each year group taking the subject and these were to be found either in years IV or V or in the sixth form. Greek is known to exist in a few comprehensive schools outside the sample and to have supplanted Latin as the main classical language in at least one, but the enquiry clearly shows that the general position is bleak.

Table 13 Resources available for the teaching of classics


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Table 13 presents a very varied picture of the resources which support classics courses. Only about one-third of all schools make a specialist room available for the teaching of classics and in only about one-fifth was all or most of the classics teaching carried out in a specialist room. This is disappointing. Modern teaching methods both in Latin and classical studies depend upon the ready availability of resources and cannot be carried out easily and efficiently except in a room adapted and set apart for this purpose.

Few schools had book resources which were judged to be very good, whether in a central library or in decentralised class or departmental libraries, but a reassuring number came into the categories good and fair. On the whole they were less well provided with other visual material, including posters, charts and other printed material as well as film strips, films and slides. This too is disappointing since such material is now available in great variety; it is also often of high quality and plays an important part in many language courses and the majority of effective classical studies courses. Audio material, whether on disc or tape, was still less in evidence, despite the output in recent years of recorded Latin readings of good quality and the current interest in improving the standard of spoken Latin. One could also hope that some of the broadcast material concerned with classical themes might find a place in the classroom.

The relative failure to make use of audio and visual resources may be related to the lack of a specialist room with facilities for projection or play-back and to the fact that few classics departments possess such apparatus as a slide projector, tape recorder or record player. Though in most cases these items of equipment are said to be easily accessible, this is a relative term, and the incidental use (for perhaps only a few minutes of a lesson) of tape recorder or slide projector, which is often their most effective form of contribution, may be inhibited if it involves previous planning and the carrying about of heavy or cumbersome apparatus.

Table 14 provides information about the qualifications of teachers. Over half of those concerned with classical subjects are well qualified to leach the subject, but as high a proportion as 44 per cent have no qualifications in classics other than those at O or A level that they may have gained at school. The question of the involvement of nonspecialist teachers is discussed more fully in the next chapter, since they tend to be found predominantly in certain types of school. Here it may simply be stated that there is a very substantial difference between a situation where a specialist classics teacher is supported


[page 17]

by the contributions of specialists in other branches of the curriculum (English, history, modern languages, drama, art or craft) but where they can depend upon him for the overall planning, and the situation in which there is no specialist teacher available in the school at all, and the work is carried out at the amateur level, with the possibility of the very wide range of quality associated with the output of the amateur.

Table 14 Qualifications of teachers involved in the teaching of classics

These figures cannot be aggregated to indicate the total number of teachers involved in the teaching of classics in the 140 schools, since the same teacher may well be included in the returns under the heading of more than one subject.

In the case of Latin, it is unlikely that the 8 per cent or so of teachers without any qualifications beyond O or A level will be able to sustain adequate courses at any level, though here again the presence of a specialist colleague can make the difference between modest success and total failure. In general, however, Latin and Greek teaching appear to be in the hands of well qualified specialists.

Conclusions

What then was the general position of classics in comprehensive schools in 1973-74? From the point of view of the parent who wishes his child to have the opportunity to study some aspect of the subject, there will be nationally only a 50 per cent chance of classics or classical studies being offered in the local comprehensive school, though that figure conceals the difference between a one in four chance if he lives in the Midlands and a three in four chance if he lives in Wales. Some reasons for this variation have been touched on in this chapter.

The most crucial of all factors, however, in determining the status to be accorded to classical work is probably the conviction of the head teacher. It is no accident that where the whole or a substantial proportion of year groups have Latin or classical studies as part of their curriculum, the head teacher has discerned and valued the potential of classics in a general education and supports and encourages the teachers concerned with the subject.


[page 18]

But where such conviction exists, the head teacher is faced with severe practical problems. He can, indeed, introduce classical studies into the core curriculum of the first one, two or three years without too much difficulty - there are for example the schools where all pupils in the first three years have some contact with the classical world, and again the school where some 1,300 out of the total 1,500 pupils have a similar experience of classics. But it is a fact that fewer pupils are now learning Latin than were doing so 15 years ago, though they are spread over a larger number of schools. The inevitable result is more uneconomical groups, and consequent staffing problems.

For the classics teacher (depending upon his personality and resilience and even more upon the attitude of the head of the school) comprehensive reorganisation will prove either a crushing burden or a challenging opportunity. At best he will be able to offer many of the values he sees in his subject to a wider range of pupils and thus complement the higher-level work which may be restricted to comparatively few. At worst he will see his contribution to the curriculum narrowed down to that of ministering to the tolerated eccentricities of the few who still demand some Latin, for whatever reason.





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3 Some special cases


In the first chapter we described the position of classical subjects in comprehensive schools and noted a number of circumstances which appeared to favour or discourage their presence. In this chapter the intention is to look in rather more depth at the position of classics in some of the different forms of comprehensive school organisation covered by the enquiry. As a starting point we can take the figures shown in Table 1 which can be further broken down as follows:

Table 15

It will be remembered that schools with an upper age limit of 13 were excluded from the enquiry. The number of 11-14 schools is relatively small, but the low proportion of both these and 11-16 schools that have classics seems to invite comment, as does the relatively high proportion of schools with an age range of 13-18, or 14-18 or 16-18, though the last two of these three groups are again small numerically.

If the 11-18 school, representing according to the sample over half of all comprehensive schools, is regarded as the norm, how do the other types of comprehensive schools diverge from that norm and why? Is the divergence on the one hand caused not only by the limited age range of the schools, but also by the fact that they tend to be smaller, and smaller schools are naturally less likely to sustain classics courses? Or have more 11-14 and 11-16 schools emerged from non-selective backgrounds, another factor which seems to affect the presence of classics? Is there any difference in the spread of ability of pupils in such schools as compared with the sample as a whole? Or have these schools fewer staff with classics qualifications than other comprehensive schools, and does this affect the position of classics unfavourably? On the other side, are schools with a lower age limit of 13 or 14 in general larger, more often derived from selective schools, and staffed with better qualified teachers, and does this make it more likely that such schools will offer classics to their pupils? It is difficult to answer these questions with any degree of certainty, but some indications may be looked for in the figures available.

11-14 and 11-16 schools

Taking first the group of 24 schools in the 11-14 age range (admittedly a small sample) it will be seen from Table 16 that 58 per cent have fewer than 600 pupils, 50 per cent were formed from non-selective


[page 20]

Table 16 The extent to which classics is taught in 11-14 schools


[page 21]

Table 17 The extent to which classics is taught in 11-16 schools


[page 22]

Table 18 The extent to which classics is taught in 11-14 and 11-16 schools taken together


[page 23]

Table 19 Classics qualifications of teachers engaged in the teaching of classical studies and Latin, by type of school


[page 24]

schools and only 8 per cent (two schools) regard themselves as having a better than average balance of ability in their intake. Of the seven teachers concerned with the subject in the three schools where classical studies is taught five have no post-school qualifications in classics and only one has a classics degree. In the seven schools where Latin appears, two of the nine staff have no qualifications in the subject (Table 20).

The group of 11-16 schools is a larger one, with 55 schools (Table 17). About one third have fewer than 600 pupils, 65 per cent were formed from non-selective schools, and only 5 per cent (three schools) regard themselves as having a better than average intake, while 29 per cent consider their intake to be biased towards the less able. In the eight schools with classical studies there are no honours graduates in classics, and twenty of the twenty-five teachers concerned have no post-school qualifications in classics. In eight schools offering Latin there are ten teachers involved, two of whom have no qualifications in the subject (Table 19).

When compared for size, origin and ability-range with the sample as a whole, the proportion of schools which have classics in the 11-14 and 11-16 groups taken together (Table 18) seems consistently lower than for the sample as a whole, and suggests that the form of organisation is an important element in accounting for the difference. Later in the chapter it is suggested that problems of staffing inseparable from this form of organisation might be a contributing factor. It is difficult to make comparisons of staff availability and qualifications between groups of schools, but the combined figure of twenty-five teachers out of the thirty-two involved in classical studies, and four out of nineteen in the teaching of Latin, who appear to have no qualifications in classics beyond O or A level compares unfavourably with the figures for 11-18 schools (33 out of 95, and 8 out of 126 respectively - Table 19).

One cannot view these figures with any equanimity and the position in 11-14 and 11-16 schools is startling. The effective teaching of Latin requires staff with the sort of knowledge of the subject usually associated with graduate status. The pitfalls into which the teacher who can only keep a lesson or so ahead of his class can all too easily fall are obvious. The possibility of such a teacher successfully adopting any of the new approaches to Latin teaching (which, as in so many other areas of the curriculum, make greater rather than fewer demands upon the teacher as compared with more traditional methods) is small.

Classical studies, certainly at the level at which the subject is taught in the first year or so of the secondary school, presents a somewhat different picture. In the majority of examples it is being taught to all pupils, and such a spread would be impossible without involving some non-specialists in the teaching. However, it is fatally easy to teach classical studies in such a way that the picture of the ancient world presented is largely false; to teach only those myths and legends that can be fitted into our code of morality, and ignore the essentially different code within which they grew up; to teach Greek tragedy as though it was only the awkward fact of the chorus and some obvious dramatic conventions that prevented it from being drama as we normally understand it, rather than as a form


[page 25]

which developed out of the chorus and remained a part of religious ritual; to talk about fifth century Athenian democracy as though it were not very different from our own representative democracy and as though the citizens were models of sound Victorian morality - slavery, pederasty and endemic political instability being conveniently neglected. No doubt much of this essential 'otherness' of the Greeks and Romans (very different from each other as well as from ourselves) does not appear explicitly in the classical studies course of 11 and 12 year olds. But when the teacher himself is unaware of it, the classical world which he purveys will be essentially bogus. The presence of a qualified classicist at least as the leader of a team of non-specialist colleagues may not be adequate to guard against such an emasculation of the subject, but without it, the chances are slender indeed.

11-16 schools - problems of staffing

A more detailed study was carried out by HM Inspectors (in 1972-73) in eight areas where 11/12-16 schools and sixth form colleges (of one form or another) had at that time been longest established. This study confirms that staffing is a major problem in the provision of classical courses - a problem related to all the factors mentioned earlier, limited age range, relatively small size and in many cases non-selective origin.

