Classics & Latin

Classics & LatinMonkton Classics thinks differently by teaching Ancient Greek at lunchtimes, by encouraging everyone to find their own solutions to any problems they encounter and by making sure that there is an element of fun to every lesson, whatever the task or topic, thereby giving all an enjoyment, connection and passion for the subject.

Although relatively small, the Classics department is thriving. Situated in the Hockey Block, the classroom is a haven of the study of ancient literature both in the original language and in translation. We aim to encourage a real love of the ancient world, and lessons, usually in smallish groups, are intended to be fun, as well as rigorous. Almost all those who study Latin or Greek achieve top grades at GSCE and A level, whilst those who study through translations also do very well.

Year 9

In Year 9 pupils arrive from a variety of backgrounds. The aim is to enable each one to be in a position to start the GCSE course in year 10, and for most this will entail new vocabulary and learning new Latin idioms of expression.

GCSE - Years 10 and 11

If Latin has been studied to the end of Year 9 with some success, pupils are ideally placed to carry on with the subject. The skills learned will be invaluable in study of other subjects: in particular, those who go on to study any literature in the future find their grounding in Latin extremely useful. 

What will I learn?

The course will teach an understanding of Latin; students will learn the grammar and vocabulary of the language so that they can understand how it works. They will also learn how to translate simple English sentences into Latin and Latin literature, including poetry and prose, and also develop the skill of “unseen translation”. Students will also take an important step in the study of the larger subject of “Classics” (taught at most British universities) which includes Classical Civilisation and Greek as well as Latin.

How is the course structured and assessed? 

During Year 10 students will use a course book which teaches the different parts of speech and constructions which go to make up sentences; in Year 11 they will concentrate on the set books, studying them both as language and as literature. The works chosen are some of the most popular, and by studying them in the original Latin students will be able to appreciate them properly. They will also practise unseen translation. The course is assessed through three papers: Translation and Composition, Verse book, and Prose book.

A Level Years 12 and 13

What will I learn?

This course will continue to develop your understanding of the way the language works, with the level of difficulty being increased from GCSE. At this stage translating English to Latin becomes more difficult, but many pupils find this to be a particularly satisfying part of the course. There is also the chance to read a wide variety of literature, both prose and verse, and you will be expected to carry out advanced literary criticism, using the skills gained from their advanced study of the way the language works.

As the course syllabus says: “The aim is to inspire, motivate and challenge by encouraging students to read widely, and gain a deeper understanding of the life and culture of the ancient world. Students are encouraged to make an informed personal response to the material studied, and to analytically approach a wide range of texts.” 

How is this course assessed? 

You will read two different authors, one prose, one verse, in Year 12, and two more in Year 13. You will also spend time learning how the language works. The exams will be at the end of Year 13; there will be passages of Latin for you to translate, and the chance to write Latin translated from English. There will also be exams based on the literature you have read, involving comprehension, translation and essay writing.

Where next?