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St Francis de SalesCatholic Junior School

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Education and Democracy in Ancient Greece


Did you know that the two main provinces of Ancient Greece were Athens and Sparta?


Despite the fact that they shared the same heritage and language, ancient Spartans and ancient Athenians were very different.  The Spartans were warriors, disciplined and strong, and always ready to die for their homeland.

Athenians were educated and those who were not soldiers were philosophers, politicians, writers, musicians, and sculptors. Additionally, Athens was a democracy (the very first!) and Sparta was a dictatorship (King Leonidas was in charge!).


We explored these differences in class and then were split up into two groups: Athenians and Spartans! We then held a class debate, arguing why our province was the best place to live.


The debate raged on until the children were reminded that they are not actually Athenian or Spartan and are able to enjoy the modern delights of an equal education and democracy in England! Here are two examples:


'Girls are allowed to be educated in Sparta! Just one of the many reasons why it would be absurd to live in Athens! Only few people have rich parents so what would the rest of the girls do? Don't be an idiotic fool!' - Lexie, C7


' Life as an Athenian is superior to life as a Spartan! We live in a democracy! We ALL get a say! A dictatorship is poisonous! Would you really want to lose your voice? Would you really want to have no say in your own laws? No! So why even consider that Sparta would be the best place to live. Do the right thing- live in Athens!' - Kieran, C5

In the delivery of their debate pupils:

  • Demonstrated a good command of Standard English using ambitious vocabulary and language devices.
  • Used a growning awareness of whether to add detail or remain conci and justified answers.
  • Spoke at an appropriate pace and adpatated their intonation as required enunciating all words clearly.
  • Established eye contact with the listener, stood straight when engaged in both speaking and listening and used some appropraite hand gestures. 
  • Listen carefully to points raised, thinking about how to question them and make comments or ask questions.