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The Classics department at Woodford offers Latin from Year 7 and Classical Civilisation from year 10. Both subjects can be studied to A Level.

Why study Latin?

  • It will provide you with grammar and vocabulary that closely resembles that found in modern foreign languages, making them much easier for you to learn
  • It helps us better to understand extraordinary literature written by the ancient Romans that had such a profound influence on western society
  • Studying the language helps improve your knowledge and understanding of complicated words in English which are derived from Latin
  • It is an enjoyable and challenging inflected language that requires pupils to think logically and precisely
  • It allows pupils to make comparisons between the ancient and modern world

KS3: Cambridge Latin Course Certificate

Pupils who choose Latin in Year 7 will study the Cambridge Latin Course Book 1, followed by Book 2 in Years 8 and 9. Studying the dramatic and engaging stories in Latin allows the pupils to develop their understanding and knowledge of the language whilst at the same time exploring areas of Roman culture and history. In Year 7 the pupils will study the town of Pompeii, how people lived their everyday lives and how the city was eventually destroyed by Mount Vesuvius. In Years 8 and 9 the context of the story is shifted to Roman Britain and ancient Alexandria. Our aim as a department is to bring the language to life through stimulating and engaging activities such as role play, which help consolidate the linguistic ideas in the passages and bring to life the cultural spirit of the ancient Romans.

KS4: GCSE Latin (OCR)

Pupils continue their study of the language, looking at more complex structures in the lead up to GCSE. In Year 10 they continue to use the Cambridge Latin course up to Book 4 which is set in ancient Rome. In Year 11 pupils have the opportunity to study poetry and prose written in the original language, analysing the ideas and style of the texts for eventual examination.

KS5: Latin (OCR)

At A Level the pupils will study works of literature of a more demanding standard by authors such as Cicero, Ovid, Virgil and Tacitus. A focus of study is how the language relates to the more complex ideas being relayed. By the end of the course pupils should be able to translate works by Ovid into fluent English. They also learn to translate from English into Latin, a skill which helps to deepen their understanding of the mechanics and style of the language.

Classical Civilisation 

Why study Classical Civilisation?

  • Pupils study extraordinary literature written by Roman and Greek authors which have had a profound influence on the culture and values of modern western society
  • Pupils get to relate what we have learned from the ancient world to a modern context
  • Pupils develop many important transferrable skills, such as: the ability to research, collate and analyse materials; the ability to evaluate critically and to interpret resources in order to form impartial and coherent arguments
  • Pupils appreciate the ancient world of the Romans and Greeks in more depth by developing a sensitivity to the cultural and moral contexts of the time.

GCSE Classical Civilisation (OCR)

This is a two-year course which focuses on the lifestyle and culture, as well as the literature of the ancient Romans and Greeks. The pupils explore different aspects of life in ancient Pompeii and Athens through analysis of original written sources, artwork and buildings. Roman epic poetry and Greek tragedy (or comedy) are also studied, with a particular focus on analysis and evaluation of the style, themes and characterisations found in the texts. Teaching is mostly discussion based, but pupils are encouraged to bring their knowledge and understanding to life through creative homework assignments.

A Level Classical Civilisation (AQA)

The pupils build on the knowledge gained at GCSE with study of more complex works of literature and sources exploring the values of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Three out of the four modules studied over the two years are literature based, which we feel not only provides continuity in the course, but also builds on the keys skills developed at GCSE. For example, studying Homer at AS and Virgil at A2 allows the pupils to see how the writing of epic became more affected by its political context than general moral values. As the course progresses we put a focus on improving pupils’ writing techniques and their approaches to analysis and evaluation of the main themes in the texts.

Enrichment activities at Woodford 

Theatre Visits:

London’s proximity to the school has given us access to some of the very best performances of ancient literature. Modern and fresh productions of ‘Ovid’s Tales’, ‘Lysistrata’ and an atmospheric production of Racine’s ‘Britannicus’ at Wilton’s Music Hall have been amongst the highlights enjoyed by pupils studying Classical subjects in Years 11-13. These experiences help bring to life the texts the pupils have studied and also broaden their knowledge and appreciation of the Classical world through exposure to plays not on the syllabus.

Classics Play:

After the success of the Classics production of Euripides’ ‘Medea’ in the Greek theatre last year, our aim is for Sixth Form Classics students to maintain this tradition on an annual basis. The Greek theatre has recently undergone a renovation and its leafy surroundings and authentic tiered seating make it a perfect location for reimagining and reworking classical texts.

Residential Visits abroad:

We aim to provide a visit to either Greece or Italy every year for pupils from Years 10-13. Such trips are very popular with the pupils, bringing to life the cultures and history they have studied in the classroom. A recent visit to Rome involved a tour of the Colosseum and the Roman forum, whilst in Greece the pupils hiked to the top of the Acropolis to visit the 2,500 year old Parthenon temple. These valuable experiences are backed up by visits to museums and information centres, such as our visit to the Museum of Naples, which gave us a glimpse of the ancient treasures found on the site of Pompeii.

Essay Competitions:

We encourage pupils in Year 12 to enter essay competitions so that they can show off and further their knowledge of the classical world. Selected pupils in Year 12 enter the Cambridge Fitzwilliam College Essay Competition, which covers different disciplines of Classics such as philosophy, history and lyric poetry. This serves as an excellent preparation for pupils intending to continue the subject at university.

Entry Level Greek:

High-performing pupils doing Latin or Classical Civilisation in Year 10 are given the opportunity to study Classical Greek after school every week for one year. The pupils then sit exams in June with the aim of receiving their Entry Level Greek certificate from OCR.

Speech Days and Lectures:

In recent years, Year 12 and 13 pupils have attended lectures and talks on Classical topics at other schools and in London. The topics are usually directly relevant to the texts on exam syllabi such as those attended in the past year on Tacitus, Cicero, Ovid and Virgil. However, they open the pupil's eyes to the other areas of interest related to the study of Classics such as those attended on ‘Love in the ancient world’ and ‘The goddess Isis’.

Future Pathways

A Level Latin is an engaging and satisfying subject in its own right and is an invaluable support to degree courses in English, History and Modern Languages. It is well regarded by admission tutors for Medicine and Law, since the precision of approach, linguistic basis for technical terms and the humanitarian element add a useful breadth to any A levels specified for the course. Its analytical and broad approach to study has also been found to provide a sound basis for courses and careers in Finance and Management.

A Level Classical Civilisation is very well respected by universities and employers. It provides a valuable range of transferrable skills which can lead to careers in fields as diverse as law, accountancy, secondary and higher education, management, business, publishing, the media, archaeology, museum work, politics, tourism and the civil service.

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