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Faculty: MFL & Society
Tradition Ancient world


Latin, Classical Civilisation

“We do not imitate, but are a model to others.”


Key Stage 3 Latin

ClassicsThose in the top language sets will study Latin in Third Form. The course is designed to introduce the girls to the Latin language, learning its vocabulary and grammar and reflecting on how English has developed. The language is also complementary to the study of modern Romance languages such as French and Spanish, as well as certain careers with specialist vocabulary such as Medicine and Law. Throughout the year, the girls will be given a foundation to prepare them for the GCSE course, should they wish to continue the subject as one of their options. For those who have already experienced Latin at their previous schools, there are a few higher level courses which we run, as well as many opportunities for extension, including translating English into Latin. There is also some focus on the civilisation of the Romans to put the language in context.

Key Stage 3 Classical Civilisation

Those who do not learn Latin in the Third Form will study Classical Civilisation. The first part of the course looks at Greek myths, focusing specifically on the story of the Trojan War. The girls learn about Homeric values in preparation for the study of the Odyssey at GCSE. The second part introduces the concept of a city state, using ancient sources to learn about the values and society of Ancient Rome. The girls are taught to interpret the evidence as a way of learning the city’s cultural identity to prepare them for the study of Greek city states at GCSE.

GCSE Latin

The girls can choose Latin as one of their GCSE options and they are prepared for the OCR Latin examination. They must have had some previous experience of the language, either in Third Form or at their previous school. During the Fourth Form, study is specifically focused on language as they cover a majority of the specification for the higher tier. We predominantly use Taylor’s essential GCSE Latin in conjunction with parts of the Cambridge Latin Course. In the Fifth Form, girls start their study of Latin texts in their original form, preparing our own translations together in class. Recent authors of study have included Cicero, Livy, Pliny and Virgil.

GCSE Greek

We also are able to offer our more able Latinists the opportunity to study Ancient Greek.  The format is similar to the teaching of the Latin GCSE with focus on language in Form IV and literature in Form V. The literature studied comprises authors such as Homer, Euripides, Xenophon and Herodotus.

GCSE Classical Civilisation

The girls can choose Classical Civilisation as one of their GCSE options and they are taught the OCR course. No previous experience of the subject is necessary, although studying it in Third Form is helpful. During the Fourth Form, they start the year examining ancient Athens looking at its art, politics, religion and everyday life. Following this, they will study the Spartan community, reading sources which reveal the values of the fifth century warrior society. In the Fifth Form, the girls will be reading parts of Homer’s Odyssey, using an English translation, learning about Homeric values including the study of gods, women, hospitality, and fate as well as the nature of ancient story-telling. The last module is a controlled assessment where the girls are given an essay question on Greek tragedy. The girls spend an extended period of time researching their specific topic before writing the task under controlled conditions.

A Level Latin

We teach the OCR course for A Level and girls must have completed the Latin GCSE or equivalent and obtained a high grade if they want to choose the subject. For A Level the language is more challenging with unadapted passages for the first time.  Girls spend the two years familarising themselves with particular authors to gain experience of their unique styles and vocabulary. They will also study a number of authors’ works including Ovid, Virgil, Livy and Tacitus, learning to analyse their writings in the context of the Roman world.  There are four papers for this new specification including Latin Language, Latin Comprehension or Composition, Latin Verse and Latin Prose.

A Level Classical Civilisation

We teach the OCR course for A Level. No prior knowledge of the subject is necessary and the subject is complementary to Religious Studies, English Literature, History of Art, Drama, History and Politics. At AS Level, the girls study Greek tragedy, learning about Athenian culture through the reading of 4 plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They also study Homer’s Odyssey, with the opportunity for much more detailed exploration than at GCSE. For A2, the girls look at the nature of Athenian politics and Roman culture by reading ancient comedy, with recent authors including Aristophanes and Plautus. The second module focuses on the poet Virgil, examining the world of the Roman hero in the Aeneid as well as some comparative study of Homer’s Iliad.