In one area where there had been classical staff in the three selective schools that had offered the subject before reorganisation, it would have been necessary to appoint classical staff to twenty separate institutions after reorganisation in order to make the subject still available to pupils in every part of the borough. This was a not untypical situation. Here, as elsewhere, the difficulty was the greater in the case of classics than of some other subjects where considerable expansion was needed - modern languages for example - in so far as in most subjects some teaching had already gone on in the schools, whereas, except in the case of the relatively few grammar schools which became 11-16 comprehensive schools, there had previously been no classicist on the staff. This dispersal of minority subjects, though to some extent present in all comprehensive schemes, seems particularly serious in its effects in areas where the economics of manpower made possible in the sixth form college are balanced by the less economical use of staff in some parts of the curriculum in the 11-16 schools.

In a typical grammar school a Latin teacher might very well have a programme made up for a four-year course for one set or form in the main school, occupying about 16 periods in the week, and sixth form groups occupying a further 12-14 periods, together with a modest contribution to the general studies programme. It is clear that the simple transfer of this pattern of curriculum to forms of organisation with transfer at 16+ will result in the need within an 11-16 school for a Latin teacher for approximately half of a weekly time-table only.

In practice this difficulty has been met in three different ways: the use of the minor specialisms already existing among the staff, the employment of part-time teachers, and the sharing of teachers between two or more institutions. In some schools Latin is taught by members of staff with qualifications in this subject ranging from


[page 26]

O level to degree level, but who in each case were originally appointed for quite other reasons and for whom Latin is not a primary concern. Several results tend to follow. The time provided for Latin teaching may be circumscribed by the teachers' other interests, and in extreme cases banished to the extra-curricular limbo, an arrangement which appears to imply the view that Latin is either unimportant as a subject in relation to those for which proper provision is made within the curriculum, or that it is a subject only exceptionally required by a small minority of pupils whose needs may be met by emergency measures. When such teachers leave to take up other appointments, the likelihood of their replacement by another with even minimal qualifications in Latin is always in doubt, so that there is a further element of uncertainty as to whether a course once begun will be finished. There are of course examples of teachers inadequately qualified in the subject who because of their sheer quality as teachers and their hard work in mastering its elements are providing successful courses; but a far more frequent situation is that pupils are provided with minimal time allocation in which to study Latin and taught in such time as can be spared from their major interests by teachers themselves ill-equipped in the subject. The standards thus achieved are predictably low. Faced by the need often to give up time in the lunch-hour or after school, numbers of pupils have rapidly dwindled, while some of those who survive have achieved after three years results comparable to those that would be gained at the end of the first year of a properly constituted course. On the other hand, where the side interest of teachers in classics has been more effectively exploited, where interest and enthusiasm for the subject have been combined with an adequate level of knowledge and supported by an adequate and properly organised allocation of time, results have been encouraging. Even so there tends to be an element of uncertainty about the future of the subject, should such a teacher leave the school.

A second solution is that of appointing part-time teachers, generally, but not always, with classics qualifications, to teach Latin. Some local education authorities have been very generous in their readiness to make such appointments, sometimes above the normal teaching quota for the school, and when adequate conditions for teaching the subject have been satisfied the standard of work has been good. But the magnitude of the need is such that even in the most favoured area the demand for such teachers is likely to exceed supply. The effectiveness of a part-time teacher may be impaired by this comparative lack of status within the school, the peripheral position he holds in the formulation of curricular policy, and even his ignorance of day-to-day policy decisions. He may also suffer from an exceptionally heavy teaching programme which is the less effective because of the need to concentrate it into perhaps two days of the week. The pupils may barely know the part-time teacher when the decision whether to start Latin or not has to be taken. Indeed in one school Latin was offered on the assumption that if there were some takers a part-time teacher could be found and agreement to his appointment obtained; a subject 'without a face' is at some disadvantage compared with one associated with a teacher who is respected and liked, or at least known. However, these disadvantages


[page 27]

are mitigated when the service of a part-time teacher continues over a number of years and helps create an atmosphere of confidence and stability.

A third solution is to appoint a peripatetic teacher to visit several schools, and a fourth to appoint a shared teacher to the staff of one school able to spend up to half his time in another. The disadvantages outlined in the previous paragraph all apply to a greater or lesser extent to the former of these arrangements too. Add to this the fact that the role of peripatetic teacher involves the maximum of inconvenience and discomfort with the minimum of status and of continuity, or sense of involvement, in the individual school, and it is not surprising that where such appointments have been made the result has generally been unsuccessful. On the other hand the appointing of a suitably qualified 'shared' teacher to the staff of one school with the express purpose of developing the teaching of Latin in both the parent school and another nearby appears to have been more attractive to applicants and more successful in practice. A variation on this arrangement (which appears to be working well in one area) is the appointment to one of the high schools of a classics teacher who also teaches for part of the week in the sixth form college. Another is the provision of the Latin teaching in one or more of the high schools by the classics staff of the college. The sharing of a teacher between 11-16 school and college possesses the solid advantage of securing continuity of treatment and of teaching between the two phases of education.

Each of these staffing arrangements is based on the assumption that in the 11-16 school 'classics' means 'Latin' for a short course for a small number of pupils. Because Latin by itself cannot justify a full-time classics appointment, the school has to use a specialist or a non-specialist teacher on a part-time basis only. But if account is taken of the additional contribution that classics specialists can make to the general curriculum, either in a course of classical studies as such or in a classical element within a humanities or other integrated programme, then the problem is not one of making economical use of the specialists' time, but of securing enough specialists to supply the need. There are enough high schools making good use of the skills of one or two classics teachers to suggest that a full and satisfying role for the classics teacher can exist in the 11-16 school.

13-18 and 14-18 schools

If we turn to 13-18 and 14-18 schools (Table 20, p. 36) we are dealing with small numbers, especially in the second category, so that it is convenient to treat them as a single group even though the difference in year of entry may well make a difference to the position of classics. It is surprising to find a relatively high proportion of these schools (30 per cent) with fewer than 600 pupils, and of these the proportion with classics is not far from that of other types of school of similar size. Among the larger schools within this group, the proportion with classics in their curriculum is higher than for the sample as a whole. A far higher proportion of the schools in this group were formed from selective schools than in the sample as a whole, and a higher proportion regard their ability-range as biased towards the more able (cf Table 20 with Table I (iv) and (vi)). Staffing standards


[page 28]

Table 20 The extent to which classics is taught in 13/14-18 schools


[page 29]

too are above average: only one out of the eight staff teaching classical studies and four of the thirty-seven staff taking Latin are unqualified in the subject; but the presence of even four teachers of classics without any relevant post-school qualifications handling work which is presumed to be in preparation for O or A level is disturbing (Table 19). These schools (that is the 13/14-16, and in particular the 13-18, schools), many of which contain a concealed element of selection in the form of parental choice and school advice, are as a class untypical of comprehensive schools in general.

The main concern that must be expressed about the 13/14-18 school arises from HM Inspectors' observation over some years rather than directly from any facts that emerged from the present survey - namely the length and quality of the classics courses offered. It has already been noted that the proportion of 11-14 schools with classics in the curriculum is very low. The great majority of pupils, even though a minority of them may have had some slight contact in their previous school with classical studies, will be studying a classical language for the first time at the age of 13 or 14. Even when some of the previous schools have provided an introduction to Latin, the variety of approaches adopted may cause problems for upper schools receiving pupils from a number of different schools. This danger is avoided in at least one area, in which a teacher from the upper school takes a group of pupils in each of the three contributing middle schools and subsequently in the first year of the upper school. There are good grounds for believing that a course leading to ordinary level GCE lasting less than three years is likely (given the usual allocation of time per week to the subject) to be accessible only to the ablest linguists and to give even them only a modest chance of achieving acceptable grades in the examination. This is not to say that an exceptional teacher with a small group of able and highly motivated pupils cannot do very well indeed in less than three years - but simply that the scale is heavily loaded against them, that they are being required to operate within a basically unsatisfactory framework of organisation, and that this type of course may achieve a paper qualification but is unlikely to offer a worthwhile educational experience.

In some 14-18 schools taking pupils from feeder schools which offer no Latin there seems little alternative to either providing an unusually large time allocation during the two years before the sixth form, or envisaging a three-year course leading to ordinary level GCE in the lower sixth. The latter alternative not only involves surrendering the possibility (in other than exceptional circumstances) of offering advanced work, but often results in pupils losing interest, especially in the second year, and failing to complete the course, a dilemma not wholly confined to classical subjects.

In 13-18 schools the problem is different. It is possible to offer a three-year course to pupils on entry, but unless relationships with the middle schools are very close and there is a sound system of advice and record-keeping, it is difficult for the pupils either to be guided or to choose on any adequate grounds to start Latin immediately. The practice of making the first year of the 13-18 school a diagnostic year - at a dangerously late stage in the pupil's school career - is


[page 30]

hostile to the notion of introducing a new subject at 13. And indeed if Latin is introduced in this year it ought not to involve too early a restriction of a pupil's opportunities. Some organisational means of achieving this are considered in Chapter 4.

A further difficulty arises from the almost universal practice of offering a wide range of choice to pupils at the beginning of the fourth year. It is normally undesirable for pupils to start a new subject fully aware of the fact that circumstances may well compel them to give it up after a single year. Provided that the guidance procedures have been sound it is better to assume that those who start a course in the third year will complete it to ordinary level or CSE unless there are good reasons to the contrary.

In this chapter two main groups of schools have been considered - those with no pupils above the third or the fifth year, and those with no pupils below the second or the third year of secondary education. The availability of classics in the first group is notably deficient. In the second group, at first sight, the position seems to be much more satisfactory, but classics courses may often prove disappointing in quality because of the constraints, particularly of time, under which they suffer. The evidence of the enquiry leads to the conclusion that in a comprehensive system the type of school most conducive to the growth of classics is the medium or large 11/12-18 school.





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4 Organisation


Staffing

Once the decision has been taken that in principle classics should be allowed to play a part in the education of its pupils, a school must consider whether it can afford to make this possible. This is not entirely a matter of philosophies and priorities; it involves calculation of need and demand, assessment of the availability of teachers, the staffing structure, time-tabling possibilities, and evaluation of the viability of teaching groups.

In some schools an important deterrent is the anxiety that below the sixth form the provision of both Latin and German (or other second modern foreign language) would result in uneconomic groups for one or both of these subjects. For such schools the issue is probably one of educational priorities; whether they are prepared to invest in classics sufficiently to make it an element in the curriculum of all pupils, and whether their estimate of other curricular and administrative needs allows them to devote teacher-time to an able minority.

