We are thrilled to announce that Edith Hall, Arlene Holmes-Henderson and James Corke-Webster (all based at KCL) have signed a contract for a new book on Classical Civilisation and Ancient History in British Secondary Education with Liverpool University Press, to be published by early 2022. This important volume will help us achieve ACE’s core project goals, by raising the profile of classical subjects, influencing educational policy and conducting unprecedented research into the history of Classical Civilisation and Ancient History as school subjects.

Our supporters will know that the debate over the future of the teaching of classical subjects in secondary schools resurfaces time and again. Numerous articles and books constantly reassess the availability and utility of classical languages, especially Latin, in secondary schools. Yet the truth is that far more British teenagers sit examinations in Classical Civilisation or Ancient History. These are more widely available than classical languages in the state sector, where 93% of teenagers study. Because, unlike Latin and Greek, these subjects can usually be taught by individuals qualified to teach in any allied discipline, the potential for introducing them into far more schools and sixth-form colleges in the future is rich.

But there is little information available about the origin, content and advantages of these subjects and the qualifications on offer. This book will provide, for the first time, to politicians, journalists, policy-makers, educationalists and academics, as well as teachers, parents and secondary school pupils choosing the subjects to take at GCSE and A Level (and their Scottish equivalents), a vital source of information – a concise historical, analytical and descriptive overview of qualifications in Classical Civilisation and Ancient History. It will therefore be a powerful tool in advocating for the expansion of classical subjects in state schools.

From September 2020 to March 2021, Arlene, Edith and James will be busy analysing archival records, events data and testimonies in preparation for writing the book. Of course, we’ll continue to share insights into the process on this blog and across our social media, so stay tuned for more news.