Coronavirus information and guidance

Local schools

Through its outreach activities, the School of Classics has developed a close relationship with primary and secondary schools in Fife and beyond. The School offers talks, organises events, and involves pupils and teachers in research and teaching projects. They also provide resources and help local schools engage with classics through the 'Classics for All' initiatives, their partnership with Advocating Classics Education, and their new creative writing competition.

Contact

Outreach Officer​
Dr Henry Stead

Email: classics.outreach@st-andrews.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2621

Through a Glass Darkly schools programme

The Through a Glass Darkly research team is led by Dr Rebecca Sweetman at the University of St Andrews. The team works with the Bridges Collection, an archaeological collection from Cyprus, on a variety of research and outreach initiatives. Over the past year, they have developed a schools programme in conjunction with primary teachers which uses artefacts to engage students with cultural heritage and to develop literacy and drama skills. Handling unfamiliar, archaeological material helps children express themselves freely, allowing for wide-ranging discussions with their peers.

In May 2019, they hosted a Literacy Day event that brought four primary schools from around Fife to participate in literacy, drama, and archaeological workshops.

The team visits schools to deliver tailored workshops. Loan boxes are also available, as well as group and individual teacher training sessions.

If you are interested in working with the project, please contact Alison Hadfield at alh10@st-andrews.ac.uk or visit the Bridges Collection website.

hands wearing blue gloves holding a russet colored pot that is decorated with a pattern of straight line scoring

Talks to schools

Staff in Classics regularly talk to primary and secondary school pupils about the ancient world, its history and archaeology, literatures and cultures. These are examples of the topics on offer:

  • Ancient and modern political ideas: community, citizenship, leadership (Jon Hesk)
  • Ancient explorers (Alice König)
  • Ancient rhetoric (Jon Hesk)
  • Athenian democracy and politics (Jon Hesk)
  • Castles (Rebecca Sweetman)
  • Classical myth and its reception (Sophie Schoess)
  • Greek drama (Jon Hesk)
  • Homeric epic (Jon Hesk)
  • Introduction to archaeology (Rebecca Sweetman)
  • Late antique emperors: Diocletian, Constantine, Theodosius (Roger Rees)
  • Mountains in ancient Greek and Roman culture (Jason König)
  • Ovid (Emma Buckley)
  • Philosophy in the ancient world (Alex Long)
  • Roman drama (Emma Buckley)
  • Roman epic (Emma Buckley)
  • Seneca (Emma Buckley)
  • Ted Hughes (Roger Rees)
  • The ancient and modern Olympics (Jason König)
  • The ancient novel (Jason König)
  • The Greeks (Rebecca Sweetman)
  • The Romans (Rebecca Sweetman)
  • Virgil (Emma Buckley).

Classics staff can also speak to your school about any other aspect of the ancient world, whether part of the curriculum or not. If you are interested, please contact the Outreach Officer, Henry Stead.

See also the Royal Society of Edinburgh Schools Talks programme (pdf) for 2020-2021 featuring Alice König.

Videos

Since spring 2020 we have been producing Ask Me Anything videos in collaboration with the St Andrews Public Engagement team. Each speaker offers a topic and invites school children to send in their questions. The speaker then produces a short video answering their favourite three questions. Here is the list of topics so far:

In November 2020 we also took part in a new initiative titled Historical or mythological person of the day:

Watch this space for more videos and feel free to get in touch (classics.outreach@st-andrews.ac.uk) to suggest who we should talk about next!

Events for schools

The School of Classics regularly organises and participates in events involving local schools.

Science Discovery Day, March 2020

Classics had a strong presence at the University’s Science Discovery Day this year with two stalls and two talks by Sophie Schoess on Greek myth and Percy Jackson.

The Archaeology stall was run by Rebecca Sweetman and Alison Hadfield with help from Andrew Welser, Carolyn La Rocco, Christina Cao, Florence Felsheim, Katy Lamkin and Thomas Bender. Activities included: handling potsherds and replica artefacts; examining virtual 3D digital models in our Bridges Collection; and a pottery seal-making activity where kids could stamp their own designs into clay.

The Greek Myth stall was run by Nikoletta Manioti and Sophie Schoess, together with our Undergraduate Research Assistants Ali Caimi and Sorcha Eble, and with help from Carlos Machado, Edward Armstrong, Eleni Giamarellou Bourmpouli, Emma Buckley, Erika Radaelli, Larisa Ficulle, Meg Finlayson and Rebecca Hachamovitch. Activities included: match the gods of Olympus to their attributes; make your own monster; guide Theseus through the labyrinth; create a constellation; and a hero quest to find the Twelve Gods across the whole exhibition area.

We got some great feedback too: "I had a great day and absolutely loved the archaeology and myth stalls! My kids are obsessed with the myths and the past and loved learning more about it. I'm going home now to wash the pottery out my hair! Thanks so much for the great day!"

