Latin provides the opportunity for pupils to develop their linguistic capabilities whilst also acquiring the ability to think logically and deal with challenging linguistic puzzles. Pupils are encouraged to strive for accuracy and clarity of thought and to enjoy and appreciate the intellectual demands of Latin.
Latin is a core subject for pupils in the First Form (Year 7) and optional in the Second and Third Forms (years 8 and 9). They study the Cambridge Latin Course which teaches comprehension of the language for reading purposes and an appreciation of the culture of classical civilisation. As pupils progress they learn to translate more complex grammar and vocabulary. Much of the grammar learnt in the Third Form is further developed and consolidated at GCSE.
There is a thriving extra-curricular programme within the Classics department. Greek is taught off timetable, and many pupils enjoy attending the Classics Club. Trips are run to complement background topics, such as to Fishbourne Palace and Bath, as well as a biennial trip abroad to places of relevant historical interest such as Rome and Naples. Pupils also have opportunities to see productions of ancient plays, visit exhibitions of artefacts and are encouraged to enter Classical essay competitions, both termly in school and also outside of school.
At GCSE the course provides a detailed linguistic study of the Latin language in its historical context. The study of Latin also has an extremely positive influence on pupils’ written English by expanding knowledge of both vocabulary and syntax. Pupils study both language and literature from a range of classical authors such as Pliny, Julius Caesar, Virgil and Ovid in their historical context. The course is assessed by three written papers which cover vocabulary and grammatical constructions and selected Latin texts.
At A Level, the course develops further competence in the Latin Language which enables pupils to read, understand and appreciate the literature of Roman prose and poetry in its original form. They also gain an understanding of the civilisation within which the literature was written. The poetry of Ovid and Virgil are studied in some depth along with the prose literature of Cicero and Sallust.
Teachers in the Classics department have a large variety of expertise between them, covering a range of topics such as epic poetry, Minoan history, bilingualism in the Ancient World, Greek history as well as Greek philosophy and Roman historiography.
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