Friday, 17 December 2010

The Iris Project

Local educational charity The Iris Project, which works to enhance and enrich literacy and language learning through Latin and Classics in east Oxford state schools and communities, offers its wholehearted support for the campaign to save Headington's Bury Knowle Library.

As a charity set up to promote and enhance children's love of languages, reading and literature, and to give these opportunities to children from all backgrounds, access to books and environments where books are cherished and celebrated is central to our work and aims. A local library is a place where children can discover new worlds of wonder, imagination and knowledge which will shape their whole lives, and to deprive them of this is something we find deeply devastating, and detrimental to all the work we are doing in local schools. We therefore implore the Oxfordshire County Council to rethink their plans, and to support local libraries and their vital roles in communities"


The Iris Project works with disadvantaged children in regions of Oxford. It has a website at, and it runs various initiatives which promote learning Classical languages and culture in state schools, particularly those which have high numbers of children on free school meals. Currently, the charity runs two major projects in Oxford. One teaches Latin in schools in Blackbird Leys, Cowley and Barton as part of the literacy curriculum, where the subject improves basic literacy skills and promotes a love of languages. The other is an ancient Greek and drama project, where children from these regions have the opportunity to learn about ancient Greek and Classical drama through workshops, and perform on a professional stage.

Evaluation of the projects has shown that the Latin teaching enhances literacy and language skills, as well as promoting a range of other aspects such as confidence and communication skills. The drama projects similarly enhance communication and confidence amongst participating children, as well as introducing the professional stage and aspects of theatre.

The charity also publishes a termly Classics magazine, Iris, which is sent free to state schools and libraries across the city. It is launching a primary version of the magazine, Iota, in January 2011.

Dr Lorna Robinson
Director, The Iris Project
Registered Charity No. 1121868

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