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Classics

nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum.

"Not knowing what happened before you were born is to be stuck in childhood forever.” 

Cicero, Orations XXXIV

Aims and Philosophy

Classical subjects are available to all pupils in various forms, and it is the Department’s aim to encourage and stimulate pupils’ curiosity about ancient Greek and Roman culture and society.   This is achieved both through the teaching of the Latin language and the study of Classical history, literature and civilisation.   Studying these subjects provides our pupils with an appreciation of the ancient world and enables them to understand connections between ancient and modern cultures.   Pupils learning about the Greek and Roman world can more fully understand the modern western world in which they live.

Public examination results in the Classics Department are excellent and each year some pupils decide to continue their studies at degree level, frequently at Oxbridge.   Classical subjects are also highly regarded by employers in a wide range of professions, who recognise the analytical and problem solving skills which the learning of Latin and Classical Civilisation require.

Teaching Staff

Miss P Foy (Head of Classics)

Mr P Stubbings (Headmaster)

Mr M Foley (Head of Fourth Form)

Mr M Cooney (Internal Assessment Coordinator)

Curriculum by Year Group

Latin

Key Stage 3

Latin is taught to pupils in Sets 1, 2 and 3 from the First to the Second Form (Years 7-8).   The Cambridge Latin Course is followed.   In these years, pupils learn a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures, developing their translation, logical and analytical skills.   They also gain an appreciation of aspects of ancient Roman life and culture.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

The OCR syllabus is followed for GCSE Latin.   The course is designed to teach pupils about both the language and the literature of the ancient Romans.

The language component of the course is studied intensively throughout the Third and Fourth Form (Years 9 and 10).   The Cambridge Latin and ecce Romani courses are followed.

The Literature components are studied during the Fourth and Fifth Form (Years 10 and 11), as well as continuing with language work.

50% of the course covers Latin unseen translations, whereby pupils are required to provide translations of short passages from Latin into English, as well as answer comprehension questions.   The passages upon which these tasks are set are based on stories from Roman mythology.   A vocabulary list and summary of grammatical structures is provided for the pupils.   Examination of the language element of the course is divided equally between two papers: Language 1 (25%) and Language 2 (25%).

25% of the course is dedicated to the study of Verse Literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and provide short translations based on Latin passages written by authors studied during the course.   These passages are typically set on passages from Virgil’s Aeneid.

25% of the course covers Prose Literature.   In this paper, pupils are required to answer a series of comprehension questions and provide short translations based on the work of specified prose authors including Cicero, Caesar and Tacitus.

There is no Controlled Assessment in Latin GCSE.

Key Stage 5 – AS/ A Level

The AS and A2 courses are available for all pupils who have achieved GCSE grades A* - B in Latin.  

AS Level

50% of the AS course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is devoted to the study of Latin language.   Pupils enhance and develop the translation skills acquired during the GCSE.   In the examination they are required to translate two passages of Latin prose into English.   Both passages are unseen examples of literature, one of which is taken from the work of the prose set text author, Cicero.

50% of the AS course is comprised of verse and prose literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and discuss points of literary technique on two authors.   Sections of Cicero’s De Imperio and Ovid’s Metamorphoses III are currently the set texts.

A2 Level

50% of the A2 course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on verse literature.   The text currently set for study is Virgil’s Aeneid IV.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and discuss literary technique for each author.   They must also scan some lines of Latin.

This paper also contains an unseen element, which is the translation into English of a passage, currently taken from the works of Ovid.

50% of the A2 course is based on prose literature.   For this component, sections of  Tacitus’ Annales IV are studied.   They will then be tested in examination by a series of comprehension questions and short essays.   The author set for unseen prose translation is Livy.

There is no coursework requirement for this qualification.

Classical Greek

The option to study Classical Greek is open only to pupils who have studied Latin at KS3.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

The OCR syllabus is followed for GCSE Greek.   The course is designed to teach pupils about both the language and the literature of the ancient Greeks.

The language component of the course is studied intensively throughout the Third and Fourth Form (Years 9 and 10).   The Reading Greek course is followed.

