Award-winning Classics at AGS
In 2018, Allerton Grange was the first state school in Leeds to introduce Classical Civilisation as a GCSE and A level options. Ms Gemma Williams is passionate about Classics and has been instrumental is setting up and delivering the courses to students.
Earlier this year, Ms Williams was nominated and awarded the Promoting the Study of Classics in Schools Award. It was presented to Miss Williams from The Classical Association at the Classical Association Teaching Awards.
The nomination citation summarises Ms Williams' achievements, including the introduction and success so far of Classics at Allerton Grange:
“History teacher Gemma introduced Classical Civilisation to her comprehensive school in Leeds with support from the ACE project and the University of Leeds in 2018. Her school has 1500 students with many students eligible for the pupil premium. The school prides itself on being inclusive and celebrates the diversity of its intake (school vision and values). No Classics provision existed at all in 2017. The first cohort sat GCSE in 2020 (including Disadvantaged, EAL and SEND students), some of whom will sit A Level in 2022. Gemma’s enthusiasm for the subject and dedication to making it successful has been so powerful that from 2021, students in Key Stage 3 will study Classical Civilisation *on timetable*. This is an outstanding achievement. Allerton Grange is currently the only state-maintained school in Leeds committed to offering Classical Civilisation to students in all key stages.
Gemma offers support to others who are keen to pursue a similar path. She presented as part of the ACE panel at the CA/FIEC panel in 2019 ‘Classics in the comprehensive classroom: getting Classics started from scratch’, wrote a blog for the project website and maintains an active digital presence sharing tips for success online. Gemma is the living, breathing embodiment of a teacher who is working tirelessly every day to make Classics more inclusive.”
Ms Williams said, "I am incredibly proud that we offer Classics at Allerton Grange and that from September, it will be taught across all Key Stages. It is extremely sad that in the past 30 years, Classics has become a subject for the privileged and known as something that only the ‘elite’ should study, which is not the case at all. Classics is an incredibly rich subject that allows students to study history, politics, philosophy, language, history of art and literature as well as develop a critical understanding of the roots of modern society and culture. Due to this, the study of Classics is a powerful tool for social mobility. It was such an honour for me to receive this award as I feel so passionately that all students should have the opportunity to study Classics. I am hopeful that Allerton Grange can offer encouragement for other schools across Leeds and Yorkshire to introduce Classics and that we can provide support for this."
Pictured: The first Allerton Grange GCSE Classical Civilisation Class