Latin is an enjoyable and challenging language which is a highly regarded academic subject. Learning Latin will aid students’ English vocabulary, as much of our language is derived from Latin, and also their grasp of English grammar. Working out the word order and detail in Latin sentences teaches the skills of analysis, attention to detail and precision which are extremely useful in a wide range of careers such as law, medicine, accountancy and engineering. Learning Latin also complements the learning of modern languages as there are many similarities between German and Latin grammar and much French and Spanish vocabulary derives from Latin. Studying Classical Civilisation gives students a fascinating insight into the origins of Western Civilisation, looking at the culture, history and literature in translation.
Key Stage 3: Years 7-9
All pupils in Year 7 study ‘Classical Civilisation’, looking at various aspects of Greek civilisation, including the Greek gods and goddesses and Greek mythology, focussing on the stories of Heracles and Odysseus.
All pupils in Year 8 study Latin and it is an option in Year 9. They follow the Cambridge Latin Course; as well as learning vocabulary, English derivatives and about the language, they read stories in Latin. In Book 1, pupils learn about life in ancient Pompeii, looking at topics such as daily life, the theatre, gladiators, slavery and the baths before learning about the eruption of Mt Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii. In Book 2, pupils learn about life in Celtic Britain and the changes that the Roman invasion caused.
Learning is enhanced by using the website that accompanies the text books and the interactive DVDs. In year 9, pupils also sit an Entry Level qualification (OCR exam board) in Latin, taking language tests and completing a cultural project.
Key Stage 4: GCSE
Students study the new Latin Eduqas GCSE specification which incorporates Latin Language, Roman Civilisation and Latin Literature. The linguistic material is presented against cultural topics as the stories are set in Roman Bath and then in Rome using the Cambridge Latin Course Books 2, 3 and 4. Students will translate and answer comprehension questions on Latin passages for the Language paper. For the Civilisation paper, they will use a range of primary sources to learn about Roman entertainment, including gladiators, the baths and dinner parties. For the Literature, students will read and translate a range of Latin poems and prose selections about chariot races. They look at the literary style and techniques of the authors, so they are gaining knowledge and skills which will be readily transferable to help with their English literature studies.
Classical Civilisation can also be offered at GCSE, subject to sufficient numbers; we follow the OCR syllabus for this.
Key Stage 5: A Level
Both Latin and Classical Civilisation are offered at A Level (following the new OCR specifications).
For Latin AS level, students will translate Latin passages into English and also have the option to translate English sentences into Latin. For the literature, students will read two Latin authors from a choice of Cicero, Tacitus, Virgil or Ovid; the examination will test their knowledge of the text and discussion of the literary features used by the writers.
For Latin A level, students will answer questions and write an essay in English on a choice of literature texts, analysing the authors’ style. They will translate Latin into English, then they have the option to translate a Latin prose passage into English and answer comprehension questions or translate an English passage into Latin.
For Classical Civilisation AS level, there is a compulsory unit on ‘the world of the hero’ focussing on Homer’s Odyssey and a choice of a unit on ‘Greek theatre’ or ‘the image of the first emperor, Augustus’.
For Classical Civilisation A level, there is a compulsory unit on ‘the world of the hero’ focussing on Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid and a choice of units on ‘culture and the arts’ and ‘beliefs and ideas’. Texts are read in the English translation and the exams will consist of answering comprehension questions and writing essays on the topics studied.
Classical Greek may be studied for fun or towards a recognised qualification such as the EMACT Beginners’ Certificate or even the OCR Entry Level Certificate.
Trips and extra-curricular activities are organised such as visits to Chedworth Roman villa. A Roman display group, legion XIIII also comes into school to give displays. The sixth form have the opportunity to visit talks and lecture days relevant to their courses.