23 June 2021
On Monday 21st June, Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park’s Classics Centre was opened by Dr Peter Jones. Located adjacent to the school in Ivor Place, this will be the first Classics Centre to be opened this century!
Headmaster Charles Fillingham commented on the fundamental importance of the study of Classics today, saying: “Both the agonies and the ecstasies of our modern society have already been played out for us in the Classical World. There are easy parallels between the struggles of the Roman Empire and the consumer society of today and there is considerable wisdom to be picked up from the philosophy of Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. Believe it or not, the Classics have almost never been so popular and relevant as they are now, in the twenty-first century.”
In order to broaden the reach of the School’s vision, Francis Holland has established close ties with St Marylebone Church of England School for Girls, a local school, where the FHS Classics teachers offer Latin classes, free of charge, to pupils in Years 8, 9, 10, 11. St Marylebone had a proud tradition of teaching Latin and Classical Civilisation but were forced to cut their provision due to budget constraints three years ago and that’s when FHS extended their Latin teaching to Years 8 through to GCSE so that girls didn’t miss out.
Kat Pugh, Head of St Marylebone, commented on how valuable this offering from Francis Holland has been, saying: “Francis Holland’s provision of subject specialist Latin lessons to our students in Key Stages 3 and 4 has been a tremendous success. Our GCSE students have been inspired and enriched by the subject and, in response to their enthusiasm, they’ll now also be offered A-Level Latin from Francis Holland too. The teaching is excellent, including the adaptability of the teachers to another school’s ways and means. Not only has this terrific curriculum offer kept alive an otherwise fading subject in state education, it has developed our students’ scholarship, commitment and academic confidence. Our Classics team and students are really grateful for this meaningful collaboration.”
The subject has significantly grown in popularity at St Marylebone; with 11 girls in Year 10 currently taking Latin GCSE and all of them showing the highest level of commitment, while 20 Year 8 girls have chosen to study Latin as one of their optional subjects. During lockdown, Francis Holland continued to teach the girls at St Marylebone, offering live remote teaching every week to all classes.
This is just one of 34 FHS outreach programmes with 20 state school partners held by Francis Holland, Regent’s Park, which, alongside the generous offering of six 100% bursaries to candidates joining the Sixth Form in September 2021, indicates the supreme importance of social responsibility and community outreach within the FHS ethos.
Additionally, in March 2021, despite still being in lockdown, Francis Holland ran a Classics Week, with online quizzes and competitions for pupils and a fascinating live talk from the late Helen McCrory, the star of Peaky Blinders, about her experience playing the title role in the Greek tragedy Medea.
Finally, a Classics Festival is to take place in the Classics Centre in the next academic year, consisting of lectures from academics to around 90 students taking Classical subjects at GCSE and A Level from schools all over London and the South-East.
Visit fhs-nw1.org.uk or facebook.com/FHSRegentsPark or Twitter and Instagram @FHSRegentsPark.