All the staff in the Classics Department are specialists in both Latin and Greek.
Latin is taught to all girls in Years 7 and 8. Most girls continue with Latin in Year 9, though some are invited to pursue a course in Classical Studies instead. Latin is then an option at both GCSE and A Level.
In Years 7 to 9, pupils are introduced to the Latin language, and then begin to learn more complex language skills, including composition. They also learn about Roman life and history. They study the city of Pompeii and its eventual fate, learn about life in Roman Britain and ancient Alexandria, and encounter the epic tale of Aeneas.
At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course, which involves the study of authors such as Pliny, Tacitus, Virgil and Livy. They learn to appreciate Latin prose and verse literature in the original and develop a more sophisticated understanding of the accidence and syntax. They are then able to read continuous Latin prose with fluency and tackle simple English into Latin translation. The course includes trips to the British Museum, and to classics conferences at other schools.
At A Level, pupils follow the OCR course, which provides a blend of language and literature, including works by Ovid, Cicero, Virgil and Horace. They study Latin authors in depth and tackle both unseen verse and prose for translation and comprehension, as well as building on their composition skills. They also go on regular outings to places such as the Cambridge Cast Gallery, to university events and lectures, and to theatrical performances.
Pupils are given a taster in Classical Greek in Year 8, and able pupils then begin a course in Classical Greek in Year 9. It is then an option for both GCSE and A Level.
At GCSE, pupils pursue the OCR course, studying authors such as Euripides, Herodotus, Homer and Xenophon. They learn to appreciate Greek prose and verse literature in the original and develop their understanding of syntax so that they are able to read with fluency. They also tackle simple English into Greek translation. They go on trips to the British Museum and classics conferences, and performances of Greek tragedies at local and national theatres, including the annual Cambridge Greek Play.
At A Level, pupils pursue the OCR course, which includes the in-depth study of authors such as Plato, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Thucydides. They tackle both verse and prose unseen for translation and comprehension, as well as building on their composition skills. There are regular outings to university events, lectures and performances.
Aspects of Greek and Roman civilisation are encountered as part of the Latin course in Years 7 to 9, and some Year 9 girls are invited to take a course in Classical Studies instead of Latin. Classical Civilisation is then available as a subject option for GCSE, if there is sufficient demand, and for A Level.
At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course. They learn about Greek and Roman society, religious beliefs, mythology, and domestic life. They also analyse ancient source material, including classical literature in translation, and material evidence such as archaeological finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum. They develop an awareness of the relationship between classical Greece and Rome and the world of today.
At A Level, pupils follow the OCR course. This incorporates a blend of ancient literature in translation and the study of classical culture, including religion, politics, sculpture, architecture and pottery. Pupils explore the world of the hero though an in-depth study of selected books from Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid in translation and develop an appreciation of the religion of the Greeks and Romans using a variety of sources including classical art and architecture. They go on outings to the British Museum and other sites of interest.
Beyond the classroom
Sixth Form classicists run their own Senior Classical Society for the benefit of girls from Year 10 and upwards. They attend plays, host film and video evenings, suppers and debates, and there are also monthly events with the Eton Classical Society. A Junior Classics Club meets regularly, offering activities such as designing and creating a Roman mosaic, making Roman jewellery, or designing Greek pots.
Trips are plentiful and varied across the year groups. Younger girls visit the museum at Corinium and Chedworth Roman Villa, the British Museum sculpture gallery, Butser Ancient Farm and the Roman Baths. GCSE pupils go to London for set text study days, and the Sixth Form do the same at Cambridge University. They have also regularly visited exhibitions at the British Museum. There are regular theatre trips, recently for example to a production of Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen at the Oxford Playhouse, Sophocles’ Antigone, and the Cicero trilogy at Stratford. Pupils have visited London for lectures on topics such as The Odyssey and classical tragedy. Overseas residential trips also take place roughly once every two years. The most recent trip was to Rome in February 2018.