The Literature components are studied during the Fifth Form (Year 11), although language work also continued throughout this year.

50% of the course covers Greek unseen translations, whereby pupils are required to provide translations of short passages from Greek into English, as well as answer comprehension questions.   The passages upon which these tasks are set are based on stories from Greek mythology.   A vocabulary list and summary of grammatical structures is provided for the pupils.   Examination of the language element of the course is divided equally between two papers: Language 1 (25%) and Language 2 (25%).

25% of the course is dedicated to the study of Verse Literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and provide short translations based on Greek passages written by authors studied during the course.

25% of the course covers Prose Literature.   In this paper, pupils are required to answer a series of comprehension questions and provide short translations based on the work of specified prose authors.

There is no Controlled Assessment in Greek GCSE.

Classical Civilisation

Key Stage 4 – GCSE

The GCSE course is open to all pupils who have an interest in the Classical world and opt to study it as a GCSE subject.   It provides pupils with the opportunity to learn about Greek and Roman civilisations through the study of Classical culture and literature in translation.   It is structured as follows: 

Third Form

Pupils complete an introductory course which broadly covers some aspects of the Classical world, for example Greek religion, Greek Mythology, Roman entertainment, Roman Emperors.   This enables pupils to gain an appreciation of ancient societies and realise the origins of many of our own customs and culture.

25% of the GCSE course is completed during this year.   It is based on the study of ancient Rome.   Pupils learn about the everyday life of a Roman citizen in the ancient capital, including modules on religion and sacrifice, education, gladiatorial combat and chariot racing.

Fourth Form

25% of the course is covered, based on the study of Homer’s Odyssey.  This epic story tells of the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus and the many trials he encounters on his return from the Trojan war.

25% of the course is covered, based on the study of ancient Sparta.   This module focuses on the unique social, political and military organisation of Spartan society.  

Fifth Form 

Pupils complete the final 25% of the course, which is a controlled assessment.   This  is a 2000 word essay based on another area of the classical world.   Themes covered in recent years have been the Olympic Games, Greek Tragedy, Greek Comedy and Virgil’s Aeneid.  

The rest of the year is spent in revision and preparation for the GCSE examinations.

Key Stage 5 – AS/ A Level

AS Level

50% of the AS course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on the study of Homer’s Odyssey and Society.   The focus of this module is appreciation of Greek literature, society and values.

50% of the AS course comprises of the study of Greek Tragedy in its context.   Pupils study Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Medea and Electra.  

A2 Level

50% of the A2 course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on the study of Art and Architecture in the Greek world.   Pupils study ancient Greek free standing sculpture, architectural sculpture, temple structure and vase paintings.   Focus of study is the appreciation of the function and the religious and cultural significance of Greek Art.

50% of the A2 course is based on Virgil and the world of the hero.   Pupils learn the features and structure of epic poetry by studying Virgil’s Aeneid and sections of Homer’s Iliad.

All literature studied is in English translation.

For each of the AS and A2 modules, pupils are required to answer one context question and write one essay based on the literature and primary evidence studied.   Each of these modules will be assessed by examination.   There is no coursework requirement for this qualification.

Outside the Classroom

Pupils’ fascination with the Classical world is developed outside the classroom, with the Department arranging a number of educational visits each year to relevant lectures, workshops, museums and theatres.   Pupils of Classical Civilisation have recently seen productions of Euripides’ Medea and Trojan Women, plays covered in the A Level syllabus.      They have also lately visited the British Museum to view sculptures and vases covered in the Art and Architecture component.   A series of Sovereign Education lecture days were attended by pupils of both Classical Civilisation and Latin.   These covered all the AS and A2 modules for each of the classical subjects, and pupils were able to learn from such esteemed experts as Peter Jones and Edith Hall.   For Latin pupils, a trip to University College London to hear a lecture on Cicero helped deepen their understanding of the prose set text this year.  

We also invite a number of experts in to the school to talk to our KS4 and KS5 pupils.   We have recently welcomed Dr Rosie Wyles from KCL to school to talk about Greek Tragedy and Bettany Hughes to talk to the pupils about her BBC series on Sparta and her involvement in the 300 film. 

