The study of Classics is all about asking questions, about the past, and about ourselves. Our culture is built on the ideas of the Greeks and Romans and the questions they asked about life and how to live it, and these are questions we still ask today: Who should rule, and how? How should we treat other people? What can we learn from the past? How can we be good?

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Paul Gaugin

Classics is more than just one subject; Classics is about life: art, language, politics, myth, drama, architecture, law, science, religion, archaeology, philosophy, history.

There’s something for everyone in Classics, and Classics is for everyone

KS3 -Year 7
Classics is introduced in Year 7. It is a combination of Latin language and Roman and Greek civilisation. Pupils learn about the ancient world through art, drama, research, myth and language. Topics studied in the past have included:

• Gods and goddesses
• The Trojan War
• Heroes and myths
• Roman Emperors
• Latin and Ancient Greek

During Year 7 pupils will decide whether they would like to continue with Classics into Year 8 and 9. They take part in a number of taster sessions throughout the year to decide whether Latin is the right choice for them.

Year 8 and 9
Girls who choose to continue Classics in Years 8 and 9 split their time equally between the study of Latin language and cultural topics. We follow the Suburani course - a stimulating program for both language and society. Stories are based on the inhabitants of the Subura, a bustling and diverse district of Rome. The course benefits from a wide range of interactive online resources to practise language skills and explore different aspects of life in ancient Rome.  This provides valuable preparation for GCSE Classical Civilisation, as well as firmly routing the study of Latin in its Roman culture. Latin and Classical Civilisation are continued to GCSE and A-level as two separate qualifications, where girls achieve excellent results.

GCSE Latin
Students opting for Latin develop their understanding of the language and the related ancient literature, values and society. The study of Classical languages is a proven method of improving linguistic competency with often dramatic results in reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar. Latin and Greek have a wide cross-curricular impact, fostering the development of a whole range of transferable skills such as analysis and problem-solving, and providing a foundation for the study of many modern languages. Besides which, there are so many wonderful stories and writers to discover!

The GCSE is split into two sections: Language and Literature.

Language: Pupils study the vocabulary and grammar needed to translate unseen Latin in the examination

Literature: Pupils study two texts – Verse and Prose – in the original Latin. The texts change every two years but are always exciting and engaging.

A-level Latin

Studying Latin at A-level comprises two elements; first, the Latin language; second, the analysis of and response to verse and prose literature in Latin.

Fascinating texts provide an insight into the Roman World. The texts change every two years but always challenge and engage. Past texts by Virgil, Tacitus, Ovid or Catullus have dealt with themes such as war, love, parody, political intrigue to name a few. While reading these texts pupils will engage in discussion on literary style as well as the author’s purpose and place in Roman and Western literary tradition. 

The OCR examination has four units at A-level, balancing language, and literature, exploring both verse and prose texts

Latin is a rigorous subject which is very highly regarded by universities across a wide range of disciplines, both humanities and sciences. A qualification in Latin is a clear sign of academic ability and a willingness to challenge yourself. In a competitive world Latin will ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Many students of Latin go on to read classics, history, law, or the sciences at university. Latin is particularly useful for the study of modern languages, history, English, medicine and life sciences.

GCSE Classical Civilisation

Classical civilisation is an exciting and unique GCSE which covers some of the best areas of art, history, philosophy, literature and societies in the western world. There is no requirement to have taken Latin prior to taking classical civilisation. All that is required is an open and enquiring mind and a desire to engage in the literature and culture of others.

There are two units at GCSE.

Women in the Ancient World: This unit explores what it was like to be a women in Greece and Rome using a wide range of ancient sources including sculpture, pottery, legal texts, epic poetry and drama.

The Homeric World: This unit first studies the incredible Mycenaean cities of Mycenae, Tiryns and Troy. The second half includes 4 books of the epic poem The Odyssey which follows the hero Odysseus as he returns home from fighting in Troy.

A-level Classical Civilisation

Units studied at A-level in Year 12 focus on the World of the Hero: Homer’s Iliad, the foundational work of western literature, is the story of the ultimate hero, Achilles; the world of the individual focuses on Love and Relationships, and includes the study of Plato and Seneca and philosophical ideas  of gender and desire. Turning then from philosophy to poetry Sappho and Ovid provide an entertaining and sometimes painfully realistic depiction of the trials and tribulations of love.

Year 13 Classical Civilisation continues the study of the hero with Virgil’s Aeneid - the story of Rome’s origins, and of the Augustan age which produced it. In Greek Drama students study three fascinating plays in translation – two tragedies (Oedipus the King and The Bacchae) and one comedy (The Frogs). These plays provide a window onto the turbulent world of fifth century Athens yet provoke discussion of eternal questions such as the importance of faith, fate and family.

Many universities, including Oxford and Cambridge recommend A-level Classical Civilisation for students intending to read Classics, Classical Studies or Ancient History, and a knowledge of the classical past is particularly useful for the study of history, English, politics, art and philosophy.

A-level Classical Civilisation does not require GCSE Classical Civilisation and does not involve the study of ancient languages.

Extracurricular Ancient Greek (all welcome!)

We offer all pupils in Queen's the opportunity to learn Classical Greek. We run a number of different groups each year depending on numbers and experience. Beginners Greek introduces the Greek alphabet and some basic Greek grammar. Those who enjoy it have the opportunity of taking it further, with a view to sitting the Intermediate Certificate of Classical Greek or even AS Greek in Year 12 or 13.