Latin was introduced back into the curriculum in September 2013 to broaden the opportunities available in our thriving and successful language department. Students say that studying the language, literature and history of ancient Rome gives them an awareness of our own history, an understanding of language and of the roots of many English words and a huge advantage in learning the grammar of the modern European languages they also study at school. The analytical skills and intellectual flexibility demanded by the study of an inflected language are much valued by universities and employers.
How is Latin a Sacred Subject?
The study of Latin and of the Romans who spoke it enables us to explore the very origins of the Christian Church and to see how Christianity has grown from the persecuted faith of a minority into a worldwide communion. This photograph of Pope Francis was taken by one of our students on our biennial trip to Rome, where we see the tomb of St Peter under his basilica, attend the papal audience and visit the catacombs of St Sebastian, which are full of early Christian symbolism. In the classroom, delving into the Latin and Greek origins of so many of the words we use in our worship – from omnipotence to the Eucharist itself – and in our Christian teaching – morality, justice, liberty, benevolence – enables fruitful discussion of what these abiding principles mean in our world today.
Students have the opportunity to start Latin as one of their GCSE options in Year 10, following a two-year course and taking GCSE in Year 11. The course is intensive and demanding, involving the learning of the language to a high level and the study of prose and verse literature texts.
We follow the OCR GCSE course and students sit three papers: Language (50%) and two Literature papers (25% each). They learn to translate accurately from Latin to English (with an option also to translate from English to Latin) and to discuss the historical context and literary style of a range of set texts. Further details about the course can be found here:
There are opportunities within the course to explore the history and culture of the Romans, including an investigation of Roman York and trying out army manoeuvres in the playground.
Latin is taught as a full A Level course in Years 12-13. The language work and breadth of literary study at A Level make this a fascinating course with a wide relevance to students contemplating further study in modern languages, English, History, Medicine and Law. Students have gone on from our A Level course to study Classics at prestigious universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
We follow the OCR A Level course and students sit four papers, equally divided between language and literature. Students extend the language skills they have learnt at GCSE to undertake translation from unseen verse as well as prose, and have the opportunity also to translate continuous prose from English into Latin. We study four set texts, two prose and two verse, exploring how authors such as Cicero, Livy, Virgil and Ovid used this complex and beautiful language to reflect on their own culture, and how Latin literature continues to exert its influence today. Further details about the course can be found here:
Classical Greek is offered as an enrichment course in Year 12, following a certified course which is assessed in school. Several students have gone on to study Greek further at the JACT Summer School at Bryanston, and there are opportunities to pursue their interest further with extra classes in Year 13. Students respond enthusiastically to the challenge of learning a new alphabet, the chance to explore word roots and the fascinating breadth of the ancient Greek world, from the wonderful stories of Greek mythology to the extraordinary archaeological remains, the foundations of democracy, philosophy and western literature and the rich artistic, theatrical and even sporting legacy of these fascinating people.
We offer a trip to Rome and Pompeii every other year, with wonderful visits in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We study the geography of ancient Rome in and underneath the modern city, visit the Forum and Colosseum, and explore, in the Vatican and in many of Rome’s wonderful churches, how Christianity has built on the foundation of ancient structures and ideas. Students also enjoy exploring the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which give a remarkably vivid picture of the extraordinary people who spoke the Latin we now study at school. With students at KS3 often showing a great interest in and knowledge of the ancient world, we offer an extra-curricular Classics club on our Lower Site to whet their appetites as they start to consider opting for Latin at GCSE.