To celebrate the school’s centenary in 2015, the Classics Department organised a trip for thirty KS4 and KS5 pupils to Rome and Pompeii.

Enrichment activities 2014-15

It is one of the key aims of the Classics Department to enrich our pupils’ studies by providing opportunities for them to experience the Classical world beyond the confines of the classroom.   For that reason, we frequently organise educational visits and speakers.  Events that the Department will run this year include:

●  20/11/14 – Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Greek Art and Architecture for Upper Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  24/11/14 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Greek tragedy for Lower Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  26/11/14 – Trip to the Old Vic to see a production of Sophocles’ Electra for Lower Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  28/11/14 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Virgil and Tacitus for Upper Sixth Latin pupils.
●  3/2/15 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Virgil’s Aeneid for Upper Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  5/2/15-9/2/15 – Classics Department trip to Rome and Pompeii for KS4 and KS5 pupils studying Classical subjects.
●  3/3/15 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Homer’s Odyssey for Lower Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  1/3/15 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Cicero and Ovid for Lower Sixth Latin pupils.
●  15/6/15-19/6/15 – Classics Week:

15/6/15 – Percy Jackson activity for KS3 pupils.

15/6/15 – Visit by Prof. Ingo Gildenhard of Cambridge University to give a talk on Ovid and the Bible to L6L and L6CC pupils.

16/6/15 – Classics Film Club for KS3 and KS4 pupils.

17/6/15 – Mosaic making workshop for 1st Form pupils.

17/6/15 – Visit by Caroline Lawrence to give a talk to Year 7 and 8 on Mythology, Storytelling and Movies.

18/6/15 - Classics Film Club for KS3 and KS4 pupils.

19/6/15 – Visit by Tom Holland to give a talk on Herodotus to all current and future pupils of GCSE Classical Civilisation, Latin and Greek.

●  The Classics Department runs a weekly Latin SOS club for KS3 pupils who want support with their studies.   They are guided and helped by Mr Cooney and volunteer Sixth Form Latin pupils.
●  Teachers in the Classics Department also run Work Support sessions for pupils in KS4 and KS5 who needs assistance in their studies.
●  Yearly Easter Revision Courses are run by teachers to provide intensive support for pupils in their examination preparation.   In 2015 courses were provided for pupils in U6L, L6CC and 5L.

Pupils applying to read Classical subjects at university are given support with their Personal Statements and mock- Oxbridge Interviews are also provided by staff in the Department.

The Department intends to continue to develop the provision for educational visits to pupils at KS3 and KS4 (see DDP).

Enrichment activities 2015-16

●  16/11/15 – Classics Society lecture at St Paul’s Girls’ school on Greek vs Latin for 5Gk pupils.
●  19/11/15 –Classics Study Day at the British Museum including lectures, gallery talks and artefact handling for A2 Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  24/11/15 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Greek tragedy for Lower Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  30/11/15 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Virgil and Tacitus for Upper Sixth Latin pupils.
●  4/2/16 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Virgil for Upper Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  12/2/16 – GCSE Greek (3Gk, 4Gk and 5Gk) trip to watch a production of Euripides’ Alcestis in ancient Greek at KCL.
●  3/3/16 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Homer’s Odyssey for Lower Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
● 7/3/16 – 3CC and 3Gk trip to the British Museum.
●  11/3/16 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Greek Art and Architecture for Upper Sixth Classical Civilisation pupils.
●  16/3/16 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on Cicero and Ovid for Lower Sixth Latin pupils.
●  24/5/16 – 3CC and 3L Mudlarking trip at the River Thames and Museum of London.
●  5/7/16 – Visit to the First Form by legio xiiii.   All First Formers will become members of the Roman army for the day.

Following the success of our Classics Week in June, the department will also arrange another Classics Week for pupils this year.

Recent Awards

The Good Schools Guide Award 2012 for the best results at GCSE achieved by boys taking Latin at an English Comprehensive School

The Good Schools Guide Award 2012 for the best results at A-Level achieved by boys taking Latin at an English Comprehensive School 

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