Senior School

Classics News

Cicero International Classics Contest

Five students from Birkdale's L6th Latin set travelled to Liverpool to compete in the International Cicero Concordia Classics Competition, where they wrestled with questions in two very different categories.
The first section comprised questions about the Myth of Orpheus and its reception in European art and culture. In the afternoon part of the contest, the students had to translate a very searching passage by the Roman author Quintilian. Luckily dictionaries were allowed, unlike in A level Latin!
It was exciting to know that Classics students were tackling the same test today in Serbia, France, Spain, Italy, South Korea and Australia!

Classics Competition

Oxford University's Friends of Herculaneum Society recently ran an essay contest for schools, and Birkdale students achieved two successes, one in each age category.
With only 6 prizes available and more than 200 entries, the competition was fierce! The organisers chose 6 objects from the British Museum's stunning Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition, and the 11-13 year olds had to select one of the objects and write a fictional "Story behind the Object". Edmund Findlay (Y8/S2) won 3rd prize for his entry.
The students aged 14-16 had to write an essay answering this question: "What do these objects tell us about Herculaneum?", and Sam Davis (Y10/S4) won 3rd prize in this category. The winning essays are soon to be uploaded to the Society's website at

Classics Film/Music Trip

The Classics Department organised a trip for senior school students to the ground-breaking "Transformations" event at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.
This was part of the seemingly unrelated centenary celebrations for composer Benjamin Britten's birth and the invention of Stainless Steel in Sheffield.
Britten had a lifelong interest in Greek mythology, and oboist Adrian Wilson collaborated with film artist Katie Goodwin to create a brand new mesmerising version of Ovid's poem "Metamorphoses", which he performed live. Also on the programme was a new composition by Charlie Piper combined with re-composed footage from inside a steel mill. The title of this work "With Stolen Fire" is linked to the Greek legend of Prometheus. Stunning footage of liquid steel was accompanied by dramatic live music from Ensemble 360. An unforgettable evening!

UK Linguistics Olympiad Success

Students from Birkdale had successes in the UK Linguistics Olympiad 2013 at Senior Level: six achieved Bronze awards, and Caroline Ridler (L6) achieved a Silver award. All the students are studying Latin, Ancient Greek and/or Modern Languages.

Latin trip to Hadrian's Wall

S4/Y10 and S5/Y11 Latin sets visited Hadrian's Wall giving them the opportunity to experience the realities of life in the Roman Army, which is the current topic for their GCSE Roman Civilisation module. They certainly became very familiar with the hardships of freezing weather and sideways sleet which greeted the original platoons on the Wall!
The trip began with a visit to Segedunum fort at Wallsend in Newcastle, an unusual place to see Hadrian's Wall as it is in an industrial setting. The purpose-built 35 metre viewing tower gave amazing views of the excavated fort and the surrounding area.The boys were able to understand the way the area at Wallsend had developed from Roman times with the growth of heavy industry on the Tyne. They also explored the restored and operational bath house, complete with communal latrine.
Staying over night , they were entertained by a hilarious production of "The Ladykillers" at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. The next morning the party set off by coach for Vindolanda, a Roman fort which has been under excavation since 1970. A local archaeologist gave a fascinating account of various finds, including a perfectly preserved Roman letter he had uncovered when he was only a teenager. The Vindolanda Museum showed not just intricate weaponry and armour, but also ordinary belongings of the Roman soldiers and their hangers-on, like door keys and toys.
In the afternoon the destination was the Roman Army Museum a few miles further along the Wall, where the boys focused on the differences between the legionaries and the auxiliary troops.

Classical Competition

Six boys from S4/Y10 and S5/Y11 took part in the Leeds Classical Association's annual Schools Reading Competition at Leeds University.
They were pitted against keen students from schools across Yorkshire. In the Intermediate Latin section, Sam Davis (who had also just competed in the Ancient Greek section) was successful in achieving 3rd prize.
Other highlights of the trip included eating chips in the university's student canteen and bumping into ex-head boy Phil Gardiner who is now a medical student there.

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