Three Classical subjects are available: Latin and Greek, both at GCSE and A level, and Ancient History at A level only.
Latin is studied in Year 9 by students in the top three ability streams, most of whom will have studied the subject at their previous schools and will have submitted a Latin paper in the Common Entrance examination. There is also a set for beginners, many of whom continue to GCSE and beyond. Students then opt to study Latin to GCSE in Years 10 and 11 as part of the GCSE option scheme. Numbers choosing Latin vary considerably, but on average around 25 will take Latin GCSE. For A level numbers average about seven.
We follow the OCR GCSE syllabus which has two key areas: language and literature. Assessment is by terminal examination and there are four papers. There is no coursework element in Latin GCSE. Language work (in the form of translation and comprehension from Latin to English) comprises 50% of the total marks; literature (in the form of extracts from Latin authors such as Vergil and Tacitus) comprises 50% of the total. There is a prescribed GCSE vocabulary list for both of the language papers.
At AS and A level we follow the OCR specifications. Two papers are taken:
- Latin Language (50% of AS, 25% of A level). This develops and tests students’ knowledge via translation of unseen prose. There is also an option to translate short English sentences into Greek. A prescribed AS vocabulary list includes all words to be translated in this examination.
- Latin Literature (50% of AS, 25% of A level). This develops and tests students’ understanding and appreciation of two prescribed texts, one verse and one prose (recently Ovid and Cicero). In the examination there are questions on Latin passages from each author, including short essays.
For A2 two papers are taken:
Verse (50% of A2, 25% of A level): this unit develops students’ ability to translate and appreciate Latin verse, and tests firstly unseen verse translation and comprehension, and secondly commentary skills based on a passage from the prescribed set text (recently Virgil).
Prose (50% of A2, 25% of A level): this unit develops students’ ability to translate and appreciate Latin prose, and students answer two passage-based questions from the prose author they have studied (recently Tacitus), as well as an option of either prose composition translation from English into Greek or a translation and comprehension of a passage from Latin into English.
Greek is studied in Year 9 by two separate groups: those who have studied the subject at their previous schools and a beginners' group consisting of the remaining students in the top stream to stretch and challenge our most able students. Greek is part of the GCSE option scheme also and around 12 students usually opt to take the GCSE. A level numbers in recent years have varied between eight and two.
As with Latin, the OCR GCSE and OCR AS and A level specifications are followed. The structure of these courses is identical to that of Latin. A level authors recently studied include Thucydides, Lysias, Euripides and Homer.
Ancient History is offered in sixth form and is open to all students even if they have not previously studied any Classical subject. It caters for those with an interest in the ancient world, but who do not wish to read Latin and Greek authors in the original languages. It deals with various aspects of Greek and Roman culture, including art, literature, philosophy and religion. The overwhelming feature is the study of Roman and Greek history.
The OCR A level syllabus is followed, consisting of four modules, two at AS level and two at A2 Level. The modules are synoptic and there is no coursework. AS students currently study a Greek module on the period of history from the Delian League to the Athenian Empire and a Roman module concerning Cicero and political life in late Republican Rome. A2 students currently study Greece in conflict from 460 to 403 BC and the fall of the Roman Republic from 81 to 31 BC. Both of these modules build upon the foundations set at AS Level.