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Secondary education

Ancient Greek A-level

24 replies

john249 · 28/02/2024 18:30

Daughter has been offered a place at sixth form at leading girls' senior school, starting in September. She has changed her mind about the A-levels she originally requested, and would like to study Ancient Greek. The school offer that subject in their prospectus, but has already taken the decision not to offer it for next year's sixth form, as there was no demand from current girls.
I would really welcome any thoughts. One idea we had was to approach other sixth forms that offer Greek, and see if they would accept a late application at this stage. Many thanks!

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mynameiscalypso · 28/02/2024 18:31

Does she have Ancient Greek GCSE? What does she want to do with it?

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john249 · 28/02/2024 19:13

Thanks. She will take Ancient Greek GCSE. She may want to study it at university, but most of all she wants to study it at A-Level.

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LemonJerry · 28/02/2024 19:15

It’s a brilliant, useful and interesting A level so yes I would look around if she is really committed to it. Is there no chance of reconsideration from the original school?

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 19:17

I'd contact other schools as there is always flexibility for sixth form joiners. Where are you based?

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FantasticElasticBand · 28/02/2024 19:20

If you don’t get any joy from school, I can give you the name of an excellent online tutor.

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john249 · 28/02/2024 19:20

Many thanks. We are based in Richmond. Any names of other schools which might offer Greek A Level very gratefully received! We are pushing the original school to re-consider, but it does not look promising.

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joan12 · 28/02/2024 19:23

When I was at school there were only two of us doing Ancient Greek A level! Maybe there is someone else who would have done it had it not been pulled? Have the school emailed parents to check I wonder.

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ItsMeHi48 · 28/02/2024 19:28

Have you checked st James senior girls in west ken/ken Olympia? I believe they have a strong classics dept so maybe they offer Ancient Greek

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 19:28

I think ( may be wrong!) that most of the independent schools offer Greek but you may have applied to one of the following..
Eg
Putney High
Surbiton High
Kingston Grammar
Wimbledon High
Latymer Upper
Kings Wimbledon

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mynameiscalypso · 28/02/2024 19:28

My best friend is Head of Classics and I think there's been quite a drop off in the number of people doing Ancient Greek A level partly because the majority of people doing Classics at Oxbridge don't have it these days and the courses have become more flexible in their admissions policies. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a struggle to find another school so the idea of tutor might be your best bet.

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clary · 28/02/2024 19:29

Wow @john249 I took Ancient Greek A level! Ages ago so I’m sure the spec is different, but let’s face it, the literature won’t be. A group of about 10 of us took the O level as an extra then I did it for A level. Man it was hard.

im interested - what has inspired her to want to take it? Has she been reading The Secret History?!

You say she will take the GCSE - so in a year? Followed by the A level?

I must let you know that it was the hardest A level I took (other two were French and German). I put more work on it than the other two put together. I was also the only person taking it which made it harder.

Honestly unless she is really committed to a classics degree I might suggest rethinking. What other A levels is she taking? Has she done any Ancient Greek at all? Or Latin?

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clary · 28/02/2024 19:30

Haha I see no one else agrees with me about a rethink. Well, best of luck to her for sure. I still have a kind of passion for it.

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mynameiscalypso · 28/02/2024 19:33

clary · 28/02/2024 19:30

Haha I see no one else agrees with me about a rethink. Well, best of luck to her for sure. I still have a kind of passion for it.

I don't disagree with you particularly. I did Ancient Greek GCSE in the sixth form so didn't have an A level in it when I went to uni to do Classics. I did Latin A level and would have found it very limiting to do two classical languages (and boring because frankly so much of it is just learning by rote). I much preferred having a spread of subjects as it also gave me a good base to work from in terms of future careers. Didn't make a difference once I got to university at all. But if the OP's daughter really wants to do it then I guess she wants to do it!

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clary · 28/02/2024 19:34

Looking at the OCR spec it’s similar to what I studied - but I had to read a book and a half of the Iliad, not 300 or so lines! 😀

yeh I hear you @mynameiscalypso if she wants to do it then she should look at how. But I’m trying to probe why she’s chosen it and what she knows about it, how much has she done etc. I had studied Greek for 3-4 years when I started the A level. It was so so difficult.

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tobyj · 28/02/2024 20:53

It's doubtless a hard A Level, but if she does want to go on to do a full Classics degree, it would make that easier. I did Classics without Greek at school, and bloody hell the first two years were hard compared with those who'd done A Level Greek. (I know there are adapted Classics degrees available now that involve less Greek, but presumably you don't then get to access as much of the literature in the original language.)

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john249 · 29/02/2024 07:14

Thanks so much for responses - really helpful!

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Pacifybull · 29/02/2024 07:22

Why doesn’t she just do the GCSE that’s on offer? I assume that’s at the sixth form too, or have I misunderstood and she’s doing that at her current school?

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mynameiscalypso · 29/02/2024 07:38

Does Bryansfon still run its summer school? That might be an option if she really wants to immerse herself in the subject,

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john249 · 29/02/2024 08:42

She is doing Greek GCSE at her current school. Thanks for the suggestion re Bryanston - interesting!

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ArsMamatoria · 29/02/2024 08:51

I used to teach Classical Greek A Level. Does Camden School for Girls still offer it? University College London also run a summer school if you find that Bryanston is already full. I'd also recommend contacting the Classical Association, which might have some good suggestions. Good luck to your daughter!

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Couchpotato3 · 29/02/2024 09:05

If she really wants to do it, then I would keep looking to find a school that will accommodate her. I assume you have already told the school that she has an offer from that you are thinking of withdrawing if they won't budge? It's a hard A level, so generally speaking, only the brightest students will go for it. Some schools will take the hit in terms of additional costs, in the hope of that student getting an Oxbridge/Russell Group place. If it's only one student, they can usually manage on a reduced timetable. If she ends up doing just the GCSE, it's better than nothing, but the full A level will make her uni experience of classics easier.

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MrsElijahMikaelson1 · 29/02/2024 09:08

Maybe consider Classics A level instead? DD is doing classics at uni and there are Ancient Greek or Latin modules within that

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New2024 · 29/02/2024 09:16

Our friend, who taught Ancient Greek at Cambridge, had to learn from scratch when he came up as a student at Cambridge in the 70s. The students at Cambridge adored him, he sadly died in 2021.

Classics seems a popular lead in A Level these days. It’s a shame they won’t teach a small number of students. My DH was the only student in his A Level Latin in a small comp in Derbyshire back in the 70s.

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clary · 29/02/2024 10:10

john249 · 29/02/2024 08:42

She is doing Greek GCSE at her current school. Thanks for the suggestion re Bryanston - interesting!

Ahhh ok sorry OP that wasn’t clear to me. In that case ignore most of what I said if she is taking the GCSE this summer.

It’s still a challenging A level tho! Best of luck with the search. But I would avoid taking it as a fourth outside school tbh.

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