In terms of demand at advanced level, classics is properly considered a minority subject; it accounts for a tiny fraction of A-level entries, and the survey showed that in years VI and VlI Latin teaching groups rarely consist of more than five pupils. In the youngest age-groups the picture is different. Where classical studies appears on the time-table for years I and II it is taught to all pupils in 71 per cent of the first year groups and 44 per cent of the second year groups. If figures for Latin in years II and III are combined (Table 9), only 30 (22 per cent) of the 133 year groups contained 20 pupils or fewer being taught Latin, and it may be conjectured that in the majority of the remainder the actual teaching groups consisted of at least that number. It seems reasonable to conclude that where they occur in years I, II and III, classical subjects are usually taught either in classes of around 30 pupils or in contrived teaching groups frequently consisting of more than 20 pupils, and that to this extent they are not an expensive use of teacher-time.

In the same terms, however, the figures for years IV and V (Tables 5 and 9) reveal classics to be frequently expensive at this stage. Just over 50 per cent of the year groups in which Latin is taught contain ten, or fewer, pupils studying Latin. In years IV and V combined, 13 year groups (out of 37) contain five pupils, or fewer, being taught classical studies; a further seven year groups contain six to ten pupils being taught classical studies. Statistics are not available to show the correlation between the size of teaching groups at this level and the scale or nature of classical subjects taught in the younger age groups; and, as Chapter 2 points out, the figures for years IV and V include schools which admit pupils at 13 or 14. Nevertheless, from observation of a number of schools the impression is gained that where Latin or classical studies, or both, occur from year III or earlier, the teaching groups in years IV and V


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frequently do not differ from those found in other optional subjects. It is where it is regarded as a subject applicable only to year IV and above that it becomes particularly expensive in teachers' time. In some schools Latin, Greek, ancient history and classical studies combine to make classics a majority subject: in one school, where classics features in humanities, in examination courses, and in sixth form minority-time, over 70 per cent of the pupils are currently in contact with classical subjects or topics.

It may be that to encourage classics, especially in the smaller comprehensive school, a marginal improvement in overall staffing ratio will sometimes be helpful, but the major factor in determining the viability of classics in the 11-18 school is probably the scale of investment in years I-III, since these year groups offer scope both for relatively economic deployment of staff and for the type of course which is likely to create a demand for classics in years IV and V and in the sixth form. With transfer at 13, 14 or 16, the upper school so heavily depends on the policies of the lower-tier schools that some degree of unification in programmes and staffing may be unavoidable if classics in these systems is to be both successful and economic.

Curricular patterns

There are at least two different contributions that classics makes to a curriculum: it can provide an element in the general education of all pupils, and it can also offer to some a more demanding programme of work, whether involving the study of a classical language or not. Organisational problems that arise both from this and from the relationship of classics with other elements of the curriculum are:

(i) How can pupils gain a knowledge or taste of classical languages or classical studies as a basis for an informed decision between examination course options when these occur?
(ii) How can a thorough foundation of knowledge of the classical world be provided without dangerously abbreviating the main linguistic course?
(iii) How can classics participate in a humanities programme without losing the distinctive appeal of the classical civilisation?
(iv) How can a successful Latin course be provided without depriving pupils of the opportunity to learn a second modern language?
No single pattern can do justice to the variety of issues and strategies. Figure 1 shows a classics programme, which might be seen to match provision made by the former grammar school, in an imaginary 11-18 comprehensive, with classics taught by one teacher, giving Latin up to O level four periods per week, at A level, seven; Greek two periods, and general studies two.

Figure 2 shows the classics programme of one of the schools visited during the enquiry, an 11-18 school with 11 forms of entry, and with three people teaching classics: a specialist in Latin and French, and two classics graduates, one of whom is deputy head. Here, all pupils have an element of classics in their first year, and for a minority there is a strong Latin course to O and A levels with the opportunity to study Greek in the sixth form.


[page 33]

Figure 1

Figure 2

(cl. st. = classical studies; ppw = periods per week)

Figure 3, based on provision made by three other 11-18 schools visited during the survey, shows further types of classics programme in years I-V, assuming at least two classics teachers who would teach all or most of the classical studies or participate in the teaching of integrated work in the humanities field.

In column (a), classical studies constitutes a distinctive and (in terms of specialist teacher's time) possibly expensive foundation course leading to three-year optional courses in classical studies and Latin. In column (b), three-year optional courses in classical studies and Latin are founded on the two-year humanities course. Given the commitment to what is, in effect, a two-year foundation course, this pattern may provide a more flexible and economic framework for the deployment of classics specialists, though possibly at the expense of some control of the classical element. Column (c) shows three important differences from either of the other two:


[page 34]

Figure 3

(i) The integrated study in year I covers a much smaller part of the week, and is based on topics rather than on amalgamation of subjects.
(ii) The teaching of classical studies as a subject in year II tends to be concentrated on the lower and middle ability groups.
(iii) The pattern includes a four-year Latin course to O level below the sixth form.
Classical studies in years I, II and III

Table 3 shows that less than one-quarter of the sample schools are teaching classical studies, including courses organised as part of sixth form general studies; approximately one-fifth are teaching classical studies as a separate subject, and one school in thirty is providing classical studies incorporated in humanities or some other subject. This last statistic may reflect the fact that for the most part school organisation and teacher training are both subject-based and do not always lead easily to inter-disciplinary work; it may be partly accounted for by the relative novelty and varied evolution of classical studies, which may persuade teachers of whatever age and experience to establish classical studies before venturing into collaboration with colleagues representing other disciplines.

In some schools teachers probably consider classical studies is best taught as a separate subject, either because in this way they feel they can better convey the flavour of the classical world or because they surmise that within an integrated programme classics may well receive a small share. Some schools believe* that in the middle years development of a more elaborate framework round

*DES Education Pamphlet Number 57: Towards the middle school (HMSO, 1970) p 16.


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which to organise children's knowledge needs to be gradual and to avoid as far as possible a marked change at 11. In these schools classical topics in years I and II may naturally be incorporated within a wider framework* of humanities, social studies or history, although this requires classics staff to adapt to the different style of teaching and organisation implied. In such circumstances it seems desirable that the classical specialist should participate in the work of the team of teachers involved, whether as teacher or as consultant, or in both capacities. On the other hand, to involve individual specialists in the teaching of a wide area of the curriculum to a particular group of pupils could be an unwarrantably expensive use of staff who are also needed to run specialist courses elsewhere in the school.

For the classics specialist, properly anxious to ensure that some of his pupils will gain enthusiasm to pursue classical subjects higher up the school, the questions whether classical studies should be thus integrated, and, if so, whether he should try to ensure that any coherent view of the ancient world emerges from, say, a two years' course in humanities, or that it should include any particular topic of classical civilisation, can be resolved only by frank interdepartmental or interfaculty discussion of general aims. In some schools new organisational structures facilitate open discussion of difficult curricular issues. For example, a deputy head with responsibility for curriculum may be able to act as catalyst in promoting such discussion, and a faculty structure can in some instances help to make consultation among staff of different disciplines a routine and informal matter rather than a confrontation.

As the survey showed, however, the majority of classical studies courses are conducted as distinctly separate items in the curriculum of the early years. In some schools the classical studies course in year I subsumes the history course, but more frequently it is timetabled and taught as a separate item in the curriculum. Appropriate time allocations are difficult to specify. Many would regard two periods per week as the minimum, but these ought preferably to be a double period, since many pupils, especially the less able, find difficulty in achieving much in the single period (whether the stimulus material has been introduced at the beginning of the lesson or during a previous lesson), and practical work is difficult to arrange in less, especially if the teacher is attempting to organise a variety of activities at once. Nevertheless, a substantial number of classical studies courses appear to be restricted to a single period per week, either because of curricular philosophies or because of staffing resources in classics. In certain situations the classics specialist may feel justified in settling for even less: in one school the first year classical studies course in effect has one weekly lesson of one period for eight weeks as part of a rotating programme in humanities subjects. A major handicap of the smaller time allocation is of course that it restricts opportunities for developing a close personal relationship between class and teacher in a subject intended to promote discussion. For the planner, year III may present particular problems because of the stage of development reached by the pupils and because of its ambiguous position as both the conclusion of a more or less common programme in the first three years and

*cf Schools Council Working Paper 42: Education in the middle years (Evans/Methuen Educational, 1972) p 55.


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as the precursor of the more specialised programme of years IV and V.

Organisation of Latin below the sixth form

Notions which appear to have influenced the choice of age-group to which Latin is offered include:

(i) the 'common core' notion,
(ii) the notion that mixed ability teaching is most in tune with the aims of comprehensive education.
The logical consequence of (i) (short of either abandoning Latin or providing it for all, as one school does) is the postponement of Latin and other minority courses to the latest possible stage: thus in some comprehensive schools Latin begins in year IV (or year VI). On the other hand, a Latin course of two years' duration or less, especially if designed principally for paper qualifications, has questionable educational value: in normal school conditions it is unlikely to provide sufficient time either for a suitable linguistic or literary experience or for adequate discussion of ideas.

The introduction of Latin in year II, still the most common stage, involves confrontation with these two notions, seen by some to be corollaries of comprehensive secondary schooling. While many schools have always made an exception of very slow learners and pupils whose education has been adventitiously retarded, only recently has similar attention begun to be given to the special needs of other categories of children; the occasional withdrawal of a selected, ostensibly ablest, minority would appear to be closely parallel in principle with withdrawal for remedial purposes. Other factors which in some schools can favour the inclusion of Latin are the organisation of the curriculum in units wider than single subjects, and developments in organisational skills, including timetabling. Meanwhile, the tendency to offer Latin to a wider range of ability is beginning to erode the notion that Latin is a subject only for an elite.

One 10 form entry comprehensive school is experimentally providing the Cambridge Latin Course for all its year I pupils for three periods per week, taught in ten classes which are divided into two bands on the basis of general attainment, and then offering them a choice between Latin and Design in year II. A solution devised by another (6 form entry) comprehensive school is to make classics part of the common core for the first three years, when most of the teaching is in mixed-ability form groups, by providing classical studies for all in year I (actually for two of the three terms) and in years II and III setting the pupils so that for three periods per week the abler 90 are taught Latin, and the less able 90 continue the classical studies course. But each of these solutions reflects an exceptionally strong commitment to classics, and the second is likely to be feasible only in a school enjoying exceptional staffing resources.

