I'll start the ball rolling with some background by James Renshaw on writing In Search of the Romans and what his view is as a UK teacher working with GCSE students. If anyone is available to write similar viewpoints from their teaching experience, please send them to me and I'll post them.
"Being asked to write In Search of the Greeks and In Search of the Romans under the Bristol Classical Press imprint (now owned by Bloomsbury) was a remarkable opportunity for me which came out of the blue. I had been teaching Classical Civilisation GCSE at St Paul's School in London, and had got thoroughly fed up with an exam reading list which was limited to books written decades before. some of which were out of print, and many of which contained glaring errors or inaccuracies. The aim therefore was to write coursebooks which would be up to date, entertaining (hopefully!), and give students a good introduction to Classical Civilisation at GCSE and A Level. I had no idea what mountains I was setting myself to climb, and I know far more about the Greeks and Romans now than I ever did before.
When it came to writing In Search of the Romans, it was clear that there should be a chapter on Pompeii, since both exam boards (OCR and AQA) have a topic on the city. However, only AQA include Herculaneum as well, and so while I was clear that I wanted a separate chapter on the smaller town, I was not sure which way my editor would go. To my delight, she was enthusiastic, and so we were able to create a separate chapter which in many ways runs as a follow-on to the Pompeii chapter (for example, the eruption is described in detail in the Pompeii chapter). It was not too hard to work out what to include in the Pompeii chapter - together the two boards test a wide variety of information on the site - although I would have liked to have included a little more on Herculaneum, and wonder if readers of this blog have thoughts on what might usefully be added. However, I was very fortunate while writing on Herculaneum to have conversations with Sarah Court of the HCP, and I was able to add in important material on the preservation of the site. I also wanted to introduce students to the debate over the Villa of the Papyri.