The JACT Summer Schools Trust runs four Summer Schools each year, as follows:

About the Greek Summer School

The first JACT Greek Summer School was in 1968, in Bedford College, in Regent’s Park, London. For the next seventeen years, until 1985, it was at Dean Close School in Cheltenham, and since then it has been at Bryanston School in Blandford Forum, Dorset. This year, 2019, sees the 52nd JACT Greek Summer School.

In the mid-1960s, Classics in general and Greek in particular were endangered subjects. The mission and inspiration of the summer school have always been to support and enhance the teaching and learning of ancient Greek in UK schools and universities, at all levels from absolute scratch to post- A Level, and especially to give access to the Greek language to those from schools where it exists precariously or not at all. The declining fortune of Greek in secondary schools has meant that the large majority of summer school students have always been from independent schools, but significant and growing numbers come from state schools. An impressive number of established Classics teachers in schools and universities, and an appreciable proportion of summer school tutors, began Greek at the summer school.

In overall size, the summer school has grown and grown, from 52 students and six tutors in 1968 to c. 350 students and c. 45 tutors, more or less, in recent years. The tutors have always been a kaleidoscopic mix of school and university teachers, from newly graduated and qualified schoolteachers to senior professors of Greek from great universities. The students are similarly diverse, largely in the age-range 16-19 and from UK schools, but with increasing numbers of undergraduates, postgraduates and ‘mature’ students, and always with a small but significant leavening from overseas. With the aim of maximising the impact the summer has on the provision of Greek in schools, teachers wishing to offer Greek in their own schools have been welcomed onto the teachers course since 2017, combining language learning with opportunities to discuss teaching strategies and resources.

Key features of the summer school each year include the following:

  • above all, the astonishing amount of Greek that is learnt and consolidated by students at all levels, in the 30 hours in the classroom and numerous hours of private study
  • the programme of evening lectures on a wide range of aspects of the ancient Greek world, given some by visitors, some by resident tutors, all of them experts in their field – and on one evening, the highly competitive trivia-style quiz on Greek and general knowledge
  • the early-afternoon seminar programme on an even wider array of Greek-related topics
  • the programme of sporting activities featuring especially lawn tennis, squash, swimming, …
  • the course concert featuring choirs and instrumental ensembles as well as individual performances
  • the course Comedy (in English) on the middle Sunday, with costumes, props, music and dance
  • the course Tragedy (in Greek, in the open air Greek theatre) on the last evening, again with costumes, props, music and choreographed chorus
  • the beauty and the extraordinary facilities of Bryanston School, the buildings, the extraordinarily good food and the wonderful estate.

More detail on many of these may be found in the Reports.

The summer school is steered by a management committee a dozen strong, with a permanent chair and committee secretary. Its practical operations each year are set up and run by a course secretary, a director, a director of studies, a treasurer, a matron, and a large support team. The summer school depends for its generous bursaries scheme and for keeping beginners’ groups small on donations from a goodly number of benefactors, institutional and private. These it very gratefully acknowledges.