Classics Department

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

In year 7 all pupils follow an introductory Latin course for one period a week. In addition, Classical Civilisation is studied through Drama, based on topics such as Greek theatre, Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ and Classical mythology.

Year 8 and 9 pupils who are in set one for English automatically study Latin for one period a week and benefit from the awareness of vocabulary and understanding of language which a Latin course provides. Those who are not in set one are invited to follow the same course during one lunchtime class a week and to keep open the possibility of choosing the Latin option for GCSE in years 10 and 11.

In all years except 7 and 8, Latin is taught through the Oxford Latin Course, which is modern and up-to-date, but still maintains the linguistic rigour of more traditional courses.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Year 10 and 11 pupils can choose to study the subject for GCSE.

Classical Civilisation is also offered to all pupils up to GCSE in years 10 and 11.

Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)


Board: OCR

Course Aims

  • To develop a competence in the language, an appreciation of the literature and an understanding of Roman civilisation.
  • An introductory course in Ancient Greek can also be offered and students are encouraged to appreciate the influence on today’s society of both classical cultures.

Course Details

  • OCR AS/A2 Latin will involve translation into Latin and unseen translation into English from verse and prose authors.  At AS Level, there will be a prescribed vocabulary list.
  • In each year, one of the two units will be devoted to set texts for detailed study.  The emphasis is on translation and literary appreciation, but there is also one general essay question.
  • AS/A2 Latin students, together with Classical Civilisation students, will be offered the opportunity to take part in trips of classical interest.

Coursework Requirements

  • AS/A2 Level Latin will be 100% exam.  There will be no coursework or controlled assessment.

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of a Grade B in Latin GCSE.
  • Linguistic ability, an enthusiasm for literature and an interest in the legacy of the Classical world.

Teaching Approaches

  • There will be an element of independent learning, after clear guidance in a small teaching group.

Careers and Support Subjects

  • ‘A’ Level Latin requires a logical, analytical mind and is highly valued by University and employers, whether you are specialising in Arts or Sciences.
  • Classics graduates therefore have a high employment success rate, particularly in areas such as ICT, Business Management or Accountancy, since Latin develops many of the same skills as Mathematics
  • Latin complements University degrees in Medicine or Law.
  • It enriches the study of English or Modern Languages, since it improves students’ understanding of grammar and vocabulary in any language.  On the literature side, the appreciation of English or other literatures is often incomplete without a study of the Latin and Greek literature which inspired them.
  • A Classical background enriches the study of History and the Latin language provides access to much untranslated historical source material.  Music and Art are also subjects which are complemented well by the study of Classics.
  • Most universities now offer beginners’ Greek courses and students can apply for a degree in Classics.  More frequently, Latin is taken in joint degrees such as English and Latin, French and Latin, Latin and Ancient History, or Latin and Classical Archaeology.  ‘A’ level Latin students often take Law and Medicine degrees.

Other Information

The constant new discoveries about our classical past are making this subject much more than just a language.  The study of classical subjects will enrich the leisure opportunities of students as well as their careers. 

Progression to A2 is contingent on achieving grade C or above at AS level and behaviour, attendance and punctuality records will also be taken into consideration.


Classical Civilisation

Board:  OCR


What is Classical Civilisation?

  • Classical Civilisation is the study of Ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature WITHOUT the study of the languages. This means that we can focus on a much broader range of topics.
  • Texts are studied in English in the same way as they are in English Literature lessons.
  • It is essentially a mixture of English Literature, Drama, History and a little bit of Art. It combines well with subjects such as English, History, Art, Philosophy, Theatre Studies, Politics and Latin.
  • It allows you to explore the ancient societies as well as enjoy some of the best literature in translation whilst looking at big questions such as ‘What makes a hero?’ , ‘Are women untrustworthy?’ and ‘Is it ever right to kill someone?’

What do I need to study Classical Civilisation?

  • You do NOT need any knowledge of the ancient languages
  • An enthusiasm for ancient civilisation and/or literature - this includes films (think Troy and Gladiator) and the ancient myths!

Course aims:

  • To investigate and appreciate the history, culture, society, literature, drama, architecture and/or art of Ancient Greece and Rome. There is a vast choice of options so we can concentrate on whatever you find interesting.
  • To develop an appreciation of the influence of the Classical world on today’s society. To enrich the students’ understanding of many areas of modern life.
  • To develop the skills of critical thinking and evaluation.

Course Details:

  • At AS two topics are studies:

  • Greek Tragedy in its context. As part of this module
    pupils look at what life and theatre was like in 5th Century BC Athens, including society views about men, women and religion. They then study four plays in order to be able to describe what happens in the plays and what each character is like. Wider themes discussed in the plays include what justice is, when it is right to get revenge and how women should be viewed.
  • City Life in Roman Italy. within this module pupils sudy what it would have been like to live in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia in the 1st Century AD. Pupils will look at archaeological finds, reconstructions and inscriptions in order to see what jobs people had and what they would do for leisure.
  • At A Level two topics are studied:

  • The world of the Hero. Pupils study the Iliad and Aeneid to compare what life was like as a hero and what makes a true hero.
  • Life in Roman Britain: Pupils use archaeology, texts and inscriptions to look at how the Romans kept control of Britain as an outpost of their Empire and what it would have been like to live in Roman Britain.


  • When ancient tragedy is studied we will organise visits to performances of the plays, including modern interpretations.
  • We visit Roman sites in Britain such as Bath and York.
  • We are interested in running a trip to Europe every few years. In 2015 we have a trip organised to Pompeii.

Classical Civilisation and Careers

  • It is a popular subject at University level because it ties in with so many other subjects. In 2013, two of our students began University courses in Classical Civilisation and 75% of the current Year 13 class are applying to study Classical Civilisation at University. Many single or combined courses are now offered, such as English and Classical Literature, History, Classical Civilisation or Classical Civilisation and Philosophy. Oxford University takes some students every year for its Classics course who have not previously studied any ancient languages.
  • Classical Civilisation is very relevant to the study of Philosphy, Politics or Sociology, as it gives a valuable insight into very advanced societies which have influenced European society ever since.
  • Classical Civilisation can lead on to almost any career as it develops so many applicable skills. These include oral and written communication skills, the ability to evaluate information and the development of an interest in and understanding of social issues.
Sorrento Trip 2015