Of the other possible methods of providing Latin in common core mixed ability patterns, probably the most usual is withdrawal, by which means Latin is provided for some pupils, perhaps as an alternative to German, and as an increment to the basic 'menu',


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by withdrawing them for part of the time allocated to other subjects. Another possibility is the blocking of, say, four periods per week across a whole year group to make time for alternative subjects, including Latin and possibly a second modern language, and classical or European studies, simultaneously with withdrawal for remedial work. This method could be employed, without detriment to the common core notion, to provide a useful differentiation of opportunities for a relatively small part of the week. Where the common core idea is considered paramount, Latin could be provided as a richer, more concentrated, form of a course provided for all, or for the majority, in European studies or classical studies. Each of these methods, and a combination of them, were found currently in operation in 11-18 comprehensive schools which provide four-year Latin courses, as follows:

(i) Withdrawal of pupils from 3-4 subjects for 1-2 periods a week, on the analogy of withdrawal for remedial purposes, eg: French 4 (+1*) English 4 (+1*) Music, Art, Crafts 4 (+2*) the periods marked * being available for Latin and German.
(ii) Blocking of two periods a week across the whole year group, or across part of the year group, for the nucleus of a Latin/German/classical studies/remedial work choice. Latin and German additionally receive one period each from English and French as in method 1. eg:
(iii) Blocking of four periods for Latin/German/European studies/remedial work across either the whole or part of the year group. (In this case the double lines marked on the diagram would surround four periods instead of two; a school could alternatively consider offering classical studies, or any other appropriate subject.)
Of these methods, the first is the most flexible and the third the least. In several respects the second might seem to offer the best solution:
- It involves, in the example, withdrawal from only those
Notes:

(a) The selection of subjects for withdrawal varies from school to school. English and French are frequently selected, and on the most obvious grounds. If the art/craft side is selected, some schools attempt to ensure that the Latinists (and Germanists) have all the art/craft subjects in the course of the year on a rotational basis.

(b) Surprisingly, teachers of French and English from whose classes withdrawals are made find that this arrangement has advantages as well as disadvantages for them. The fact that they have smaller groups excluding (generally) the most able linguists once a week gives them an opportunity for consolidation with the weaker pupils that is not needed by the abler.


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subjects closely related to pupil performance in Latin and German, unlike method (i).
- Unlike (iii) it gives a suitable time allocation for each subject - two periods for classical studies (which could be enough) and four periods for language (which is needed).
- Method (i) affects a large number of individual classes nut does not affect the year organisation as a whole. Solution (iii) takes a tenth of the week out of the overall organisational pattern.
Solution (ii) takes only a twentieth of the week out of the overall pattern and later affects only those subjects most closely related to Latin and German.
The costing in staff time of the various methods deserves some analysis. In theory Latin provided by withdrawal need not commit the school to more than four extra teacher periods per week (extra in the sense that they are additional to the cost of the programme already provided for the year group). It will be difficult to avoid increasing that cost if for any reason the year group has to be divided into equal populations for which parallel provision has to be made and if this results in a smaller teaching group. In method (ii), the formation of an additional group during one period each of English and French provided for the rest of the pupils may produce the only extra cost: the two periods per week required for the blocked time are not necessarily an extra if during these two periods the aggregate number of teaching groups in the year, apart from remedial classes, does not exceed six (in this instance: the number will of course depend on the size of the year group) and in theory, therefore, this method may cost only two extra periods per week. But the cost will of course be doubled in the 6 form entry school divided into two parallel populations as shown in the diagram. Whether such expenditure is to be judged economic will depend on the circumstances and purposes of the school, and on the numbers of pupils considered suitable for the Latin course. It is worth noting also that in this instance the provision for classical studies is made possible only if there is at least one other teacher able and willing to teach the subject at this level for four periods per week (eight periods per week if the same pattern is adopted in two year groups).

Whether a mixed ability, a banded, or a streamed pattern offers the most congenial framework for the organisation of Latin in the comprehensive school is a question which hardly permits a general answer. It may well be that schools which favour banding or streaming tend also to favour the division of the curriculum of the early years into separate subject disciplines, and that this approach tends to favour the early introduction of Latin. The feasibility of providing Latin as a form subject across a whole band depends, of course, on the size of the band and on the staffing resources of the school. When the school has a strong commitment to classics the advantage of this will be that it enables the school to provide Latin as a basic subject for a substantial proportion of the pupils for at least one or two years, after which it may be continued to O level or dropped in favour of a second modern language or a classical studies examination course or another subject. This method, however, though entail-

Notes:

(a) In the diagram the 6 form entry school is shown divided into two parallel populations because only one Latin teacher and one German teacher are available. This of course could be varied according to the availability of staff and the organisation of the school; another deciding factor might well be availability of French teachers.

(b) Only the two periods surrounded by double lines need to be organised other than in mixed ability groupings (the organisation of the rest depends on school policy).

(c) Only the four periods linked by the bracket need to be time-tabled simultaneously for the whole or part of a year group.

(d) In place of classical studies a school could consider providing European studies, or any other appropriate subject.

(e) The points about withdrawal made under method (i) apply equally to method (ii).


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ing no extra cost in overall staffing, is likely to be expensive in terms of classical teaching time; also, unless pupils are setted - which is unlikely without exceptional staffing resources - it can, and does, produce classes of a wide range of motivation and linguistic ability. It therefore demands experienced teachers operating a well-tried course and able to ensure that all pupils experience something of value to them in the year or two that may be all they spend on the subject. The length and timing of the Latin course depend partly on the intrinsic requirements of courses geared to externally imposed objectives, partly on the needs of the pupils for whom they are designed, and partly on the overall curriculum pattern of which Latin forms an element.

As to length, an O-Ievel Latin course below the sixth form is likely to require not less than three years, though this will depend to some extent on the overall amount of pupil time devoted to the Latin course and the frequency and distribution of Latin periods. It will depend also on whether it has been preceded by a classical studies course that attempts to prepare pupils for Latin as well as providing something educationally worthwhile in itself. The authors of the Teachers' Handbook for Unit 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course, discussing language competence and time allocations in general, write (Introduction, page 5): 'Two or three periods a week are not enough; four should be the minimum.' Nor is language competence the only competence which is at risk in a course run on less: any Latin course which aims to convey some lasting impression of the life-style of the Romans - and especially the Cambridge Latin Course, which includes paralinguistic material as an integral part of the learning process - will need a more frequent interaction of pupil, teacher and material if the learner is to absorb and apply concepts and skills. The same factors, combined with diagnosis of pupils' needs, should help to determine the length of the Latin course: pupils of little literary experience may well need more than three years to develop the skills required by the Cambridge course at O level. Whether three-year Latin courses are generally proving viable, and for what range of ability, is difficult to say; but in making decisions about the length of the course schools need to be aware of the risks involved in abbreviating both duration and time allocation, especially for a teaching group containing a wide range of ability, and of the difficulty, especially below year V, of making full use of Latin lessons time-tabled in double periods. The different types of pupils catered for, and their different objectives, also convey different implications for the Latin course. Those for whom Latin is an extension of the interest in the ancient world kindled in them during a classical studies foundation course, and who may not be particularly gifted linguistically, will require a course with more time to breathe, more opportunity to develop a feeling for the Roman milieu as well as for the language. It would be a pity for such pupils if enrolment in a Latin course should inevitably imply obligation to proceed to O level rather than to other examination or non-examination objectives. Those for whom Latin is primarily a linguistic tool to provide support at a later stage for their studies in modern languages or medieval history may be content with a shorter and narrower Latin course, though one hopes that no linguistic


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study will be so narrow as to focus attention exclusively upon the means of expression.

The view of Latin as an ingredient in an overall curricular pattern may suggest its postponement until the fourth year of the secondary school. While organisationally attractive this arrangement has little to commend it in so far as it makes Latin inaccessible to all but the ablest and most highly motivated - and gives even these only modest chances of reaching a satisfactory standard of achievement. The possibility of extending the course into the sixth form alleviates the pressure below the sixth at the cost of pre-empting part of the student's time in the lower sixth and of making the possibility of advanced work rather remote.

The relationship between Latin and German courses below the sixth form poses a number of problems. If the two subjects are competing for the same small number of pupils capable of profiting from the study of a second language the school may find it uneconomic to provide for both. Since the qualities of mind required for the study of either of these languages and many of the benefits to be derived from them are similar, it is far from easy for the school to advise or the pupil to decide which he should choose. Schools are increasingly reluctant to allow pupils to study three foreign languages, at least before the sixth form, and this may sharpen the dilemma. For the small proportion of pupils who can with pleasure and profit study three languages it is perhaps best to provide in Latin and German (or other modern language) both a four year course starting in year II and a two year course starting in year IV. Expensive in staffing though this is, it may prove the only form of organisation which gives adequate flexibility.

The school's methods of publicising and discussing opportunities with pupils and parents can have a profound influence on the take-up of courses and indeed on the school's readiness to provide them. Some schools try to ensure that parents and pupils are aware of the full range of courses offered by issuing a booklet with details of them and their relevance to particular needs and interests, and there are signs that schools are making more and more use of their pastoral organisations to provide systematic educational guidance of this kind. Methods of advising pupils vary considerably from school to school. From his first year in secondary school, if not before, the pupil will ideally have formed sufficient impression of the ancient civilisations to make a relatively informed choice, but this will not forewarn him of the fairly formidable difficulties involved in learning a classical language. In addition to a pupil's interest in a subject and its value as part of his educational experience (which will usually be the main basis of his choice) the school will also need to advise him on its vocational implications.

Classics courses in years IV and V

In the small number of schools where Greek is offered below the sixth form it occurs almost always in the fourth and fifth years, and the size of teaching groups is usually five or fewer. The reason for it being offered at all is the belief all the part of the school and its staff that they ought to cater for the needs of the gifted linguist with an interest in classics, despite the difficulties of organisation involved. The subject is often taught at least partly out of normal school hours


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and subsidised by the teacher's use of his own time. Accordingly it impinges very little upon the general organisation of the school, except to appear as one of the options available. Two of the schools in which the larger fourth and fifth form groups were to be found were in the process of evolving into sixth form colleges, and so will in future offer Greek, if at all, only at sixth form level.

Comparison of Tables 10 and 11 shows that examination courses in classical studies in years IV and V are on a small scale compared with those in Latin: the aggregate of numbers of candidates in classical studies at CSE and O levels is less than one quarter of the figure for Latin O level and CSE combined. Furthermore, the number taking CSE classical studies is only about one quarter of the number taking O-Ievel classical studies, and only just less than one in twenty of the number taking O-level Latin. Although a number of examples of Mode III CSE courses in classical studies are known to exist, none occurred in the schools covered by the survey.

