Ancient history

6th April 2007 at 01:00
The recent announcement by the OCR exam board that A-level ancient history is to be discontinued as a separate subject is a cause for serious concern and all possible pressure should be applied to bring about a reversal of this most regrettable move. It comes at a time when the history of ancient Greece and Rome enjoys very great popularity among 16 to 18-year-olds and in the broadcasting media generally.

There are other serious issues. Greek and Roman history should not be treated as one of several components of a classical civilisation A-level, as is proposed. Students of the history of the classical world need to be taught differently from those studying other aspects of classical civilisation. They need to know how to understand and write history on the basis of close study of narrative and documentary texts - in other words, to think and write like historians.

Knowledge of the history of Greece and Rome is the indispensable foundation for the understanding of European history. If we remove this from the A-level syllabus as a subject in its own right, we will do irreparable damage to future generations of historians, both ancient and modern.

Alan Bowman

Camden Professor of Ancient (Roman) History, and Robert Parker Wykeham Professor of Ancient (Greek), University of Oxford

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now