Classics for All have produced a useful summary of the benefits of adding Classics to the school curriculum, which include the following:
• Develops English literacy: students of Latin or Ancient Greek achieve a deep understanding of grammar, which encourages accurate use of language. From the very early stages, concepts of singular and plural, tenses and case usage are taught. In GCSE Latin or Ancient Greek, more complex grammatical structures are introduced than those in modern foreign language GCSEs. A study of Classical languages thus benefits learning across the whole curriculum.
• Aids cultural literacy: Classical mythology forms the bedrock of much modern art and literature, and is constantly reworked in theatre and in the visual arts, film and pop-culture. The works of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil and Ovid have profoundly influenced Britain’s greatest writers, dramatists and poets, including Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare, as well as writers and artists across the world.
• Teaches the foundations of philosophy and history: The ancient Greeks and Romans have profoundly influenced western society and thought. They established the disciplines of philosophy and history and the foundations of our political systems.
• Encourages cultural insight: In some ways, the ancient Greeks and the Romans seem just like us, but in other ways, they are very different. This can lead students to reflect deeply about themselves and the lives of others – an important quality in a modern, multi-cultural society – enhancing the appreciation of cultural differences.
• Gives opportunities for wide-ranging thinking: Classical subjects encourage students to cross subject boundaries through thinking that touches on language, literature and civilisation, something which profoundly affects overall learning
• Allows for depth and breadth: The study of classical subjects is interdisciplinary. All four classical subjects – Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History – can involve literature, history, philosophy and the visual arts.
• Improves employment opportunities: Evidence suggests that employers have respect for potential employees who have studied classical subjects at school or university.
• Encourages clarity of thought, attention to detail, and the ability to argue a case: Hones analytical and critical skills, Trains minds in the comparative use of different types of evidence, Introduces young people to the finest oratory and skills in argumentation and communication