The Classics department aims to instil in our boys a fascination with language through the study of Latin and Ancient Greek. It is the hope that on the journey from Year 6 to Year 8 each boy will develop linguistic curiosity, spotting patterns between languages and seeking to understand how language evolves. Whilst Latin and Ancient Greek may not be useful in the same way as English or French, they are undoubtedly enriching. Studying Classics can be fascinating, stimulating and challenging to every boy, and so every boy is given this opportunity. In addition, much value is often placed on the knowledge of Classics by senior schools, universities and future employers.
Latin is introduced to all pupils in Year 6. Using ‘Who Said Latin’s Dead?’, a course written by the Head of Department, the pupils grow increasingly fascinated by the intricacies of conjugations and declensions, tenses and cases, voices, moods and hidden subjects.
The workbooks are based on the adventures of Guy and Olivia, two British school children lost in Ancient Rome, whose journey through the Ludus Magnus conveniently leads them through the Common Entrance Level 1 syllabus. The workbooks include puzzles and interactive activities as well as translations and practice sentences designed to engage pupils more effectively with the grammar.
In Year 8, pupils aim to master the vocabulary, grammar and syntax required for the exams ahead. Those taking Common Entrance are entered at the most appropriate of the three levels and prepare accordingly. The scholars bravely take on the ultimate challenge: prose composition! Using Practice Exercises Level 3 by Bob Bass, the pupils master much of the complex grammatical material that comprises the GCSE Latin syllabus.
Alongside their linguistic studies, all year groups explore Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in translation. Knowledge of these key texts is required at Common Entrance and the boys love listening to and recreating scenes from these epic poems. There are also opportunities to learn about Roman daily life, life in the Roman army, the history of Roman Britain and other popular Greek myths, such Theseus and the Minotaur
Ancient Greek is offered as an after-school hobby to pupils in Years 6, 7 and 8. They begin by learning the alphabet and progress to reading and translating stories. Working at their own pace, some pupils will tackle Ancient Greek Common Entrance papers in Year 8. However, more often than not, boys opt to learn Ancient Greek purely for the joy of learning.