CPD sessions, November 2019

The Through a Glass Darkly project ran continuing professional development (CPD) sessions on teaching drama and literacy using the Bridges Collection. These were open to primary school teachers and took place in the Archaeology Room on 13, 19 and 22 November 2019. In each session, teachers handled original artefacts and participated in literacy and drama activities.

Literacy Day, 31 May 2019

As part of Rebecca Sweetman‘s project Through a Glass Darkly: Perceptions of Art, Artefact and Context, the School organised an event at the University of St Andrews to promote the theme of literacy in the Curriculum for Excellence

Pupils from Crail, Denbeath, Falkland and St Agatha’s primary schools were offered a workshop by Dunbar-based poet Hannah Lavery before being split into groups for parallel sessions on archaeology (run by Rebecca Sweetman, Eleri Cousins, Alison Hadfield and Nikoletta Manioti) and drama (run by Stephen Jones, Jon Hesk, Eilidh Lawrence and Leah Neiman). The School used items from the Bridges Collection as inspiration for pupils to come up with:

  • a poem about a lost possession
  • the story behind a character who owned an ancient lamp
  • descriptive words to recreate the shape of ancient objects on the page.

Menaechmi, 30 April 2019

As part of the activities of the Centre for the Public Understanding of Greek and Roman Drama (CPUGRD), pupils from St Leonard’s, Dundee High, and Greyfriars were invited to the Byre Theatre for a performance of Menaechmi, a Roman comedy by Plautus directed and performed by 3rd and 4th-year Classics students under the supervision of Giuseppe Pezzini.

See the CPUGRD’s Plautus Menaechmi page for more information about the play, a video from the school event, and the research project behind it.

children playing with cards on a table

children with paints and craft supplies at a table

child drawing a map

Involving schools in teaching

A new Honours module, Classical Bodies, gives school pupils the opportunity to interact with and learn about marvels and monsters from Honours students. This module has been designed and coordinated by Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis

In April 2018, class P2/3 from Lawhead Primary School was invited to take part in a session titled ‘Marvellous Bodies in St Andrews’, which included a visit to St Andrews Cathedral and the Bell Pettigrew Museum. This activity promoted the theme of locality in the Curriculum for Excellence. A second session, ‘Marvellous Bodies in Classical Greece’, took place in their classroom a week later. 

In 2019/2020, Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis introduced a second Honours module, Travels and Marvels in the Graeco-Roman World, which once again allows school pupils to interact with the Honours students during a day-long event on the theme of journeys.

In February 2020, a P3 class from Kinghorn Primary School visited St Andrews and took part in Marvellous Journeys. The day began with a visit to St Andrews Cathedral and its museum, where the pupils were told about miracle-working relics and pilgrimage journeys in the Middle Ages. The group then walked to Martyrs Kirk, where the University’s Special Collections are housed, and took part in a workshop on the 2nd century AD author Lucian’s True History. The Honours students showed the pupils the medieval manuscripts preserving Lucian’s work, presented two episodes focusing on the Moon and the Whale, and helped the pupils write postcards home describing their own journey to St Andrews that day.

Book open on a table, surrounded by paper and pictures

Promoting Classics in Scotland

The School of Classics is a partner of Advocating Classics Education (ACE) in Scotland. 

The School also supports the activities of Classics for All and the Classical Association of Scotland. Most recently, Tom Harrison was involved in the organisation of the first Classical Association of Scotland Greek and Latin Summer School.

On the 11th March 2020, Introducing Classics in State Schools took place in the Byre Theatre at St Andrews. The event was organised by Nikoletta Manioti and Jon Hesk in collaboration with the Classical Association of Scotland (CAS) and Advocating Classics Education (ACE). The aim was to bring together teachers who are thinking about introducing Classical subjects in their schools, and discuss the ways it can be achieved and the kinds of support that are available. We welcomed an audience consisting primarily of secondary school teachers from across Scotland (Angus, Argyle & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, and North Lanarkshire).

The event began with a talk by Edith Hall representing ACE and explaining the support it offers to aspiring teachers of Classics in the UK. Three current state schoolteachers then talked about their experiences introducing Classics in their schools:

These presentations were followed by:

  • Mike Lynch and Lynne Pratt (PDF)  representing Moray House in Edinburgh.
  • Alex Imrie (PDF) representing the Classical Association of Scotland and Classics for All, outlining the support and resources available.

The event was concluded with a lively roundtable discussion. For more details, please read Alex Imrie’s report on the ACE website.

We are particularly grateful to the Classical Association and the School of Classics for covering the cost of transport and refreshments respectively. The event was a great success, as is also evident from this select feedback:

“I’m glad we got this in before the Coronavirus closed everything down. There is a wonderful, positive spirit amongst the Classics community and I’m keen to key into it and start teaching it again. Thank you for putting on this conference!”

“Thanks very much for hosting the conference, it was very informative and exciting to be amongst people who are excited about Classics!”

If you are interested in introducing Classics in your school, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Alex Imrie or Henry Stead!