Classics is the study of the Ancient Greeks and Romans and anything to do with them, including their languages, Classical Greek and Latin.
We believe that the advantages given by a classical education should be available to all students, not just to an intellectual elite.
All pupils study Latin from Year 7. Those for whom Latin is not appropriate after Year 7 study Classical Civilisation in Year 8 and 9 and those with a particular passion for Latin also have an opportunity to study Greek as an extra-curricular activity from Year 8.
Many schools are not in a position to offer any Classics at all, so students at St. Edward’s are very lucky to have all three classical subjects as part of their curriculum.
We are firm believers that students should broaden their horizons by experiencing the Classical World both inside and outside of the classroom. In recent years students have travelled to Chedworth Roman Villa, the Roman Baths and even the eternal city of Rome on Classics Trips. We have competed in the Gloucestershire Latin and Greek Reading Competition, winning first and second prizes in the junior section, and have attended numerous lectures, plays and exhibitions to enrich students’ appreciation of the classical subjects. Class Civ club is a popular lunchtime activity run by Sixth formers for younger students, whilst an Oxbridge extension programme is provided for those wishing to pursue Classics at these universities.
In the last five years 25% of Latin A level students have gone on to study Classics at Oxbridge, while 40% of A level Classicists have opted to study a Classical subject at university.
Greek is offered as part of our Gifted and Talented programme from Year 8 to any student who has shown a particular aptitude or passion for Latin. However students may begin the study of Greek at any time during their school career and it has proved a popular option with Sixth form students wishing to learn something new.
Students often opt to sit an Entry Level qualification in this subject, although it may equally be pursued purely for the love of learning.
Key Stage 3
All pupils at St Edward’s study Latin in Year 7, with many continuing the subject to Year 9 and beyond. The students use the Cambridge Latin Course which, along with its accompanying interactive DVD, allows the pupils to attain a good foundation in Latin grammar and vocabulary, as well as background knowledge of Pompeii, Roman Britain and Alexandria.
Key Stage 4
The OCR Latin GCSE course is divided into two disciplines, language and literature. Therefore, half of the lessons are dedicated to studying syntax, grammar, vocabulary and unseen translations, whilst the other half are for in depth analysis of the prose and verse set text authors. The course is both challenging and highly rewarding; students will find that the skills acquired from a GCSE in Latin will help them in a number of their other GCSE options.
In keeping with the GCSE, the OCR A-level course is divided equally between the study of language and literature. However, students have the opportunity to broaden their horizons by studying a number of different genres in their literature modules – Love Elegy, Law Court Speeches, Epic and History are all available at A-level.
Those pupils for whom the study of Latin is not appropriate beyond Year 7 follow a course in Classical Civilisation in Years 8 and 9. In Year 8 the students will cover three main topics – Roman Sport and Entertainment, Roman Religion and a selection of stories from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. In Year 9 the pupils study the Olympic Games, Sparta and the Trojan War.
Key Stage 4
Classical Civilisation is an extremely popular GCSE option at St Edward’s. For the OCR GCSE students sit two papers in total. The modules are as follows:
- Unit 1 Thematic Study – Myth and Religion
- Unit 2 Literature and Culture – The Homeric World
The OCR Classical Civilisation course is another popular choice for students. Classical Civilisation can be studied at A level without any prior knowledge of the subject. Pupils study three modules as part of the A-level course:
- The World of the Hero – the Iliad and the Aeneid
- Greek Theatre – Oedipus, Frogs and Bacchae
- Love and Relationships
The variety of the genres studied at A-level coupled with consistent references to works of art, architecture and archaeology, mean that the subject is an excellent companion to a number of other A-level subjects, particularly English, History and Drama.
Classical Civilisation (OCR)
- UNIT 1: The World of the Hero – Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid – 40% of A level
- UNIT 2: Culture and the Arts – 30% of A level
- UNIT 3: Beliefs and Ideas – 30% of A level
The purpose of a course in Classical Civilisation is to acquire an understanding of some of the elements of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, literature and language which have had a profound influence on modern societies. Students will be introduced to significant aspects of the classical world from a wide choice of topics in the areas of architecture, art, history and politics, and literature. Students study primary classical sources, including texts in translation and physical evidence such as Greek vases.
The GCSE courses in Classical Civilisation or Latin would provide the most suitable foundation, although they are not required. The study of Art & Design, History and English also provide a useful basis.
Studying Classical Civilisation demonstrates that a student is multi-talented, with interests in a wide range of areas. As such it opens the way for a number of courses at University such as Classics, Archaeology and Anthropology, and Ancient History. It also offers a wide range of employment options, including Business, Law, Civil Service and Education.
- It provides the opportunity to develop a student’s critical and evaluative skills – useful acquisitions in a wide range of subjects.
- By offering a great deal of choice within its parameters (archaeology, architecture, art, history and politics, literature and philosophy), it allows the student to play to their strengths and deepen their enjoyment of the subject.
- As such the course is an ideal companion to, among other courses, Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, History, History of Art, Politics and Philosophy.
- Unit 1 – Unseen Translation (50% of AS)
- Unit 2 – Verse & Prose Literature (50% of AS)
- Unit 1 – Unseen Translation (33% of A level)
- Unit 2 – Prose Composition OR Comprehension (17% of A level)
- Unit 3 – Prose Literature (25% of A level)
- Unit 4 – Verse Literature (25% of A level)
All students will sit the AS examination at the end of Year 12
The course offers the opportunity to read a variety of different texts, including some of the ‘all time greats’ of the Roman world, such as Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ or Cicero’s legal speeches.
Candidates will learn a variety of literary techniques whilst also developing an appreciation of Latin texts within their literary, social and historical contexts. Students will also acquire a deeper understanding of grammar and syntax when translating unseen passages of Latin.
A minimum of grade B at GCSE Latin is expected and preferably at least a grade B in GCSE English.
As Latin has evolved into many of the modern languages of Europe, a study of the subject will dramatically help with the understanding of the grammar and syntax of these languages.
It provides an opportunity to develop and perfect the skills of analysis, logical thinking and problem solving – useful acquisitions in a wide range of subjects.
As such, the course is an ideal companion to, among other AS courses, Modern Languages, English Literature and History.
Latin is regarded as a subject which carries an immense amount of prestige and can be seen as an effective qualification for entry to university. Since classicists have such a wide range of skills they are highly respected in the world of employment, with most going on to careers in Law, Accountancy and Business, the Civil Service, the Secret Service and Education.