The slow growth of classical studies in the 14-16 age group may be attributed partly to problems of examining and in particular of defining appropriate levels of performance. Besides, CSE examinations in classical studies have tended to cater more for the upper end of the ability range for which CSE is intended than the lower. This difficulty is only partly resolved by the availability of Mode III procedures. The statistics also probably reflect several problems of constructing a valid Mode III course (one of the few in the north-west was the result of successful collaboration among several schools), and the difficulty of striking a proper balance between written examinations and other forms of assessment.

Comprehensive reorganisation has exposed a wider and more finely differentiated range of interests and needs in classical subjects than was usually evident in previous systems. The following categories of pupils may be identified:

(i) Linguistically very able pupils for whom Latin or Latin with classical studies at O level is a reasonable target in year V;
(ii) Pupils whose interest in the ancient world is more general than linguistic or literary but who are capable of a CSE course in Latin, or in classical studies including a Latin element;
(iii) Pupils who have never been taught Latin, or have found it too difficult, but who are sufficiently interested in classical studies to take a non-linguistic course for CSE, or without an examination objective.
So far, few examples are known of classics teachers catering for pupils with different examination objectives simultaneously in one teaching group, though it may be expected that the introduction of a common system of examining would stimulate such a development, and in some instances schools may be compelled to accept this solution by a shortage of specialist teaching staff. If at this level, as the survey appears to show, the size of a teaching group in Latin is in most cases no more than 20 pupils (and often considerably fewer) it might not seem too formidable a task for the teacher to cater for more than one examination objective; but shortage of


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time will often accentuate the intrinsic difficulty of organising for both linguistic and non-linguistic elements within the classroom.

Schools vary considerably in the extent to which they differentiate educational goals and teaching provision in this age group. One school has a notable example of differentiated courses in year V, with four sets catering separately for Latin O, Latin CSE, classical studies CSE Mode I; and classical studies as an element in a CSE Mode III course entitled 'social history and geography'. Another school provides in year V Latin O for one group of 22, classical studies CSE (with no language component) for another group of three who had formerly studied Latin, and non-examination classical studies for a further group of 12 pupils, new to the subject. The fact that classics has both linguistic and non-linguistic elements makes possible a continuum of courses to match a wide range of abilities and aptitudes in this age group. In some schools more could be done to ensure that classical subjects are not penalised by appearing in too few option columns, or only as alternatives to subjects likely to be given a high priority rating by most pupils and parents. It is important that the curricular pattern does not encourage pupils to choose classical studies in the belief that it is a relatively soft option: it is especially difficult to achieve this if the subject is offered across the whole ability range. Again time-tabling arrangements implied by option patterns can impose important constraints on provision for Latin, eg by limiting the number of periods to four per week (in some schools it may need five, especially in the final year of the O course) or by providing only double lessons.

Classics in the sixth form

In aggregate, the diversity of classics courses provided in sixth form colleges and the sixth forms of comprehensive schools is remarkable:

- Latin to A and O levels, and as an element in general studies at A level;
- Greek to A and O levels (courses of two years or four terms);
- ancient history (or ancient history and literature) to A and O levels (courses of one year and two years);
- classical studies (under a variety of titles) to O level (courses of one year and two years) and for CSE; also, in one college, an experimental course for CEE.
Further national experiments in methods of examining, and new examination syllabuses (eg classical civilisation at A level, recently introduced by the Southern Universities Joint Board and shortly to be followed by at least two other Boards) may well add to this list. The popularity of non-linguistic classical courses is tending to grow, stimulated in some schools by the non-linguistic courses provided for younger age-groups and in others by the absence of previous opportunities to study classical subjects. Such diversity reflects not only the variety of provision in the 11-16 age range, but also the variety of students to be found in comprehensive sixth forms; it is matched by the increasingly diverse courses in classics provided by polytechnics and universities.

For both schools and sixth form colleges the very range of possibilities poses problems in establishing priorities in the use of scarce resources of teacher time. One of the problems in achieving a


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consistent curriculum policy at A level is the uncertainty of demand for Latin, and - even more so - for Greek. Of the twelve sixth and seventh year Greek teaching groups recorded in the survey, nine consisted of only a single pupil and three of two pupils. Only one school had pupils in both the sixth and seventh years taking Greek. It is perhaps significant that three of the schools visited during the survey, with greater than average commitment to classics, had gaps in Latin A-level provision in one or other of the two sixth form years. In each case the school had also introduced non-linguistic studies, especially ancient history, at A level. However, it is difficult to envisage many schools with less than an 8 form entry having sufficient staffing resources to offer much diversity in classics courses in the sixth form unless they receive help from other schools or accept economies in the staffing of teaching groups; these difficulties seem no less acute in sixth form colleges than in schools catering for a wider age range.

Several examples of economical time-tabling were seen in the school visits, but mainly in non-linguistic work; it seems uncommon, except in Wales, to find pupils in lower and upper sixth being taught together during some part of their work for Latin A level. More experiments of this kind might be made.

While little is known of local experiments in sharing sixth form provision it may be that occasionally sixth form teachers could collaborate in mounting either A-level or non-examination courses, not merely as an economy in scarce resources of teacher-time but to allow a greater degree of diversification than is otherwise possible and ensure continuity of provision.

Organisation of resources

If the overall impression of the availability and accessibility of resources is encouraging, nevertheless in many schools teachers are having to live with shortages and frustrations. Some of these unavoidably impair the effectiveness of their work; for example, where audio and visual apparatus is available, inaccessibility or inconvenience can deter the teacher, or prevent him from making the most effective use of these aids. In classical studies, the inadequacy of facilities for storage and display, or for practical activities, can severely limit the range of work, especially with younger pupils in classes of around thirty. A teaching base can help the morale of both teachers and pupils.

It is not easy to define precisely what is meant by a 'specialist' room. Ideally for work in classical studies this should be relatively large, have a sink, work tables, display facilities both on and away from walls, good storage, blackout and projection facilities, and a means of using a tape-recorder or record player with good sound reproduction. But the concentration of classics teaching in one or two rooms with at any rate some of these facilities makes a satisfactory compromise. Where printed materials and other resources are in short supply and have to be available simultaneously to large numbers of children, it is obviously an advantage to have classes time-tabled in adjacent rooms or in some open-planned area.

Success in achieving adequate supplies of teaching materials depends on a variety of factors, some of which lie outside the teacher's control. Some classics departments are supported by


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resource centres providing excellent reprographic facilities which can greatly improve the range and quality of materials used in individual and group work; some find it worthwhile to produce their own copies of the worksheets which form part of the Cambridge School Classics Project foundation course material, using masters supplied by the publishers. It is increasingly important, too, for schools to be able to produce their own tape or cassette recordings of radio broadcasts and other material where this can be done without infringing copyright regulations. In one school, for example, these facilities and the services of a full-time technician are available to the classics department as one of the major users of the humanities area; in another, cassette recordings of lesson material prepared by the teacher are used by pupils in private study as reinforcement for the four-term Greek course to O level in the sixth form. To meet the growing needs of inter-staff communication and pupils' individualised learning, the storage, indexing and retrieval of materials, including books, are developing an increased importance and sophistication. The balance between departmental and centralised resources, whether of book or other materials, can be determined only in the light of local circumstances by the head of department.

The evidence that often a substantial proportion of first year pupils are following increasingly diverse programmes of classical studies implies for some schools an ever-increasing strain on financial resources. When the introduction of a new course is proposed, it is important that all the possibilities of receiving extraordinary allocations from school or LEA funds should be explored in good time; some LEAs keep contingency funds for curriculum development, and this practice also seems to be an increasing feature of management inside the schools. Many museums are making great efforts to make their resources available to schools, and their education officers are anxious to collaborate with teachers in planning school visits.

Often the problems lie not so much in finance and facilities as in devising new syllabuses and materials. In these circumstances the small classics department may be handicapped in finding the necessary time and variety of talents, and local teachers' groups may be able to share in tasks of this kind.

Organisation of staff

The bulk of the classics teaching even in a large school may be effectively in the hands of one teacher with some assistance from non-specialist colleagues. In these circumstances, where the success or failure of the Department depends on the personal qualities of a single individual, it is no accident that good classics departments in comprehensive schools are often the product of one unusually able teacher. Changes of staff can be quite crucial, and such changes are the more likely among the most able teachers because there are few prospects of advancement within the classroom for classics teachers, and many consequently undertake pastoral or administrative responsibilities. One must add to this the very considerable strains of running a one-man department in a large school. In spite of the growth of local groups of classics teachers, partly at least serving a similar function to that of departmental meetings in larger departments within schools, an individual in the


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staff room can feel exposed and isolated. This can affect both morale and, over a period of time, standards of scholarship.

The contribution of the single specialist can also be severely restricted by the nature of his appointment. The part-time teacher especially can be at a disadvantage, lacking the time and standing to engage in innovation and staff-room discussion. Not infrequently the classics specialist has a second subject, or an administrative function, which absorbs much of his energy or which, by its nature, inhibits promotion of his own subject, especially during the crucial period of reorganisation; uncertainties and changes of staffing can delay decisions which might embarrass a successor. The growing range of specialist skills within the subject carries implications for the training, recruitment and professional development of classics teachers, who may be called upon to provide simultaneously an exceptionally wide range of more or less innovatory courses while being expected to maintain standards of personal scholarship in more traditional disciplines. It is important for a specialist to have the stimulus of some teaching which makes full demands on his knowledge: in some schools this may be possible in the general studies programme. It is equally necessary, though sometimes more difficult, to ensure that the stimulus exists within his teaching programme for him to maintain and even improve his facility and understanding in the classical languages.

Regular departmental meetings of those concerned with the teaching of classics, one or two of whom may be contributing only a few periods per week, become at once more difficult and more necessary. There is a danger of division between Latin and nonlinguistic courses, which could be accentuated by the tendency to employ non-specialist teachers for classical studies; the range of skills and resources required for various types of course demands a sharing of information, ideas and problems among the members of a team if they are to work effectively. Classics departments adopt various devices to meet such needs, including the preparation of detailed syllabuses.

Classics teachers are often members of faculties of humanities or of language. The effects of such an organisation on classics teaching are not sufficiently known: the degree of autonomy and influence enjoyed by the classics specialist seems to vary, depending more on experience and professional standing than on formally recognised status. It appears that inclusion in a faculty of language, for example, does not necessarily inhibit the work of the classics specialist if he knows his own mind and has the experience and skill to represent his subject; such an organisation can facilitate collaboration between classics and other subjects within the faculty. The danger is that it may equally discourage dialogue with subject specialists outside the faculty: this problem may affect classics more acutely than most subjects, since Latin may have its strongest links with modern languages teaching, classical studies with the humanities or some practical subjects. To allocate these two branches of classics to different faculties does not solve the problem, and may accentuate it. Whatever the organisation for the development of classical studies (especially in years I and II, where several subjects may share very similar objectives) discussion needs to be more open, and collabora-


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tion more detailed, between teachers of classics and other disciplines than has often been the practice in the past.

