The Classics department consists of three and a half full time teachers. We teach across the age ranges in the Classical subjects and our special areas of interest include: ancient epic and lyric poetry, ancient historians, comedy and art and architecture.
Classics is thriving and popular at St. Mary’s and Latin is a compulsory subject in years 7-9. The take-up rate at GCSE and A level is strong with two sets at GCSE and groups of 6-10 students at A level. Many Latinists choose to continue their study at university and we have met with considerable success at Oxbridge entry with at least one student per year gaining a place to read Classics at an Oxbridge college.
We use the Cambridge Latin Course which provides a highly stimulating introduction to the language and culture of the Roman world. A variety of IT resources complement this course and we incorporate annual visits into our curriculum to enhance study e.g. a day trip to Corinium and Chedworth in year 7, a day trip to Butser Ancient Farm and Fishbourne Roman Palace in year 8 and a visit to the Roman baths in Bath in year 9.
Classical Greek is introduced as an optional extra language in year 9 and we have a steady stream of gifted linguists opting to study this language to A level and at university level (usually at least two pupils per year).
Classical Civilisation is offered to the sixth form for study at A/S and A2 level. This subject incorporates an attractive blend of ancient epic and tragedy (literature in translation) and the study of classical art and architecture. Numbers range from 4-13 students, several of whom choose to further their study of the ancient world at university every year.
To supplement the study of Classics at all levels we incorporate a range of extra-curricular events into our year, attending performances of Greek tragedies which are regularly produced by both national theatres and amateur groups, including the Cambridge and Bradfield productions in ancient Greek. We regularly visit the British Museum and other museums and galleries, such as the Cambridge Cast Gallery and we offer a tour of the classical sites of Greece to the sixth form.
Sixth form classicists run their own Senior Classical Society, aimed at years 11 upwards. They organise visiting speakers, film and video viewing, suppers and debates twice a term. There is a Sixth Form Greek Club for interested non-classicists. A Junior Classics Club meets regularly, offering such activities as designing and creating a Roman mosaic, making Roman jewellery or designing Greek pots.