Classics & the Ancient World Summer School

Trinity College has hosted its second successful Classics-themed summer school for state schools in Oxfordshire.

The summer school concluded the first cycle of Trinity’s new outreach programme in Classics and the Ancient World. The programme builds on ‘OxLAT’, an initiative run by the Classics Faculty for teaching Latin ab initio up to GCSE. Now in its third cohort, OxLAT offers twenty-five places each year to students from a diverse range of backgrounds living within reach of Oxford. As Oxfordshire is one of Trinity’s link regions, Trinity takes those who have completed OxLAT (now in Years 11 & 12) and offers an ‘advanced’ programme to continue with language acquisition in Latin and to introduce other areas of Classics.

The programme comprises three day-schools and a week-long summer school in each year of the two-year cycle. Students get an introduction to Greek, and the curriculum is supplemented with taster sessions in diverse aspects of the ancient world including literature, philosophy, ancient history and archaeology. Topics at the summer school this year included ancient biography, the Vindolanda Tablets, Greek funerary stelae, ancient coins (with a selection for the students to handle), the transmission of Classical texts, and a variety of Greek and Roman authors.

Gail Trimble, Tutorial Fellow in Classics at Trinity, said: ‘It is hugely rewarding to teach young people who are so engaged and open to exploring so many different aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman world. I’ve worked with the students on Latin language and literature, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing them become increasingly comfortable reading Latin and more confident in appreciating Cicero’s slippery rhetoric, Pliny’s shameless self-promotion, and even how to do textual criticism on Catullus. I’m delighted that so many of the cohort are planning to study Classical subjects at university, but I can see that those who are going in other directions are also going to take key skills and knowledge from this programme into their future lives.’

The OxLAT scheme is for enthusiastic and committed students in Years 8 and 9 who are interested in studying for a GCSE in Latin but attend state schools where there is no Latin provision. The programme offers eligible students free tuition in Latin language and literature from the beginning through to GCSE examination. Weekly two-hour lessons take place every Saturday morning during school term-time at Oxford’s Faculty of Classics, and the academic programme of the scheme replicates the teaching students would experience were they taking the subject as a GCSE option at school.

Trinity’s OxLAT extension programme is organised and taught by Trinity Classics and Ancient History tutors Peter Haarer and Gail Trimble, with contributions from other Trinity academics and a range of guest speakers, and in collaboration with the Oxford Classics Faculty. For a taste of what the summer school is like, click here to see a short blog by Peter Haarer about the week.

Posted: 5 August 2019

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