With the diversification of classics courses comes a growing need to acquaint parents, pupils, and colleagues in other departments with their nature and purpose. For many, Latin presents an image of outmoded scholarship and values, and changes in emphasis and objectives need to be explained. Some schools find it worth while to issue a handbook including printed descriptions of the courses offered to various levels; one runs a 'humanities fair'; at another, the head of department has on occasions invited all first year pupils even remotely interested in Latin to come and observe the second year pupils in action during the summer term, conveniently throwing back the partition that usually divides the classics room from another classroom.

Professional contacts with other schools are a growing feature of the teacher's job in a comprehensive school. For properly informed planning of classical studies courses in years I and II, it is desirable that the classics teacher should know something of the content and methods of teaching in contributory primary schools. Where transfer is at 13 or 14, decisions about the pupil's allocation to teaching groups in the first year at upper school may have to be made in the year prior to transfer through collaboration between upper and middle schools, and the classics specialist can have an important part to play in the process of guidance. In the course of such contacts he may well find himself discussing the range of opportunities and preparation for his subject provided by other schools, a topic requiring diplomacy if the teacher is to avoid infringements of professional etiquette which could discredit his subject. In curriculum development, too, there is an increasing need for classics specialists from different schools to work together in the production of new programmes and materials.




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5 Curriculum - description and evaluation


General

In the previous chapters we have looked at the amount of classical teaching to be found in different types of comprehensive schools and under different conditions, and we have described and discussed problems of staffing, resources and internal organisation. All these affect the nature and quality of the work in the classroom, which is the subject of this chapter, based mainly on the work seen in the course of the survey in a limited number of schools where there was a substantial amount of classics teaching. These are not typical of comprehensive schools in general nor do they exemplify every aspect of classical teaching. They do however illustrate a number of important developments in classics teaching and a number of sincere and often successful attempts to solve the problems of presenting the essential values of classics within a new educational environment.

The main constraints, which affect language courses much more than classical studies courses, are:

- time - the need to compress the course into a much shorter space than was once allowed, or indeed is still generally allowed in other types of school;
- the ability of pupils - the presence in Latin and Greek sets of pupils who would formerly have been excluded on grounds of ability, alongside pupils of considerable linguistic competence (and the presence of pupils of a full range of ability in classical studies groups);
- the voluntary principle - the move away from Latin as a core subject, to it being one which is normal for the abler pupils but which they can choose to drop, and subsequently to one which the pupil takes up only by deliberate choice;
- staff - the lack in some schools of teachers with good qualifications in the subject, except perhaps on a part-time or shared basis, and the vulnerability of most classical departments, because of their small size, to the effects of teacher instability.
There are few comprehensive schools where none of these constraints applies and in many they are all present.

Classical teaching is also affected by the concept of education as taking place primarily through the subjects taught rather than in them. This concept (reflected in many comprehensive schools by the presence of such organisational features as directors of studies, faculties, and curriculum committees) places the main emphasis on the total effect of the curriculum upon the pupil, and different subjects are regarded as making varied contributions towards that total effect. It is recognised that there are many aspects of a pupil's development which no one subject can adequately provide for but to which a range of subjects must contribute. The degree of importance awarded to each subject depends on the extent of the contribu-


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tion it is believed to make. The contrasting approach lays greater stress upon the internal discipline of the individual subject and the need to build up a framework of skills and concepts necessary to pass on to successive stages in it. The subject teacher is aware that his subject has general educational value and may be making specific contributions to the pupil's progress in other parts of the curriculum, but he regards these as incidental to his central objectives, though not unimportant. The ideal of the former approach is balanced educational development; of the latter, scholarship. The two are not mutually exclusive, but the nature of the subject courses is likely to be influenced by the weight given to one or the other, and a subject's very presence in the curriculum may depend upon the extent to which its role within the overall curricular objectives defined by the school can be demonstrated. The tension between the two approaches is likely to be felt most in such subjects as classical and other languages where the development of highly specific skills needed as the basis of further progress within the subject may not appear in the short term to make much obvious contribution towards the general educational objectives that have been defined.

Classical studies in years I, II and III

Classical studies can now be found in the early years of sufficient comprehensive schools for it to be necessary to remind ourselves from time to time that of all the forms of classical teaching this is easily the youngest, with barely a decade's growth behind it. During the late sixties the enthusiasm for foundation courses, as they came to be called, was infectious. In particular the universal appeal to the pre-adolescent of many of the myths and legends of Greece so apparent to Kingsley and others a century or more ago was rediscovered at a time when classics badly needed to enlarge its scope across the extended range of ability in the 'new' comprehensive schools. To purvey this wider interest and appeal the classics teacher has had to attempt to acquire a range of skills and techniques not previously demanded of him when teaching classical languages to children of (usually) high verbal ability. Most difficult of all, he has had to widen the aims of his teaching to include the cognitive, aesthetic, and even social development of his younger pupils and to make far-reaching adjustments to a scale of values which traditionally had elevated intellectual rigour and exact scholarship above all others. In this situation some teachers have discovered in themselves surprising versatility and an unsuspected range of skills and resources. Others, less versatile in their own right, have enrolled the specialised skills of co-operative colleagues and found their solution in a team approach. Still more, less confident in their own abilities as innovators, have sought encouragement and support in the classical studies materials prepared by the Cambridge Schools Classics Project and in the handbook of suggestions for teachers which accompanies them.

Inevitably the enthusiastic response of some teachers to new demands has caused them to be over-ambitious. Sometimes the search for a changed or modified role for classics has resulted in an obscurity of aims and uncertainty about objectives in planning courses. Not all teachers have been able to adjust easily to working with a wider range of ability, and expectations have often been


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pitched either too high or too low (the latter, perhaps surprisingly, more frequently than the former). As experience grows, the initial wave of enthusiasm is now beginning to give way to a phase of more critical evaluation of content, methods, standards and achievements and more careful definition of aims and objectives, and it is as a contribution to this process that the following observations are offered.

The basic aim of classical studies is to introduce pupils to particular aspects of the civilisations of Greece and Rome without teaching the classical languages. The process serves as a contribution to a general education and (where circumstances permit) as a foundation for more sophisticated classical studies which may include study of a classical language. The specific objectives quite properly vary from school to school, but all courses aim at the cultivation of some understanding of our cultural ancestry, its more significant ideas and values, and our relationship to it; and the stimulus of creative expression in a variety of media, through contact with material of distinctive character and quality.

In addition, many classics teachers evidently believe that classical studies should help to equip the pupil to understand English literature, or that it can make an important contribution to the skills of verbal communication, especially in imaginative writing. Some see a special educational value in providing contact with some of the artistic movements of the ancient world; others try, through classical studies, to introduce the pupil to the problem of establishing a reliable picture of the remote past from its literary and archaeological remains. The validity of such a concept of classical studies depends on personal values, on general diagnosis of the functions of education in this age group, and on the intellectual and cultural needs of particular groups of pupils. Heads who have introduced or maintained classical studies in their schools vary in their general understanding of the rationale of the subject; some view classical studies as in itself a valuable way of preserving cultural continuity in a comprehensive system, others see in classical studies an opportunity to inject into the curriculum an element which will far outreach the horizons of the pupils' limited environment.

In those schools where classical studies forms part of a humanities course the total time allocation, which may be as much as six periods a week, allows for a fairly spacious approach with opportunities for a range of activities on the part of the pupils. History and religious education, and sometimes also geography, are to be found linked with classics. The syllabus is often broadly chronological. In one school, where geography features in the consortium, the syllabus starts with the Book of Genesis and works through early civilisations to Roman Britain with a degree of prominence given to classical history and mythology. In another, where the link is with religious education and history, the transition from myth to legend and thus to history provides a parallel framework to the purely chronological. In a third the partnership is between the classical and the social and religious education departments, and the topics covered include the Creation, evolution, myth, pre-history, primitive settlements, ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and also some reference to modern primitive communities.


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In the team approach, teachers specialising in each of the subjects contributing to the joint course usually each cover all aspects of the course and so for much of the time they are operating beyond their own specialism, though at a fairly modest level. There is clear evidence that this creates difficulties, especially for the less experienced teacher, who may find himself dealing with unfamiliar subject matter or using unfamiliar methods of working within an unfamiliar classroom organisation. Some teams have tackled training implications of this seriously - one, for example, recognising the need for pupils to draw, paint and model within the course, has gained the co-operation of the art department in providing art classes for its members. This is a practice which one would like to see more widely adopted to serve the varied needs of teachers involved in this type of course. The very real advantage of continuity of contact between teachers and class has to be balanced against the disadvantage that generally it is the teacher who really knows his subject who can best communicate his excitement to his pupils.

Another form of team-work enables teachers to work within their own specialisms under the general direction of the classics master who acts as team-leader. In one school for several years a team of specialists in classics, history, drama, art and remedial education - and from time to time also music - has worked together in this way on a first year course. The whole year group meets for the presentation of a piece of classical material (often a myth or legend) by a member of the classics department, and then disperses into groups led by the specialist teachers to develop the ideas thus presented through art, drama, further reading and enquiry, or to use them as the material for developing basic skills in reading and writing. Pupils are exposed to a number of these activities in the course of the year. Integrated courses such as this, depending as they do upon carefully co-ordinated team-work, are particularly vulnerable to changes in staff personnel, and forward planning to counteract these risks is advisable. Carefully considered statements of aims and objectives, helpfully detailed schemes of work and comprehensive cataloguing of resources can all ease a newcomer into his place in the team and mitigate the loss experienced when a key member leaves it.

Where classical studies is not combined with other subjects, it may be part of the history course and taught by the history staff. In this case, Roman Britain will often be a prominent feature of the classical component of the course. However justified such prominence may be for its value in introducing the pupil to an important stage in the development of his own country, he should nevertheless be led to realise that even a detailed knowledge of Roman Britain, which was a small and remote part of the Roman Empire, falls very short of any real understanding of the Roman world as a whole.

