The study of Latin and Greek maintains its place in the curriculum as these languages are the keys to the ancient cultures that form the basis of our civilisation. More specifically for St Martin’s Ampleforth, the Benedictine tradition and the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries have always placed great importance upon the heritage of the ancient world. Christian civilization, in which Benedictine monasticism played and still plays a key role, grew out of the Graeco-Roman world and has been characterised by a belief in the value of a liberal and humane education.

Aims of the Department

The Classics department's overall aim, working in the context of the school's aims and objectives, is to introduce pupils to the languages and civilisation of the Classical world. Amongst its specific aims are the following, which apply to both Latin and Greek:

  • to enable pupils to enjoy making good progress in learning the language.
  • to encourage pupils to develop the skills of analysing language, with an awareness of grammar, and a concern for accuracy of expression.
  • to enable pupils to read and understand the language. Where appropriate, to enable them to appreciate and respond to literature in the original language.
  • to enable pupils to acquire some understanding of the civilisation in which the language was used.
  • to enable pupils to acquire an awareness of the differences and similarities between the classical language and civilisation studied and their own, and of the influence of one on the other.

The Classics department, while preparing pupils for the Common Entrance and Scholarship papers in Latin and Greek at the end of Year 8, endeavours to provide them with a solid grounding in the language, and an enthusiasm to pursue their studies further at Ampleforth College or elsewhere.