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A Level students immerse themselves in ancient wonders in a series of engaging educational trips

Venturing beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms, enthusiastic A Level Ancient History and Classical Civilisation students at Xaverian College are on a quest to unravel the mysteries of the ancient world in a series of engaging educational trips.

In the last month, students visited the University of Warwick to attend the University’s biggest outreach event, Warwick Ancient Drama Festival. The festival provides an opportunity for students to experience ancient tragedy whilst enhancing their knowledge to support their GCSE and A Level study and throughout the day students had the opportunity to explore the history of the Persian Wars by listening to range of lectures and watching a live performance of Aeschylus’ ‘The Persians’, a play set in the Persian capital as they lament over the loss of their fleet at Salamis and the arrogance of their King Xerxes. 

Former Stretford High School pupil, Kiranjit Kaur, who joined Xaverian in September 2023 to study A Level Classical Civilisation, History and Sociology, said: “I loved seeing Warwick’s take on Aeschylus’ ‘The Persians’. The actors were incredibly talented, and I loved exploring how the themes of fear and femininity intertwine during the lectures. It was so much fun.”

Later in the week, the students attended a production of an Ancient Greek Comedy, Aristophanes’ ‘Birds’, a show first produced in 414 BC, at Stockport Grammar School. The script was fully updated to explore the theme of climate change and there were really entertaining musical numbers. 

Will Dearnaley, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History Teacher at Xaverian College, commented: “We’re committed to enriching students’ knowledge outside of the classroom and each year, as a department, we create a range of fantastic trips and visits that are fun, interesting and educational, to help give students a really fulfilling College experience.

“In a few weeks, we’ll be travelling to Athens in Greece, where our students will have the opportunity to see ancient Greek monuments and sample Greek cuisine, see beautiful theatres and visit museums.”

Committed not only to enriching the students’ learning experience, Will also places significant importance on his own continuous professional development. Most recently, Will was invited by UK-based charity, Classics for All, to speak at the Ancient History Teachers’ Day at Harrow School about Ancient Roman politics and the role of violence and corruption in the classical world.

Will continued: “It was great to meet up with colleagues to talk about our niche subject and to be surrounded by pictures of famous old Harrovians and even tour their museum of Greek vases. Xaverian has more students following ancient world subjects than any other sixth form in the country, so it was great to share tips and resources with others that will allow me to continue developing our exciting curriculum.”

If you love thinking deeply about the world around us and are fascinated by culture, then Ancient History and Classical Civilisation are courses you’ll find irresistible. Share your observations, opinions and interests, alongside developing essential critical and creative thinking skills. Did you know, many Ancient Historians at Xaverian go on to have medical careers? It is not uncommon to have students studying Biology, Chemistry and Ancient History. Although, some students do pursue the subject at university or go on to Degrees in Archaeology, Anthropology or Egyptology.  

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

Students at Stockport Grammar School
Will Dearnaley, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History Teacher

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