Where the course is in the hands of the classics staff, a more literary approach is often followed; the subject matter, especially in the first year, tends to be drawn from Greece and in particular from Greek myth and legend, often related to archaeology and prehistory as in the Cretan myths and the Homeric epics. What has come to be referred to as the 'story-centred approach' dominates this work. It is this approach which has been fostered by the ideas and teaching materials developed by the Cambridge Schools Classics


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Project. A number of schools may be said to be using this approach, but their programmes, teaching methods and resources vary considerably, both in their degree of emphasis on historical topics or imaginative activities, and in their choice of teaching materials. A story is read or (often) told to the pupils and used to stimulate a range of activities including imaginative work in art, drama and writing, and individual or group enquiry, sometimes based on work cards and involving reference to books and other course material. In some instances the quantity and quality of both individual and group work are impressive. For example, a first year class in a lower band had been given some introduction to Crete, at first by story and subsequently with archaeological information, some of it from postcards of high quality; subsequently some of the pupils made copies of objets d'art or architecture with pencil and felt tip pens, some crayoned a mural of the Tauromachia with the outline presented by the slide projector, others wrote on aspects of the story of Daedalus, all showing an obvious pride in their work. The approach has proved effective in a variety of organisational settings including mixed-ability groups, banded groups containing a relatively wide spread of intellectual ability and cultural experience, and remedial groups.

The story-centred approach is to be commended

(i) for its attempt, often successful, to use material appropriate to the pupil's level of experience and sophistication: the myths, which naturally incorporate unrealistic elements recognisable as such by the children, are frequently fascinating and challenging for pupils in this age group;
(ii) for the flexibility it provides: this is important in teaching groups which are likely to have a wide spread of literacy and intellectual ability (and useful especially when pupils are fresh from primary schools), and there can be some adjustment of rational and imaginative content;
(iii) for the range of activities made possible, depending upon accommodation and resources.
All these features help to justify the place of classical studies of this kind in the programme of the early years of the secondary school. Where stimulus and children's interests and response are considered central there is much to be said for the incorporation into the curriculum of such a rich source of ideas and questions, especially when the material belongs to an especially formative period in our own culture.

In the second year there tends to be a swing away from the literary towards a more historical approach, involving the handling and interpretation of evidence and, at the same time, a move from Greece to Rome. New material, produced by the Cambridge School Classics Project team, which is now being tried out in a number of schools, includes games based on the use of epigraphic material, and critical appraisal of original source material for its value as evidence. There is as yet much less experience of this sort of work in comprehensive schools.


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The essential objectives of classical studies courses, and particularly the relative importance of their cognitive and affective ingredients are not always clearly defined, and consequently criteria are lacking on which assessment can be made and progression ensured. As is the case with so much relatively unstructured work of this kind, real difficulty is found in ensuring that the activities have a wide enough range fully to engage the energies of the most able as well as to be within the grasp of the least able. Distinction is not always made between those themes which serve mainly as catalysts for imaginative work and those for the study of which precise understanding and a regard for authenticity are paramount. In both pictorial and written work it needs to be made clear when imaginative anachronisms are permissible and when they are merely misleading. Without specialist knowledge the classics teacher may also find it difficult to assess creative work in drama, art and writing and may accordingly be satisfied with standards that compare poorly with those expected of the same children in the specialist context of these areas of work. Some examples of effective and successful work with remedial groups have been observed, but where classical studies is taught to such groups by someone other than the remedial teacher it is important for the teachers to work in close collaboration. Sometimes work produced by pupils (eg imaginary interviews with gods, articles for classical newspapers) is subject to the danger of triviality, and the sense of wonder sometimes seems to be lost too early. In selecting from the vast range of material available, the interest that different topics are likely to arouse in the children is perhaps too readily accepted as the main criterion. Less universally applied is the test of significance, a term which is not easy to define but which encompasses both those myths and legends which are linked with the universal springs of human behaviour and those events in history that have decisively influenced posterity for good or ill.

The main values of classical studies in the earlier years of the secondary school are first that they stimulate the interest and the imagination of the pupils through contact with material of acknowledged excellence, resulting in an impressive output of original work by pupils in a variety of media; second, that they contribute to the pupils' understanding of important ideas about man and his relationships, which the secondary school tries to introduce in a more systematic way than is appropriate at the primacy stage. There is no doubt of the impact that well-chosen and well-presented classical material often has upon the children; their pleasure is evident and they often show a remarkable grasp both of the details of stories that they have heard and of the issues which they raise in the field of human conduct. Members of other subject departments, especially English and history, sometimes speak appreciatively of the side-effects of such courses on their own work. An encouraging number of the pupils in some schools are asking for the opportunity to learn the languages of the peoples they have been studying.

All this represents a reaction - perhaps even an over-reaction - to the image of classics as being solely concerned with precision, accuracy and instant recall of material learned by heart. It is true that some pupils, especially the able or more mature pupils, are


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being encouraged to think for themselves and to derive their own information from accurate observation of evidence, commonly presented in visual form. However, since the major emphasis of most classical studies courses at this stage is on the affective side, there is a danger that they could consist of no more than a series of unconnected experiences, which, though admirable in themselves, fail to add up to either a coherent body of knowledge or a coherent set of skills and attitudes.

At what for many classics teachers is a highly experimental stage in curriculum development it is natural that objectives should be tentative, and it is perhaps salutary if the teacher can feel free to develop work according to his own diagnosis and talents. However, as classical studies courses become better established in the early years, they need to be more securely based in the educational objectives and long-term goals of the school as a whole, and subjected to a rigorous analysis that might give them clearer direction without taking away the spontaneity which is at present one of their greatest assets.

Classical studies in years IV, V, VI and VII

There appear to be very few non-examination classical studies courses devised for this age group. In the one or two examples seen during the survey, the effectiveness of the course, with pupils of very modest ability and poor motivation, depended far more on the personal qualities of the teacher and his or her relationship with the pupils, than on the intrinsic value of the material or its mode of presentation.

The greater part of examination work at this level seen was in preparation for the Certificate of Secondary Education, generally following a Mode III syllabus. The Ordinary level syllabuses in classical literature in translation (described by a variety of titles) are occasionally followed in the fourth and fifth forms, but seem to be more common in the sixth form as part of a minority programme, where they often appear to be both popular and effective.

The two main elements in CSE Mode III courses are classical literature in translation, and topics of social history, both of these often, though not always, covering both Greece and Rome. Topics include drama and the theatre; home life (including houses, the household and its members); occupations, sports and pastimes; education, religion and mythology; science, politics, art and architecture; and the army, as well as the study of short periods of history, and in particular of Roman Britain. At this stage there is a tendency to focus attention more on the amassing of information for its own sake and less on the means of acquiring the information, and on using it as the raw material for further thought. There are however also good examples of pupils of quite modest ability being encouraged to find out, systematise and interpret facts for themselves and to present their findings in their own way, with some help from individual work cards.

The teaching of classical literature in translation presents a number of problems. The fundamental problem is that of presenting to young people, often of modest ability, a highly sophisticated literature translated for an adult audience. Since in general much Roman literature is designed for a narrower and more sophisticated


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audience than Greek literature, pupils seem to find it difficult. Homer and the Greek tragedians, on the other hand, appear to be among the more accessible of ancient authors. Even so, there is a danger that they are seen through a distorting glass, both because they are read in translation, and because it is difficult for teachers to avoid over-simplifying (and thus adding a further element of distortion) when attempting to convey, for example, the whole concept of Greek tragedy, its place in the Athenian world of the fifth century and the ideas and assumptions of the playwright and his original audience. Simplification there must be, but it is difficult to simplify without loss of authenticity. Some of the literature chosen presents the additional problem of depending for its understanding on a fairly full knowledge of the history of the period, and there is rarely time to do justice to this.

Despite these difficulties, some good work is being done and pupils are being introduced, however imperfectly, to a world of ideas which would otherwise be quite outside their experience.

In a number of schools, classical studies courses in a variety of forms are finding a place in the so-called 'minority' time of the sixth former. Reference has already been made to the O (or AO) courses in classical literature in translation, not infrequently taken by pupils who are studying English literature as one of their advanced level subjects. The level of enjoyment and involvement by pupils in these courses is often very high, and the quality of discussion which arises from the reading is sometimes impressive.

Classics may also contribute to a programme of non-examination general studies. Greek art and architecture is a particularly popular subject, and examples were also found of courses in Greek tragedy, Greek science, and other topics which reflect the particular interest of the staff concerned. These are sometimes modules of one term's length with a time allocation of from two to four periods a week.

At advanced level there is considerable interest in the syllabuses that have recently been developed in classical civilisation by a number of examining boards, but no such course was available at the time of the survey. Groups of pupils studying ancient history tend to be somewhat larger than those taking Latin, and the subject (like classical civilisation) has the advantage, particularly valuable in the sixth form college, that it is not directly dependent upon a foundation laid below the sixth form.

There are, however, problems of presentation, particularly at the present time. Latterly, ancient history has moved away from a position generally subordinated to the study of Greek and Latin and based mainly on the study of textbook material, covering a wide time span in comparatively little depth. As a result of changes of emphasis in recent years teachers have broadened the span of study beyond the political and military aspects which once dominated, to include potentially all other aspects of the classical cultures; they have reaffirmed the need to go back to primary sources (if need be in translation) and in particular to the literature of the periods being studied, and consequently have tended to focus on a narrower time span. The pedagogic implications of these changes are considerable, and it is all too easy to move from excessive dependence upon the textbook to a position where the pupil is plunged pre-


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maturely into a morass of conflicting evidence, which needs to be interpreted and evaluated, before he is properly equipped with the frame of reference necessary for this sophisticated task. The teaching together of two year groups, although beneficial to the pupils in some ways, makes the task the more difficult. Both extremes are to be seen in comprehensive school sixth forms, as well as synthesis of the two approaches adapted to the maturity and understanding of the pupil.

Latin to ordinary level and CSE

The majority of comprehensive schools seem to have adopted one or other of the recent reading-based courses, most often that developed by the Cambridge School Classics Project, as being most suitable for use within the constraints mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, and especially those of time and of the ability range of pupils.

Far less commonly used in England, though very widely used in Scotland where it was developed at about the same time by a group of teachers and others, is Ecce Romani. Both courses are notable for the precision of their objectives, which differ from traditional courses in focusing attention almost exclusively on the comprehension of Latin writing in the context of Roman culture. It so happened that all the schools chosen for intensive visits in connection with the survey were using the Cambridge course, and this section is concerned mainly with their experience.

One 11-18 school visited is giving Latin to all its pupils in the first year, on the grounds that 'there is so little new work which offers a challenge to pupils who enter the secondary school that their promotion is proving an anti-climax with resultant boredom and disciplinary problems'. Latin (it is maintained) provides an entirely new challenge which is also valuable in its own right as well as for its contribution to the pupils' all round language development. The C.S.C.P. material used here, at a slower pace in the lower band than the upper, seems to be proving accessible to pupils over the whole range of ability.

