Salvētē omnēs! Audite!
The Classics department is energetic and exciting, the highlight of the Classics calendar being the annual inter-class Latin Play Competition, in which all pupils from Year 6 to Top Form take part, dressing in costume and speaking entirely in Latin. This veritable feast for the eyes and ears is followed by an Apicius-inspired Roman lunch.
Exposure to Latin begins in the Middle Department through Minimus. Here, Latin provides valuable support for English grammar and literacy for students of all abilities. The subject dovetails with studies across the curriculum, including Roman civilisation and local history, in particular Roman Verulamium.
The more formal engagement with the Latin language begins in Year 6. In the Top Form (Year 8) pupils sit either the Common Entrance exam or Scholarship papers for entry to their senior schools.
As well as our successful Latin Play Competition, we run a biennial combined Classics/French trip to Provence, which as the first Roman province beyond the Alps, provides an excellent opportunity to experience outstanding examples of Roman architecture such as the amphitheatre in Nimes, Pont du Gard and the theatre at Orange.
Throughout the School year, guest experts are invited to the School to talk to pupils about exciting and pertinent topics. There are also a number of ad-hoc visits to museums and other experiential events which together combine to underpin learning.
Each year some pupils enjoy taking part in the Minimus Mythology Competition. This international competition offers cross-curricular ties with Art and English. Entries can take the form of paintings, drawings, collages, posters, craftwork and creative writing and the School has a very good record of success!
In the Senior Department, pupils also have the opportunity to study Classical Greek through the School’s co-curricular programme and, for some Top Formers, as a timetabled activity.
The aims and objectives of the Classics Department can be summarised as follows:
- To offer the opportunity to gain competence and excellence in a challenging language
- To underpin work in English, Modern Foreign Languages, History, Art, Maths, Science, Geography, Music and CS
- To understand the link between Latin and modern Romance languages and English, by learning how a language quite different from English functions
- To extend pupils’ English vocabulary and understanding of grammar
- To gain a basic understanding of aspects of Roman history and Greek mythology
- To promote an understanding of classical civilization
- To understand the relevance of Graeco-Roman culture to today’s civilizations
- To instil in pupils the value of learning ancient languages
Pupils’ linguistic ability is strongly enhanced by the provision of Latin from Year 5, and the opportunity to study further languages including Russian and Spanish after school. ISI Inspection Report 2013