Musical fundraiser to safeguard Sheffield school's Classics course

Gina Johnson, head of Classics at High Storrs School, Sheffield. Picture by Scott Merrylees
Gina Johnson, head of Classics at High Storrs School, Sheffield. Picture by Scott Merrylees
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A fundraising concert will 'guarantee' that a Sheffield secondary school can keep a Classics course on its syllabus.

Guitarist Martin Simpson is playing his only solo date in his home city this year on May 24 at High Storrs School, which is campaigning to continue to offer the subject despite national funding cuts to education.

Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson

High Storrs' crowdfunding appeal aims to raise £100,000 to subsidise studies of the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as Latin, for up to 20 years.

Simpson, an acoustic and slide guitarist, has an international reputation and has been nominated a record 32 times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The musician, whose daughter Molly is a student at the school and wants to study GCSE Classical Civilisation, said: "My child, my wife and my in-laws are all huge fans of the subject and we all agree that it is one of those that can capture the imaginations of children of all ages and develop not only a love of the stories, but also of history and the arts.

“I'm happy to help the school keep Classics on their syllabus. I only wish it wasn't necessary to fundraise to keep options open for all children to have an enriching and broad education."

He added: “I'm looking forward to the gig and hope that people will come along in support who don't necessarily think they like folk music and who may be happily surprised."

High Storrs says it is proud of its tradition of offering Classical Civilisation and Latin as part of its curriculum for many years. All Year 8 students get the chance to study the topics before choosing their GCSE and A-level options.

Subject leader Gina Johnson said: "Since we launched the campaign at the end of September last year, much of the interest and support we’ve received from the media, alumni of the school and the general public has related to the Latin side of things, but we are just as keen to keep Classical Civilisation going as a subject at High Storrs.

“When Martin’s daughter told me she wanted to take it as one of her GCSE choices and that her dad was offering to play a benefit gig for us, I could not have been more thrilled.

“Martin’s great generosity will give a huge boost to our fundraising efforts and will guarantee that we will be able to run GCSE Classical Civilisation in the future even if the numbers of students opting for it fall below that which our school can afford in these straitened times.”

High Storrs says Classics is 'for everyone'. "It is the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans and is hugely varied including, as it does, literature, art, society and culture and their lasting influence. It also forms the building blocks of many other modern cultures and languages."

Visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/HKFKJH to book tickets, priced £15.