Classics refers to the study of the language, literature, culture and society of the Greek and Roman worlds. The influence of the classical world can be seen today in all manner of ways: the relationship between Greek and Latin, and modern foreign languages; building structures such as football stadiums and how they relate to Roman amphitheatres; even with phrases such as “Achilles’ heel” which have entered the English language.
The skills gained from studying Classics are highly sought after by employers. A statement by the University of Cambridge proposes that “A recent study of major employers confirmed their high opinion of Classicists as potential employees: they know how to work hard, are accurate and efficient, take new tasks in their stride and can master situations intelligently. Above all they can talk articulately and argue coherently.”
teaching and learning
It is the aim of the Classics department to foster an enthusiasm for the classical world. This is achieved by ensuring that boys are suitably challenged in all lessons with differentiated tasks made available. We also aim to dispel the myth of Classics being old-fashioned and “stuffy” through the use of a variety of approaches and materials in our teaching such as the use of modern technology; apps such as Memrise, Quizlet and Plickers are regularly employed.
In Years 7 – 9, boys may choose Latin as one of their language options. We follow the Cambridge Latin Course which gives the boys a solid grounding linguistically but also enables them to learn more about Roman culture. Examples of topics covered at this level include the theatre, slavery and Roman Britain.
At GCSE, boys can choose to take Latin or Classical Civilisation, with some boys choosing to study both. We follow the Eduqas specification for GCSE Latin with boys studying three separate papers: Language, Literature, and Roman Civilisation. For GCSE Classical Civilisation, we follow the OCR specification. Boys study two papers over the two year course: Myth and Religion and Roman City Life.
Latin A-Level (OCR) enables boys to further develop their understanding of complex grammatical structures whilst also providing the opportunity to gain further experience in reading and analysing the works of famous Roman authors such as Cicero and Virgil.
Academic catch-up sessions are currently offered to Year 11 Latin and Classical Civilisation students. Easter revision sessions also take place to ensure boys feel as prepared as possible prior to their public examinations.
Boys’ enjoyment of Classics is enhanced through extra-curricular opportunities both inside and outside of school.
Classics Club is a popular activity for boys in Years 7 and 8. Boys undertake such tasks as creating their own myths and designing their own gladiators. Ancient History Club is also offered to those in Year 11 and above and enables boys studying a classical subject to further deepen their knowledge of the classical world. Keen linguists have the option of learning Ancient Greek from scratch as part of the school’s lunchtime activities programme.
Outside of the classroom, boys in Years 10 and above are invited to attend the annual UCL Classics play; this has proven to be a popular trip with the boys very much enjoying seeing classical texts come to life. Every two years the department organises a trip abroad with the previous two trips being to Pompeii and Athens respectively.