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Cambridge School Classics Project
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the Cambridge School Classics Project, home of the world-renowned Cambridge Latin Course

About the Cambridge Schools Classics Project
CSCP is a research and development project established in 1966 with funding from the Nuffield Foundation and the Schools Council. Unlike many Classical organisations, we do not charge a membership fee and have no members in the traditional sense, although the majority of UK teachers and students of Classics benefit from our work on a daily basis.

Aims

The aim of the Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) is to help make the classical world accessible to as many students as possible - whatever their age or background - by:

* forging strong links with teachers and learners

* advancing the pedagogy of classics teaching through research and development

* creating high quality, innovative teaching materials based on research and development

* exploiting new technologies to reach out to new audiences and create cutting-edge materials.

Background

CSCP was set up in 1966 under a joint initiative by the University of Cambridge Faculties of Classics and Education in response to a growing crisis in classics teaching. CSCP was generously funded by the Schools Council and the Nuffield Foundation.

Two events had caused the crisis: first, the removal of Latin as a matriculation requirement in Oxford and Cambridge at the start of the 1960s; second, the emergence of comprehensive schools - and the consequent threat to grammar schools where Latin, Greek and Ancient History had always flourished.

Initial aims

The first CSCP Bulletin ("Towards a New Latin Reading Course") announced that the aim of CSCP was to:

* "develop materials and techniques which will accelerate and improve pupils' ability to read classical Latin literature and widen their knowledge of classical civilisation"

* "develop materials and courses for the non-linguistic study of Classics, with particular reference to widely varying levels of pupil ability."

Starting from first principles and taking full account of teaching methodology in modern languages, CSCP developed a Latin course radically different from all previous courses. Instead of requiring pupils to work their way through years of meaningless English to Latin sentences before reading any Latin, the new Cambridge Latin Course (CLC) focused on developing pupils' reading skills through a series of stories set firmly in the culture of the first century AD. Forty years later, the Cambridge University Press has sold over 3 million units of the CLC materials.

At the same time as creating the Latin course the Project team worked on the production of non-linguistic materials in the hope of extending the range of pupils who had contact with and knowledge of the civilisations of Greece and Rome. These CSCP Foundation courses from the early 1970s played a significant part in the rise of Classical Civilisation (or Classical Studies, as it also called) as a school subject.

The current situation

CSCP is the only Nuffield project from the 1960s still running under its original constitution. The nature of its work, however, has changed considerably over the intervening 40 years. With the CLC now firmly established and in its fourth edition, much of the CSCP's work now focuses on providing support for classics teachers and developing links with independent learners and schools with no classics teachers. There have been new publications: graded tests for the first 3 Books of the CLC; an independent learning manual; worksheet masters to help teachers cater for as wide an ability span as possible. Go to The Shop for a full list of CLC materials.

One major development has been the introduction of the CLC into many American schools and the formation of a North American Cambridge Classics Project which provides support and in-service training for colleagues in Canada and the USA.

But in the last three years the most significant developments at CSCP have been the Cambridge Online Latin Project (COLP) and the Iliad Project, two initiatives enabling CSCP to reach a wide range of new learners.

For a detailed history of CSCP see Modernising the Classics: a Study in Curriculum Development by Martin Forrest (University of Exeter Press, 1996).

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