Most schools however start their Latin courses in the second or third year with only a proportion of pupils. A variety of methods and approaches is applied, often very successfully, to maintain interest - no easy task when there is a wide range of ability present, and when on occasion the teacher has to consider how to use a double period to the best advantage. Work is carried out by pupils as a class, in groups or pairs, or individually. Translation is usually preceded by reading of the Latin by teacher and pupils and by the use of leading questions to aid comprehension. The reading itself is in passages of a page or more at a time, or a paragraph or a sentence or even less, the most experienced teachers varying the length and thus the pace frequently. In some cases the 'pattern sentences' which are a feature of this type of course are very thoroughly drilled. The use of tapes and slides, especially of the former, tends to be less common, but a recording of one of the scenes is sometimes used to good effect either as the introduction to a new passage or after its meaning has first been elicited. Similarly two or three slides occasionally make a visual point to consolidate what has previously been treated verbally. Classroom drama is not an easy medium for the teacher to use,


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but it is sometimes effective with dialogue either in Latin or in English. The subject matter of the Latin passage, or the paralinguistic material attached gives rise to class discussion, particularly when Roman and modern parallels occur.

All these, at their best, give a sense of pace and progress, and pupils (especially in the first and second years of their Latin course) often show genuine enjoyment, which is enhanced by their interest in the story and its characters, by their sense of achievement in mastering comprehension of simple Latin with relative ease, and by the immediacy of contact with the Roman world of the first century AD which they feel they are getting.

There are however problems which tend to become more severe in the latter part of the course. Even in the first year of Latin it is clear that many teachers find difficulty in meeting the varied needs of pupils within their teaching groups; able pupils are too often marking time while there may well be pupils (especially immigrants) whose grasp of English is itself far from sound. The solution usually adopted is a rather modest target for the end of the first or second year of the course, which leaves far too much work to be done later. The ease of progress in the early stages sometimes tempts teachers to give too little attention to consolidation, particularly of accidence, and this often causes a feeling of insecurity in pupils in the fourth and fifth forms. Both teachers and pupils sometimes seem content with an unacceptable degree of imprecision in the comprehension of Latin texts, and some pupils find the more literary aspects of the course very demanding, especially if shortage of time has unduly restricted their reading in the later stages of the course material. It is not surprising that teachers often need some time to adjust to the course themselves, especially where it is timed over three years, or over four years with a slender time-allocation. At the end of three or four years the O-Ievel results (despite the generally high level of ability of the pupils who are entered and the hard work and often high level of teaching expertise which they have enjoyed) are often disappointingly low. This fact is at any rate partially accounted for by two related circumstances: selective schools, which supply the majority of candidates for O-level Latin examinations, generally offer their pupils more favourable circumstances for learning the language, particularly as to the amount of time available, and there is considerable evidence (much of it regrettably unpublished) to support the view that the 'severity index' of Latin is much higher than that of most other O-Ievel subjects - in other words that it is much harder to get a pass in Latin. The deterrent effect of these two circumstances almost certainly contributes to the small numbers at present taking Latin in the fourth and fifth years of comprehensive schools. To provide a more realistic examination objective for some of their pupils, a number of schools have devised Mode III CSE syllabuses which enable them to teach both O-level and CSE candidates together for at any rate most of the time. The experiment with a common examination in Latin has shown the value of flexibility, but Latin and non-linguistic courses and syllabuses have not at this stage been developed sufficiently to allow teachers to cater adequately for the full range of ability intended for the ordinary level and CSE examinations.


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Latin in the sixth form

In many of the schools visited teachers were facing for the first time the problem of building satisfactory programmes of A-level work upon the new type of course used up to O level. They were finding that pupils were meeting a different set of difficulties from those which they had successfully coped with in the past and that while in some respects they were arriving in the sixth form better equipped than their predecessors, in others they had a great deal of ground to catch up.

Most teachers seemed to feel that the problems, though unfamiliar, are not insoluble, and that they are likely to diminish, both with greater experience on their part and as a result of some changes of emphasis in the lower school course.

The major difficulty is undoubtedly the lack of a secure knowledge of grammar which pupils themselves in many cases are aware of. Some schools are finding that a formal grammar book at this stage offers a satisfactory framework for the consolidation of accidence. For teaching syntax a variety of methods is being attempted. One school is taking advantage of the greater maturity of the pupils in the sixth form to show syntax not as a static conception but as something which is constantly developing and changing throughout Latin literature. The work here closely follows the spirit of the lower school course; it retains the inductive approach and is based firmly on the pupils' reading. Another makes use of a course book designed for younger children and takes the pupils through it at a brisk pace; the danger of such a method is the undermining of the pupils' self-confidence by implying that they need 'to go back to the beginning'. Whatever the method, some such reinforcement is needed, and the form it takes may depend partly upon the school's decision whether or not to introduce prose composition at this stage. If prose composition is introduced it will certainly be necessary to give practice in handling constructions through translation into Latin. Otherwise it may well be better to study them mainly through examples met and collected in the course of reading. The availability of 'alternatives' to prose composition in the A-level syllabuses leaves the choice to the schools.

A related issue is that of introducing the pupil to the technique of sentence analysis, which is an essential tool if he is to master some of the more complex passages of writing that he will meet. In one school it seemed that the advantages of facility in comprehension that pupils had already achieved were being too readily discarded, to be replaced by the painstaking analysis of every sentence. In another the need to provide the tool appeared not to have been fully recognised. The material for learning to apply a new technique needs to be well-graded initially and this was not always the case. Once mastered, it needs to be seen in its proper perspective as one of the tools to which the pupil may have recourse when reading Latin. It very quickly comes into its own when pupils are introduced to unfamiliar authors, especially those whose style is more periodic than that which they have previously encountered.

The introduction to conventional editions of Roman authors does not seem to cause very much difficulty, though it now becomes necessary to familiarise the pupils with conventional grammatical terminology, if that has not been done previously.


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The very small teaching groups, often consisting of only one or two pupils, create less than ideal conditions for the sixth formers, who lack the stimulus that comes from the expression of different attitudes and points of view by their contemporaries. Discussion under these circumstances is difficult and the work tends to be too teacher centred. The practice of combining first and second years has much to commend it, when only one or two pupils are concerned, but it also creates some additional constraints. It is certainly desirable for the two year groups to be taught separately for part of the week. An element of uncertainty is injected into the sixth form programme by the fact that from year to year there is no assurance that there will actually be any pupil taking Latin.

No doubt all these considerations contribute to the somewhat modest level of attainment generally observed.

Greek

Where Greek appears in the curriculum of comprehensive schools, it tends to be introduced in the sixth form, where, under favourable conditions, able pupils can achieve satisfactory performances at A level after two years' work. Attendance at the annual Greek summer school, organised by the Joint Association of Classics Teachers, can make a valuable contribution to such accelerated courses.

In one of the schools visited, however, Greek has supplanted Latin as the main classical language. In the absence of any existing course book suitable for pupils for whom Greek is their first experience of an inflected language, the classics teacher at the school has devised his own course, which is now being used in a number of other schools. The two main objectives are facility in reading and an understanding of at any rate some aspects of Greek culture. Pupils are enthusiastic about things Greek, and know a good deal about Greek society. They are also very willing to speak Greek aloud and to cope with the admittedly easy level of Greek reading put before them. There is no doubt that in the circumstances of this school and with this teacher the experiment is proving a success. In view of the precarious position of Greek generally in comprehensive schools, the possibility of making Greek the first classical language or (less drastically) of offering Greek and Latin in alternate years deserves consideration, where the necessary teaching skills are present.

Conclusion

Classics teaching has moved a long way from the time when classics courses were geared to the task of training potential scholars. Much remains to be done. The rationale of classical studies courses needs to be developed and clarified. The new type of Latin course must be shown to provide a basis for the training of the future scholar as well as offering a nourishing ingredient to the diet of the non-scholar. Ways of making Greek more generally available must be explored, through the development of new styles of course. Furthermore, all this needs to be done in such a way that essential standards are maintained and in fact strengthened. Nevertheless the experience recorded in this chapter suggests that, whatever organisational problems restrict the availability of classics in comprehensive schools, many of the educational problems have been solved or are on the


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way to solution. In a number of comprehensive schools classics is making a substantial contribution to the general education of a majority of pupils, in addition to fulfilling, though in new ways and for a wider clientele than in the past, its more traditional role of offering a more demanding educational experience to the more able.






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Appendix A: sampling error


In January 1973 there were 1,798 comprehensive schools in England and Wales, not counting those with an upper age limit of 13 or less. The survey covered 309 taken at random. Naturally, the schools selected will not have been exactly representative of all comprehensive schools in every characteristic, and any other random selection of the same size, but consisting of different schools, would have resulted in different figures appearing in the tables. The following table shows (for various numbers of schools that are recorded in the results of the survey) ranges that are 90 per cent certain to include the number of schools that would have been obtained from an exactly representative selection.

Ranges associated with numbers of schools in the survey

Example 1

Table 1 shows that the survey included 41 schools with under 600 pupils teaching no classics. The range associated with this figure is about nine, so there is a 90 per cent probability that an exactly representative selection of schools would have yielded a figure between 32 and 50.

Percentages shown in the results are also subject to this kind of uncertainty, the ranges depending upon the bases of the percentages.

Ranges associated with percentages in the survey

Example 2

Table 1 shows that 51 per cent of the 127 schools reorganised in 1968 or earlier taught classics, as did 48 per cent of the 168 schools reorganised in 1969 or later. The ranges associated with these two percentages are about 7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. There is a 90 per cent probability that an exactly representative selection


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would have yielded percentages between 44 per cent and 58 per cent and between 42 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.

Significant differences

Two percentages derived from the survey are significantly different, in the statistical sense, only if, when the two associated ranges are squared and added together, the square root of the result is less than the difference between the two percentages.

Example 3

From Example 2, the sum of the squares of the ranges is 36 + 49 = 85. The square root of this is about 9, whereas the difference between the percentages (48 and 51) is 3. Since 9 is greater than 3, the percentages are not significantly different at the 90 per cent level.

This type of calculation can be repeated for any percentages where numbers of schools is the basis of the percentage.

Bias

The sample was roughly representative of all comprehensive schools so far as regional distribution goes, with only slight bias towards larger schools and mixed schools.


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Appendix B (1)


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Appendix B (2)


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Appendix B (3)


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Appendix B (4)


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Appendix B (5)